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What do you rehydrate in?
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Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
What do you rehydrate in? on 09/29/2013 14:48:26 MDT Print View

So, currently we eat out of freezer bags, rehydrating meals I've packaged up at home from dehydrated ingredients. Lately, we've been camping a lot above tree-line, and thus have been using a bear cannister because hanging a bear bag isn't feasible.

When the food is rehydrated, it uses only about half of the quart-sized freezer bag. There's a lot of room taken up by excessive freezer bag in the bear cannister. Then, there's a lot of waste packaging in the garbage as well.

I'd like to package ingredients in vaccuum-packs, using only the amount of material necessary to contain the dry ingredients, then use a Ziploc screw-top container, or something similar, to rehydrate ingredients. This would mean 2 containers, and probably 2 Reflectix cozies as well. My boyfriend disagrees with changing, because he doesn't want to have to wash the bowls afterwards, nor carry the "bulk" of the eating vessels, or try to put them in the bear cannister. He says it will also add to how much water we have to filter, to have clean water to wash utensils with. We don't eat out of one pot for the same reason, don't want to do the dishes. We just lick our spoons as clean as we can, drop them in our freezer-bag cozies, then drop the cozies in the bear cannister.

Are there other bags that are smaller than the quart-sized Ziplocs, but still handle boiling water, and still seal up?

For those that use the hard-sided container to rehydrate, how do you clean it afterwards? Do you carry a separate drinking vessel so you can have tea/coffee with a meal? Do you have favorite vessels that stack? I saw a gelato container with a screw lid that might be lighter than the Ziploc container--awww, I'd have to eat ice cream!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What do you rehydrate in? on 09/29/2013 15:02:32 MDT Print View

Here is the method that I use. I do not have my food divided up on a per-meal basis. I will carry one bag of couscous, perhaps enough to use for three meals. Then I will have a second bag of dehydrated quinoa, perhaps for another three meals. Then instant rice and maybe another basic ingredient like instant potato flakes. Carrying the food in that bulk style bag will eliminate a lot of packaging and air bubbles. I feel that the air bubbles are taking up way too much room in a bear canister. Anyway, I will have another bag of dried vegetables and another one of dry soup mix. Collectively, these bags will represent maybe five or six evening meals. Each evening, I mix these differently, depending on my mood and my appetite. The dried ingredients go into my plastic bowl (0.4 ounce) and get boiling water over the top for rehydration, and then a lid is placed on. Afterward, I have a hot beverage in it. After that, there is virtually nothing to clean out.

Breakfast is similar, but it tends to involve f.d. fruit with various grains and starches.

No freezer bags were harmed in the making of these meals.


Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
What do you rehydrate in? on 09/29/2013 15:28:37 MDT Print View

I currently use these.

After the first use on a trip I put a little bit of boiling water in them before adding any food, seal, agitate and discard. This helps sterilises them each time. They are light and take up very little space.

Edited by jephoto on 09/29/2013 15:33:27 MDT.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
What do you rehydrate in? on 09/29/2013 16:27:05 MDT Print View

Diane, if you decide to stay with the freezer bags, you could switch to the pint size Ziplocs. They actually weigh about the same as the quart size, but there would be a bit less plastic getting in your way.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
pint size, hmm on 09/29/2013 16:33:40 MDT Print View

See, I didn't even know they made pint size, those aren't sold in our stores locally, that's why I asked people!

Bob, you made my boyfriend shudder with couscous and quinoa. He thinks those are weird foods. Little does he know, there's quinoa flakes in his morning oatmeal, mwah-hah-hah-hah!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: pint size, hmm on 09/29/2013 17:00:05 MDT Print View

"couscous and quinoa"

If those are too weird, then try instant rice, instant potato flakes, instant oats, or cornmeal. There are other dehydrated staples as well, but I would not want to usurp Sarah's space.

There are some other foods that I thought were weird until I started reading and comparing the nutrition labels.

I'm not crazy about instant oats, but if I doctor it up with raisins, molasses, and cinnamon, it makes a decent breakfast food.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: pint size, hmm on 09/29/2013 17:10:17 MDT Print View


Walmart and QFC in Wa used to carry the Ziploc pint look there.

