BIG SKY INSULITE COZY
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
INITIAL REPORT - August 21, 2009
FIELD REPORT - October 28, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - January 12, 2010
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
190 lb (86.20 kg)
Backpacking Background: I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay around Mount Hood, Columbia Gorge, Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, and the Olympic Peninsula. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 15 lb (7 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack. My sleeping pad is a Therm-a-Rest air mattress.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Big Sky International
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://bigskyproducts.com
MSRP: US$ 11.95
Listed Weight: 1.5oz (43 g)
Measured Weight: 1.25 oz (36 g)
Listed Size: 25cm x 25cm (10 x 10 in)
Measured Size: 25 x 23 cm (10 x 9 in)
The Big Sky Insulite Food Cozy is an insulated bag to keep things warm or cold.
The bag is made with an aluminized material. I can tell there are at least three layers. It's sewn with a white thread.
There is a flap, closed with hook and loop fastener.
There's a plastic clip to hook it to whatever.
The bottom of the bag is gusseted, so it will hold more and stand up by itself.
There are two elastic bands to hold it together for packing.
The bag is big enough to hold my 900 ml (1 quart) Titanium Evernew pot, which is what I'll use for most of my testing:
I will also test it with a bag of freeze dried food that I add boiling water to, while it's re-hydrating.
Big Sky says it's also good to keep things cool. The bag isn't big enough to hold a one quart (liter) water bottle, but it is big enough for a 1 pint (half liter) bottle.
I usually bring about 1 pound (1/2 kg) of fruits and vegetables, like carrots, bell peppers, or oranges. I'll try putting these in the cozy and see if they keep cool.
It folds up into a small size for packing:
It seems well constructed. All the sewed seams look well done.
I did this experiment. Boil two cups (473 ml) of water in my backpacking pot with the lid on, set it on the cutting board in my 73 F (23 C) kitchen, wait 10 minutes. Measure temperature. It was 180 F (82 C).
Repeated but put pot in the Big Sky Cozy. Temperature was 193 F (89 C) after 10 minutes.
Without the cozy it dropped 32 F (18 C). With the cozy it dropped 19 F (11 C).
It loses 60% with the cozy vs. without.
It seems like this is a significant improvement. Next, I will find out by hydrating food.
I'm looking forward to testing this on a number of trips.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I did a 35 mile (56 km) 4500 foot (1400 m) elevation gain 4 night backpack in the Goat Rocks and Mount Adams in central Washington. 40 to 80 F (4 to 27 C). I used the cozy to hold raw vegetables, seemed to keep them cooler than otherwise. I rehydrated a bean soup and oatmeal, in my pot, with and without the cozy. It seemed like the food was a little better hydrated with the cozy than without.
10/12/2009 - 5 night backpack Mount Hood in northern Oregon. 27 to 55 F (-3 to 13 C), 28 miles (45 km). I used the cozy with a Mt House freeze dried beef stew which was well hydrated. I hydrated a Nile Spice beans with rice which has whole dehydrated beans with and without cozy - with cozy was a little better hydrated.
Mt House dinner:
10/20/2009 - 4 night backpack Mill Creek Wilderness central Oregon. 27 to 65 F (-3 to 18 C), 35 miles (56 km). I used the cozy to hold raw vegetables (carrots and bell peppers) and lemon juice. Kept them fairly cool. I didn't use the cozy for rehydrating meals.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
It seemed like the cozy kept raw vegetables (carrots and peppers) cooler than they would have been without. I think this is the best use for me of the cozy.
It made a little difference using the cozy to rehydrate the easy to rehydrate oatmeal and a soup with beans broken into pieces.
The cozy made more difference at rehydrating a soup with whole dehydrated beans.
For me, the cozy was a little inconvenient to use with my pot, because I had to take off the windscreen to fit it into the cozy.
I used the cozy to rehydrate a bagged, freeze dried dinner by Mt. House. It worked well, but I didn't do a with and without comparison.
The Big Sky Insulite Cozy works well to rehydrate bagged dehydrated meals. From my observations, this is how most people use the cozy.
For easy to rehydrate meals (food broken up into small pieces) it isn't necessary to have the improved rehydration using the cozy, but for difficult to rehydrate food, the cozy is more useful.
My best use of the cozy was to keep raw vegetables cool. I put the vegetables into a 1 quart zip lock bag which I put into the cozy.
The low weight of the cozy is great.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
11/15/2009 - 40 mile (64 km) backpack up Deschutes River in Northern Oregon, 32 to 55 F( 0 to 13 C). Used the cozy to carry fruits and vegetables.
12/5/2009 - 1 day backpack and 5 day camping trip. I took the cozy in the car but didn't use it because it was cold so I didn't need any aid in keeping my veggies cool.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I only used the cozy once during the LTR period, to keep my fruits and veggies cold on a three day backpack. It worked well.
I did all my rehydration testing in the FR period, and I only had easy to rehydrate food during the LTR period so I didn't need the cozy for that.
Same results as the field report - the cozy was good at keeping fruits and vegetables cool when the weather is warm.
As stated in the field report, for easy to hydrate food containing small pieces, the cozy saves maybe a couple minutes of rehydration time, hardly noticeable so there's no reason to use the cozy.
For difficult to rehydrate food containing larger pieces of food, the cozy results in better rehydrated food. It avoids the unpleasantness of biting into a chewy piece of food.
I am a lightweight backpacker and like the light weight of the cozy.
The cozy is still in like new condition - no rips or tears and the elastic is still attached.
I'll continue to use the cozy in warm weather to keep fruits and vegetables cool.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
I would also use the cozy to rehydrate food that is difficult to rehydrate - contains large pieces - but I don't normally take such food with me.
Thanks to Big Sky and backpackgeartest.org for letting me test this.
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Read more gear reviews by jerry adams