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Camping Fun with Buddy Bags

camping turkey bags

Hiking gear can be expensive, and very specialized, but it doesn’t have to be. You may be able to find one of the most versatile, inexpensive, and ultra light pieces of hiking gear in your Grandma’s cupboard. Next time you visit for a family holiday like Thanksgiving, and you all enjoy turkey (or Turducken or Tofurky if that’s more your style), take a look in that cupboard and see if she has any oven bags.

Why you should consider oven bags for hiking:

Oven bags cost approximately $3.00 for a pack of two. (but not for Buddy Bags)

They are made from BPA Free, Food Grade, and Heat Resistant Nylon

Each bag weighs half an ounce

They are 19in x 24.5in in linear measurements and about 7L in volume or 25 lbs in weight.

If you are wondering why an oven bag is such a great asset in your hiking kit, it’s time to keep reading.

Oven bags make great VBL socks

What is a VBL you may ask? Well, if you are a hiker, you are probably familiar with acronyms like AT, PCT, or CDT. A VBL is simply a Vapor Barrier Liner. If you are hiking in the fall or early winter, this is practically a necessity.

In the summer and fall, you need to wear Waterproof Breathable Layers to keep yourself comfortable in the elements. Gore-Tex, HyVent, Membrane, H2No, and other similar fabrics and fabric coatings are Waterproof Breathable Layers. These work by letting your sweat escape through the fabric while still protecting you from cold air and water. To put it more simply, Waterproof Breathable Layers breathe.

A Vapor Barrier Liner works by trapping moisture against your skin. This means your skin may feel wet, but with the VBL holding the heat in, you will not get that cold wet feeling associated with Waterproof Breathable Layers that fail after a long day of hiking.

For best results, place the Vapor Barrier Liner over a thin sock, then add a thicker insulating layer, then your hiking boot. With this system, no vapor will pass through your insulating layer and your feet will stay warm throughout the day.

Turkey sized oven bags make great Vapor Barrier Liners.

Sleeping Bag Foot Warmer

If you don’t enjoy having cold feet in your sleeping bag, slip them into an oven bag before you go to sleep. Since the bag won’t be sealed shut at the top as it will be inside your boots, you won’t get the Vapor Barrier Effect, but you’ll still benefit from a microclimate that keeps your feet warm.

Double Boiler Method

Freezer Bag cooking is popular on the trail when you want to eat dehydrated meals, but it’s only good if you are serving a very small group of people. If you need to feed a crowd, you’ll want to turn to a turkey sized oven bag. Just be aware that there are a few key differences between freezer bag cooking, and using a large oven bag. If you freezer bag cook, you usually just pour hot water into a bag of dehydrated food. The food will slowly rehydrate, then you can eat it. If you are using a turkey sized oven bag, you’ll have to add one to two inches of hot water to the bottom of your pot. Then place your oven bag over the water and roll the top of the bag down over the sides of your pot. You can then add dehydrated food to your pot and cook until done.

Pack Liners

If you need a pack liner, an oven bag might be just what you are looking for. You might be used to using Polycro, which is a membrane originally designed for use as window insulation, but despite the fact that it’s become a common material in the world of hiking, an oven bag can do almost as well and is an ultralight option that you won’t have to pre-order.

Ground Sheets

If you’d like a durable groundsheet that will last you for a long time, you should spend the $10 on a polypro model. If you have a sudden urge to go camping, but didn’t allow enough time to order a proper ultralight sheet, then just attach turkey oven bags together until you have a ground sheet large enough to use. This won’t be the most durable option, but it will get you through an impromptu camping experience or #optoutside excursion.

Now that you know all the ways that oven bags could make your hiking and camping experience more memorable, it’s time to go visit Grandma and see if she has some extras that you can have.

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