I first learned about the gas saving wonder known as the Cook Pot Cozy when I was hiking the PCT last year. My hiking companion, who went by the trail name Bear Bait, was using one to cook a more fuel efficient meal. He had learned to make one watching various Youtube videos, and tweaked it to fit his own pot. We had the same pots from Snow Peak, so I asked him to show me how to make one when I was visiting him in Denmark.
So what’s so great about a Pot Cozy and why do I need one?
First off and most importantly, you save on fuel. With my pot cozy, I was able to make the standard 8 ounce fuel canister last two weeks on the trail (using an MSR Pocket Rocket). That’s 14 days of morning coffee, dinners and the occasional hot lunch or tea break. In the past, I went through one canister every seven days, so I literally doubled my fuel use. It’s important to note that my meals are simple, and take absolutely no prep work or fuss of any kind. They usually include Knorr Pasta or Rice Sides, or the British equivalent, Batchelors or Ainsley Harriott’s brand of side dishes with an added packet of tuna. The method is to boil your water, add the rice or pasta, remove from the burner and put in the cozy. The cozy will keep it good and hot, and your rice which you would otherwise have to boil for ten minutes, is done in around 5 minutes from just sitting and absorbing water.
Secondly, it keeps your morning java warm while you break camp and your dinners toasty on the coldest of evenings. The added bonus is that they weigh very little, mine being around only one ounce. I’ve just recently retired my first one, which I would consider fairly durable; it lasted the length of the South West Coast Path, the West Highland Way and the Cape Wrath Trail, for a total of 980 rough miles.
Let’s Make It!
What You’ll Need:
- Reflective Insulation: This is some interesting stuff. Essentially it’s bubble wrap, except metallic (try and refrain from popping it). It’s used for various types of household insulation, and now it’s going to be used as a backpacking essential. I bought a roll of it at Lowe’s for around $17 and got 33 square feet of it; a bit much but I’ll probably find some other uses for it down the road other than pot cozies.
- Metal Repair Tape: Used for repairing air ducts, you’ll need this for binding your insulation pieces together. I got mine at my local Ace Hardware store for around $6.
- Your Cook Pot and Lid
You’re going to be cutting four pieces out of the insulation to start with. It will look like this:
First, measure the height of the cook pot on the insulation and mark it. Cut along the marked line to create a long strip that will wrap all the way around your pot. Repeat this step to create two long strips in total, which I will refer to as ‘A’ and ‘B’.
Next you’ll want to trace the perimeters of the bottom of your cook pot and the lid that goes with it. My lid is much larger than the perimeter of the bottom of the pot, so it’s important to take this into consideration and don’t just assume the lid is the same size. Cut out the two circles from the insulation. The circle that goes to the bottom of the pot I will refer to as ‘C’ and the circle for the lid will be ‘D’.
You’re going to be creating 2 sleeves; a bottom sleeve that your cook pot will sit in and a top sleeve that will fit over the bottom sleeve and lid.
Cut the metal tape into several small squares, about 2 by 2 inches. I like to cut around 10 pieces to start with and stick them along the edge of my work table for easy assembly. Cut more as you need them.
Take strip ‘A’ and wrap it around the cook pot. Does your pot have handles? Then you’ll need to trim the strip so it doesn’t cover them.
Now it’s time to tape strip ‘A’ to the bottom circle ‘C’ with a square of the metal repair tape, like so:
Turn your pot upside down and place ‘C’ over the bottom, wrapping ‘A’ around the pot. Begin securing ‘C’ to ‘A’ with the squares of tape, creating the first sleeve.
With your pot upright and still in the first bit of cozy you’ve just successfully created, place the lid on top of your pot.
Secure strip ‘B’ to section ‘D’ with a square of metal repair tape, just as you did with the first sleeve.
Place the ‘B’ and ‘D’ sections over the pot lid, working your way around securing the two pieces together with the squares of metal tape. Connect the ends of the ‘B’ and ‘D’ piece together; there should be no gap.
We’re nearly done, and you should have two sleeves: The bottom one that your pot is resting in and the top one that fits over your lid.
Now to address that little gap under the handles on the first sleeve, that is, if this applies to your pot. I cut a small strip to fit and simply secure it with more tape. Easy cheesy.
If everything fits together nicely, then you’re finished!
How to Use the Cook Pot Cozy
The cook pot cozy is for use with quick, one dish items. Like I mentioned before, I use a variety of brands like Knorr Pasta or Rice Sides, Ainsley Harriet and Batchelor’s. If you’re into dehydrating your own meals, this pot cozy will work for that as well, as long as all the ingredients in your dish can be cooked together. I hope to one day go this route, and eliminate the over processed and high sodium Knorr Sides. Until then, I’m stuck with them.
If you use Mountain House or Backpacker’s Pantry meals, then the cozy may not be for you (unless you repackage these meals in zip top bags to cut down on their bulky packaging, in that case, go for it). Most through hikers and long distance hikers don’t buy these because of the price, which is anywhere from $7 up to $12, in comparison to the ultra cheap Korr or Top Ramen, which is around $2 and under. Pasta and Rice sides are easier to come by when you’re passing through a trail town as well, and are stocked in supermarkets as well as convenience stores.
I’m going to be using a Knorr Rice Side as an example.
I use about 2 cups of water and add it to the pot with the rice. Bring to a boil, and immediately remove from heat. Put the pot in the cozy, cover with the lid and the top half of the cozy. Let sit for about 4 to 5 minutes. Give it a stir, and check to see if it’s done to your liking. I like to add a packet of tuna or half of a diced up summer sausage for protein, and a bit of olive or coconut oil for added fat and calories.
Helpful Links to Get You Started on this Project:
Did you enjoy reading this? Have questions? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Cheers!