Freezer Bag Cooking

| September 10, 2008

I saw a reference to “Freezer Bag Cooking” on a Divas Gone Arctic trip report by Kellie Okonek and checked it out as I’m always looking for new expedition food ideas.  The concept is pretty simple; combine a bunch of ingredients into a freezer bag, use a beefy marker to describe what it is, then when you are ready to eat, dump boiling water into the bag, let it sit, then eat it.  I’ve been doing a variation on this for a few years, but usually end up cooking it in a pot instead of a bag as things like undercooked pasta will rip your guts apart.

Partially rehydrated freeze-dried food and one-piece ski suits lead to couloir names like Intestinal Fortitude.
Partially rehydrated freeze-dried food and one-piece ski suits lead to couloir names like “Intestinal Fortitude.”

The cool thing about Freezer Bag Cooking is that it is both a website and a book with tons of recipes, which is the crux for most male ski mountaineers where the default is Top Ramen and bloatmeal.  The book, Freezer Bag Cooking – Trail Food Made Simple” by Sarah Svien Kirkconnell, has recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as drinks and snacks.  I like the idea of making and bringing my own food on trips as you know what you are going to get, it is cheaper, you know how big the portions are, and by breaking it down into separate meals or days, you can easily see how much you have left, or pull a package out for a summit attempt.
So simple even a bachelor could do it…

For winter camping, I like to tuck the warming pouch (or pot in my case) into a sleeping bag or zip it up next to me inside a down jacket to help conserve the warmth.

Help support and get your flame on with a MSR XGK EX Stove from! Click on the photo below…


Category: 14 Travel

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (7)

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  1. Bob says:

    From the picture caption: “Partially rehydrated freeze-dried food and one-piece ski suits lead to couloir names like ‘Intestinal Fortitude.'”

    I see an opportunity for a killer tip here. How to hang on?

  2. Andrew says:

    That was a memorable day. We had prepared the freeze-dried food according to the instructions, but it was still crunchy (<--- WARNING!). The next day we were booting up a couloir and could hear and smell each other even though we were a good 200-300' away. It was ghastley/gassly and led to the Backpacker's Pantry brand being renamed "Buttpacker's Pantry." Since then I always cook any freeze-dried food for at least five minutes, which kind of defeats its quick-fixin' purpose.

  3. Randonnee says:

    How interesting. This past year I began using plastic vegetable steaming bags to cook food in a pot of water on my backpacking stove. It saves cleaning dirty pots, and allows the use of one pot as a hot water source for various food or beverages.

    My family backpacked overnight last weekend. Before leaving, my daughter found frozen entrees on sale for 75 cents, so we had a tasty variety. I just removed the frozen food from the boxes and placed it in the plastic steaming bags. We had easy food at dinner with very little prep time or stove gas used.

  4. randosteve says:

    One time…I was holding a freeze dried meal inside my down jacket…helping me to stay warm while it re-hydrated…when it exploded all over me.


  5. Dicentra says:

    Were you at a high elevation? Sometimes that makes a difference. Instead of just adding water, you have to simmer the freeze dried food for a couple of minutes to prevent the crunchies.

  6. Andrew says:

    Hi Dicentra – No, in this case we were literally right at sealevel (actually, we were camped on sea ice), but it was really cold, so we probably ate the food too soon. A self-inflicted gut-shot, so to speak.

  7. Donna says:

    Randosteve. We’ve had a lot of problems with freezer bags failing meaning leaks, etc. Now we use a pot and cozy.

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