Now that I have been using the pot cozy for a year, I don’t really know how I ever got by without it! It saves fuel, keeps your food warm, and allows you to hold your pot while you eat. It will also free up your stove so you can still be rehydrating your food, while at the same time, heating up water for hot drinks. I have also found that I don’t burn food anymore. You take the pot off the heat before it has a chance to lose too much water.
A pot cozy is any insulation that you put around your pot after you have brought the water to a boil. You can put a cozy around a freezer bag or a cooking pot. Any type of insulation will do, a fleece jacket, a ground pad (I would not use your expensive, ultralight inflatable pie, just in case there is some melting), or you can make a specialized cozy that fits your pot perfectly.
If you want to make a specialized cozy, you will need to find some reflective insulation. The two that I have found that work really well are the reflective window shades for cars and the Reflectix insulation material that you can get at a home improvement store. Basically Reflectix is bubble wrap with foil on both sides. Both work well, but the Reflectix works a lot better. It is at least twice the thickness. Of course that means it is a little bulkier too. At my local Jerry’s Home Improvement store, you can buy the Reflectix material by the foot for only $0.85 a foot for material two feet wide. Three feet of that is plenty for any pot I have. If you have a smaller pot, you can likely get by with two feet.
I will outline the steps below, but if you want the visual, I have made a video showing you, step by step how to make a double walled version (my favorite kind). Here is another link to the video I watched to make my first cozy. If you don’t watch my video, then I will say that I now always cut every piece a little oversized, then trim down as needed. I made one cozy that was just a little too small, and it was a total pain to get the pot in and out. I ended up tearing the cozy. A little loose is way better then a little small. Also, I strongly suggest making the double walled version. I once had to leave the meal in the cozy for 30 minutes while I waited for the rest of the group to get back to camp. When we finally sat down to eat, it was still so hot that we had to blow on it! The cozy is awesome!
– 3 feet of two foot wide reflectix insulation
– 1 roll of foil metal tape. 2 inch wide is ideal
You will be making two pieces in total. The bottom will be a bowl that fits your pot perfectly. The lid will be a bowl that fits your bowl perfectly. The lid will go over the top of the bowl to enclose the pot.
Make the bowl first by finding the diameter of your pot. Take a string and wrap it around your pot. That is how long you will need to make your side. Then measure the height of your pot. Decide if you want your cozy to go over the lip of your pot, or just under. It usually depends on how your lid fits on. I always make my sides 1/8 – 1/4 inch taller then I want. This allows my bottom circle to nest inside the side. Measure out the rectangle on the insulation and cut out the piece. Double check the fit. Again, you want it to be a tiny bit loose. Wrap the insulation into a circle and tape it closed. Cut a second rectangle for the lid. This rectangle should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inch longer then the bowl. I suggest to cut it longer then trim it down. Once that is cut out circle the lid piece around the bowl and cut it so it will be just a tad bit bigger then the bowl.
Use the circles you just made to find the size of the bottom circles. I always double up on the circles. I make the first circle to fit inside the walls. The second circle I make to fit just to the edge of the walls. Once I cut the circles, I use four small pieces (1 x 2 inch) of tape to hold the smaller one in place. Then I tape the larger piece on with enough tape to cover the whole edge. That keeps any of the edges from getting torn or damaged. Repeat the process for the lid circles and you are done! The whole process takes me about and hour.
Best of luck! It is a great way to cook in the backcountry!