Mark Cashmere
(tinkrtoy) - M

Locale: NEOH
Re: pint size, hmm on 09/29/2013 17:20:27 MDT Print View

+1 pint size. I used to just use the quart size out of the kitchen pantry, but now I buy the pint size ones exclusively for backpacking and squirrel them away in my bp kitchen tub. I have found them at Target as well.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: pint size, hmm on 09/29/2013 17:35:44 MDT Print View

You can use a seal-a-meal to make bags of any size. I've been using it with regular freezer zip-loc bags.

I rehydrate in my 900 mL titanium Evernew pot. Bring water to boil. Turn down stove to simmer. Add food. Wait a few seconds for it to boil. If the food is easier to hydrate like instant oatmeal, just turn off burner when it gets close to boil and then add oatmeal. If it's difficult to hydrate I might simmer for a minute before turning off.

John Hillyer
(TrNameLucky) - MLife
Bag Source on 09/30/2013 10:53:16 MDT Print View


These people have about every size, thickness, design, and material of zip type baggie:

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: What do you rehydrate in? on 09/30/2013 11:21:52 MDT Print View

Cold beer.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
Thanks for the bag suggestions on 09/30/2013 13:14:11 MDT Print View

If Wal-mart carries them, I can get my mitts on them. I try to shop at Wal-mart as little as possible, but I live in the toolies, and Wal-mart may be my closest option, although I'll check at Fred Meyer's first. Both involve long excursions out of town for me.

In addition to Sarah's web-site, and some recipes by Laurel Ann, I take inspiration from I like the ingredient ratio method he uses, 1/2 c Carb, 1/4 c veggies, 1/4 c meat, plus associated sauce and spices. Seems to work very nicely. The only change I've had to make is that he prepares his ingredients by soaking them first, then cooking them in the pot. Since I FBC, I find that I have to use a lot less water than he suggests. Someone mentioned using Knorr sides and using less water due to not simmering them, and I realized why I was having trouble with his recipes. I've taken to hauling along a snack-sized baggie of instant potatoes to sop up any extra water, and have been taking notes and have decided that reducing water from 1 1/4 cups to 3/4 cup hydrates everything well without being too soupy. I think that the pint-sized bags might work for that, and be easier to eat out of. Hey, Sara, how about some pint-sized food cozies ;-)?

I like the FBC method otherwise. I have to eat gluten-free and dairy-free, but my boyfriend does not. This way, I can prepare meals ahead of time, and Bill can have his butter and cheese laden Mac n' Cheese with sausage and veggies, and I can have my gluten-free noodles with spaghetti sauce and fake Parmesan cheese, and both of us are happy. IF we ever did a thru-hike, I'm not sure what I'd do, because trying to rely on small town resupply for gluten-free AND dairy-free is probably not realistic. I like Bob's method of carrying bulk supplies and eating out of a bowl for that--far less garbage to haul and work ahead. We might have to each carry our own food and cook-set in that instance, and I at least would have to prepare mail-drops.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Thanks for the bag suggestions on 09/30/2013 14:40:00 MDT Print View

WHat is funny is a few years back I found a great buy of a roll of silver silnylon and made a ton of pint size cozies - they sold out, material was no longer made. So, if anyone has one of the silver ones, its a piece of UL history! :-D

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
What do you rehydrate in? on 09/30/2013 14:58:27 MDT Print View

I found pint Ziplocs in one of the local grocery stores a couple of years ago and bought a bunch. Unfortunately i can't remember which--may have been Albertson's. There's always, of course. Also, when packing your meals in the bags, squeeze out as much air as possible.

I hate washing dishes, too!

Tell your bf that cous-cous is pasta just like spaghetti; it's just one of the many, many forms of pasta. It's sure a lot more compact than spaghetti noodles! Of course for those who like to slurp their spaghetti noodles, cous-cous is a bit disappointing.

If you're on a special diet, you'll defintely have to ship your food ahead for a thru-hike. This pair, on their fourth thru-hike (American Discovery Trail), have this process down to a science!

Edited by hikinggranny on 09/30/2013 15:01:11 MDT.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Snack Size on 10/03/2013 16:54:35 MDT Print View

The widely available "snack size" ziplocks should work just fine.