How to Keep Your Food Warm In Camp

3 simple heat shields to keep your meals toasty in the backcountry

Don't mar a fine winter day by ending it with tepid cocoa and lukewarm chicken alfredo. Protect hot food and drinks from frigid weather by making these 3 simple heat shields.

  • What you'll need
  • Reflectix insulation (buy at any hardware store)
  • Aluminum foil or duct tape
  • 3/8-inch-diameter foam pipe insulation
  • Velcro strips (6 inches)
  • Measuring tape
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Marker

1) Pot Cozy

  • Keep food steaming hot without wasting fuel.
  • Trace the pot bottom on a piece of Reflectix and cut out the resulting disc.
  • Measure the pot's height and outside circumference, then cut a strip of insulation matching these dimensions.
  • Place the pot on the disc and wrap the insulation strip around it.
  • Tape all seams with duct tape or aluminum foil tape. Make sure it fits snugly so the pot cannot easily slide out.
  • Add more insulation by placing a second, smaller disc of Reflectix inside the cozy.
  • If necessary, cut a slot to fit pot handles.

2) Hydration Cozy

  • Prevent bottle and bladder freeze-up
  • For Lexan bottles, follow the same steps as the pot cozy (make sure the wider-diameter cozies will fit in your pack's holders).
  • For bladders, tape two form-fitting pieces of Reflectix insulation in a tight sandwich around the pouch.
  • Protect hydration tubes by threading them into 3/8-inch pipe insulation cut to the appropriate length.
  • Block moisture and abrasion by wrapping the insulation's exterior in tape.
  • Short cut: Buy polyester/foam bottle insulators from Outdoor Research, starting at $17 (

3) Foil Pouch Cozy

  • Cook dehydrated meals faster.
  • Cut a piece of Reflectix that is 1/2-inch wider than the foil packet on all sides.
  • Cut another piece that is 2 1/2-inches taller than the first piece.
  • Tape the two pieces together at the side and bottom seams, but not the top.
  • Add Velcro strips to the flap and the front panel to make a top closure.