Food pack choices

For my BWCA trip this May each of teh paddlesr will be carrying his own food.

I have been debating how to pack - I have a 7-gallon bucket w/screw lid which I was going to equip with a self-made harness. This should be big enough for my food, my Jet Boil, and all kitchen implements. This should be mouse and raccoon proof as well.

A 30-qt barrel and harness would be even nicer than my bucket system, maybe have a bit more secure closure, and carry better. Pricier though.

The Cooke and Granite Gear food packs look really nice, but I hate to invest in them as I do not plan on carrying fresh food (except for apples, oranges, peppers and onions).

Lastly, it just occured to me that a Sealine WP bag w/shoulder straps might work quite nicely. It might even be possible to sling it comfortably onto the top of my portage pack for carrying.

What systems are all of you using?


WP bags
On our last trip to the bwca that’s what we used. Worked well.

Barrel and Harness
Last year I got a 30liter barrel and harness and am glad I did. I use a lot of dried foods and some fresh and I can fit all my food and stove, etc. in that barrel for over a week of solo camping. If you don’t portage you don’t even need to bother with a harness. I love not having to hang a bag anymore.

Barrell and bucket advantage
And they make good stools around the fire.


Granite Food Pack…
with 2 milk crates inside= Stool, Table, crush resistance.

Works for me


Never thought of that!

– Last Updated: Apr-20-07 11:28 AM EST –

Does get one to thinking though.....

This one?,4422.htm


If you decide on a barrel…
the Paragon Pack from NRS is a backpacking harness that is adaptable to carrying various items, such as large dry bags, dry boxes, and… 30-L food barrels. Good build quality and adjustable. I have never really taken a close look at the headstrong harness (see the Boundary Waters Catalog), so I can’t say how it compares, other than the Paragon Pack costs about $50 and the Headstrong harness costs about $90.

Based upon recent experience, a 30-L barrel should be capable of carrying the food for one person for a week, especially if you are going the lighter dried food route. Depending on your kitchen, there might be room for much of the cooking gear as well. While I would not call it “bear-proof” by any means, it would keep the more prevalent food pests like squirrels, mice, and raccoons out of your food.

Link to NRS page:

I’m actually leaning that way
Last night I was futzing with my old (actually one of the prototypes) TNF Moraine pack. The bag is nasty, having gotten that sticky feling that old urethane fabric gets, but the shoulder straps, stays and waistbelt are all OK. I am thinking about making some adaptions and ending up with something that looks suspiciously like the NRS Paragon.


I repackage the food into zi locks. Put the ziplocks into a stuff sack, drop the stuff sack into my portage pack and call it good.

At night, I hang.

Zip locks will leak!
Based upon personal experience, if the food bag goes in the drink, zip-lock bags packed the way you describe will not keep the contents dry. Maybe your experience has been better than mine, but I don’t trust them to keep stuff dry from anything more than a little dampness.

Never had a problem with leaks
I’m sorry for your issues with zip locks as I’ve never experienced any of those problems. I use freezer bags, maybe that is the difference?

I also line my Duluth packs with a contractor bag twisted and secured with a rubber band.

This One…

Fits two stacked perfectly, with a bit of room (2")on one side for some longer stuff


Group menu, packing
I know you guys are planning for individual food, packing, and cooking; but you should also consider the efficiencies of group menu planning, cooking, packing. Included would be stove, fuel, and cook kit for the group rather than everyone having their own, plan for a slight surplus in food and fuel for the group rather than everyone planning for extra food and fuel and probably being way off the mark, it’s hard to cook for one, one or two packs with food smell rather than everyone’s pack having food smell, one or two pack hanging ropes rather than a bunch of them. You start adding up the weight caused by everyone being self sufficieint and doubling up on everything - why it would be enough to dread the next portage and bog a trip down. My $.02.

Good advice
I’m sure we won’t duplicate things like stoves (or axes or saws or tarps). Frank and I are boil in a bag types, although I love to cook group meals when we are car camping. I think Jim can go either way. It’s certainly something we need to settle pretty soon. On think I’m sure of is that I won’t be portaging with my cast iron dutch oven.


Call me Mr. JetBoil
Because I will be staying a couple extra days I will be packing a complete kit. Not a heavy kit, but complete. I look at this trip as three solo boats camping in the same site. We will decide on group exuipment on the weekend of the 5-6th.


food packs
I have tried nearly every pack. For most trips I take a wanegan with a lid. Pack the food in 1 gal plastic mustard and mayo jars and other smaller plastic wide-mouth jars. Sit on the wanegan, use the lid as a flat surface, and with a tump line it is not difficult to carry.

My latest alternative is a “vittles vault” which is a dog food container with screw lid which comes in a couple of sizes. 15 by 15 bottom. I have added shoulder straps and waist strap and its a pretty convenient almost waterproof pack. Just pack with zip locks inside and you are good to go. Have also used it for my sleep bag, pad and clothing. Lays down in the canoe…

Sort of like the old “rec-pacs” for those of you old enough to remember them.

I have seen those
containers in the big box pet stores. Definately a possibility.

Here is another solution, from Author has modified a Rubbermaid tote box to use as a wanigan.


My Food Pack System
I have seen the barrel food packs, however think they are overpriced for what there is to them. The other thing I don’t like about them, is that you have to dig down through everything you have, to find what you’re looking for. It looks like things would get squashed too.

My alternative, is using a granite gear food pack. I then use 4 Sterilite plastic storage boxes with lids to put my food and other kitchen stuff in. It keeps things organized, dry, neat, and squash proof. The pack is perfectly packed, and fast to unload too. When you pack it, you can put the heavy stuff in the bottom, and if you leave lunch/snack stuff on top, you only have to open the top of the pack to find what you’re looking for. When you set your stuff on the ground, you still keep things clean, and you can use the storage box lid for a table, work station, and dish pan. I’ve even used one for bathing! If you capsized, the air pockets would keep your pack bouyant too. The 4 boxes weigh hardly a thing, and I really like this system.


your system is not water tight
and yes there are dividers for the 60 liter barrels. Ostrom has them.

You can also devise your own system for avoiding the dreaded root around. by using stuff sacks.

Plus I am getting old enough to enjoy a nice blue seat.

But it would be
with Tupperware containers!