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It’s time for a fun backpacking-themed DIY project! In this post, I’ll teach you how to make your own backpacking meal cozy 2 ways. We’ll make a cook pouch for backpacking meals and a cup or pot cozy for your backpacking drinks or meals that you rehydrate in a pot instead of a bag. No matter how you like to cook and rehydrate backpacking meals, I’ve got you covered in this DIY.
What is a backpacking cozy?
A backpacking cozy is a super lightweight pouch or covering that keeps you backpacking meal or drink HOT.
When you’re adding hot water to a dehydrated backpacking meal, this DIY backpacking cozy will help keep that meal hotter longer. It can also help it rehydrated better.
As you’ll see, you can also make a cozy for a cup to keep your morning coffee hotter longer. Who else likes their coffee *almost* burn-your-mouth hot?
Why make a homemade backpacking cozy?
In addition to rehydrating your meals and keeping your drink hotter longer, a backpacking cozy is really cheap and easy to make.
I don’t know about you, but I love a good DIY. If you backpack a lot, especially in colder weather, then this DIY will be fun to make and useful on your backpacking trips.
Let’s dive into the tutorial!
DIY Backpacking Meal Cozy (Video Tutorial)
In this video, I walk you through the entire process step-by-step. Read on below for written instructions and photos.
How to Make a Backpacking Cozy
Supplies You Will Need
This DIY project is so simple, and doesn’t require many supplies.
Here’s what you will need:
- car windshield sunshade/reflector
- gorilla tape (duck tape also works)
- marker (like a Sharpie)
One car windshield reflector should have enough material to make a few meal pouches and a few cup cozy’s.
If you want, you can make a few different pouches at different sizes or make extras for your hiking buddies to have.
1) DIY Backpacking Cook Pouch
First up, we’re going to make a cook pouch for your backpacking meals.
If you typically buy a backpacking meal and just add boiling water to the bag and wait for it to rehydrate, this is the cozy for you!
After you add the water to your meal, you can slide the meal into your homemade cozy and keep it nice and hot.
Even better, the cozy I’m showing you how to make will stand up all on its own!
Step 1: Measure and Cut the Sunshade
If you have a backpacking meal, use that as a size template since it’s what you typically take backpacking.
For example, I make my own backpacking food and I package my meals in Mylar bags. All my meals have about the same size, so I made my cozy to fit that size.
If you don’t have a backpacking meal as a template, you can use the dimensions below – they represent a pretty standard meal size.
Standard Backpacking Meal Size:
- 8 inches (20 cm) wide by 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall
Lay out your sunshade.
Using your ruler and marker, mark off the width of your backpacking meal bag, adding about 1/2 inch extra. For example, if your meal template is 8 inches wide, then the width of your meal pouch should be 8.5 inches.
Next, mark off the height of your pouch.
You need to account for the material that will make up the front and back of the pouch, in addition to 2 extra inches on top for the velcro flap, and an additional 3 inches for the bottom on the bag to make it stand up.
For example, if your meal template is 9.5 inches tall, then you will need to cut out a rectangle that’s 24 inches long. (9.5 + 9.5 + 2 + 3 = 24)
Once you have the rectangle drawn out on your sunshade, double check your measurements, and then cut it out.
Step 2: Fold the Bottom
The next step is to create the accordion fold that will be the bottom of the bag and allow it to stand up all on its own.
This step is best watched in the video above because it’s a little confusing to describe: You want to leave enough space for a top flap to fold over on your bag, so you need to make the bottom accordion fold 11.5 inches (in our example) down on the sunshade rectangle you cut out.
From that point draw a line 1 inch down, and make an accordion fold there. It’s really simple, and if you’re confused or overwhelmed, definitely watch the video above!
Step 3: Tape the Sides
Hold the accordion shape as you use 2 small pieces of gorilla tape to seal the sides of the fold closed.
Next, rip a piece of tape long enough to cover the length of the bag, and tape the sides closed.
Step 4: Add the Velcro
The last step is to add the velcro so that the lid stays closed.
Bring both sides of the velcro together and cut two 1 inch pieces.
Peel off the back and stick each piece of velcro onto the top flap. Peel off the other side of the velcro and fold the flap over to stick the other side of velcro to the pouch.
That’s it! You made yourself a backpacking cozy!
2) DIY Cup or Pot Cozy
This cozy is for your coffee cup or your backpacking pot. If you like to cook your meals in a pot instead of a bag, this is the cozy for you.
In the video, I made one for my coffee cup, but these instructions apply for a pot too.
Step 1: Measure and Cut the Sunshade
Find a scrap of the sunshade material that will fit the circumference and height of your cup or pot. Make any necessary cuts to get a piece of material that works.
With another scrap piece of material, draw a circle using the top of your cup or pot as a guide. Instead of cutting directly on that circle, use the circle as a guide and cut your circle about 1/4 cm bigger. It’s not much at all, just slightly larger.
Step 2: Tape the Bottom
Now we need to connect the two pieces.
Start with the rectangle piece that will be the side of your cozy. Get a piece of tape that is the same length, and overlay 1/2 of the tape onto the long edge of the rectangle.
Roll the side of your circle along the long edge of the rectangle with the tape to stick it on. You should have a rim of tape at this point. See video above.
Cut the tape into 1/2 inch pieces and fold each piece over the bottom of the circle until you get to where the two ends overlap.
Step 3: Cut out Space for the Handle
Use your ruler to measure the height of your cup or pot handle.
Cut out a space for the handle and use another piece of tape to reinforce the bottom flap where there’s some overlap.
That’s it! Now you can have even hotter coffee and meals in the backcountry.
More Backpacking Resources and DIY’s
The crafting doesn’t have to stop here! If you want to try another backpacking-themed DIY, check out these DIY fire starters for camping.
Now that you have the backpacking cozy, why not try to make your own backpacking meals too?
I have so many great backpacking food resources for you here:
- 3 Delicious Backpacking Oatmeal Recipes
- How to Dehydrate Your Own Backpacking Food [Step-by-Step Guide]
- Homemade Trail Mix
If you have any questions, chat with me in the comments below!