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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > Optimus H EAT Insulation Pouch > Owner Review by Frances Penn

OPTIMUS (H)EAT INSULATION POUCH
BY FRANCES PENN
OWNER REVIEW
June 19, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Frances Penn
EMAIL: oldhikergirl AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 57
LOCATION: Santa Ana, California USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 130 lb (59.00 kg)

I have been backpacking for six years mostly on long weekends in Southern California with two or more 5-day trips per year in the Sierras. My total daypack weight, including food and water, is usually 15 lb (7 kg) and my total backpack weight, including food and water, is usually 26-30 lb (12-14 kg) depending on the need for a bear canister. I have recently converted to a tarp, bivy and quilt sleeping system instead of a tent. I have experienced all night rain, hail, heavy winds, camping in snow once, but mostly fair weather.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Katadyn Products Inc.
Manufacturer's Website: www.optimusstoves.com
MSRP: US $14.95
Listed Weight: 2.7 oz (77 g)
Measured Weight: 2.2 oz (62 g)
Dimensions: 7.75 wide by 6.5 high by 3.5 in deep (19.68 wide by 16.51 high by 9 cm deep)
Color Available: Black with Lime Green trim
Size Available. One Size
Material: Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)

IMAGE 1
courtesy website


The Optimus (H)EAT Insulation Pouch is an insulated pouch with side pockets that can be used as a pot cozy to assist with the rehydration process of dehydrated meals. The Optimus Terra Weekend HE and the Terra Solo pots fit inside the pouch. These pots are easily inserted once cooking is complete using the side hook and loop closure. The side pockets on the outside of the pouch act as hand warmers in cold weather. The side pockets also assist with grip and insulation while holding a hot pot or hot container of food. Rehydrated meals stay warm longer and can be consumed directly out of the plastic bag while the meal is staying warm in the pouch. The pouch is washable at 86 F (30 C).


FIELD USE

I had been using a pot cozy homemade from a padded silver windshield cover. This worked great until it started to split and thus not work as efficiently. I saw this pouch in a mountaineering store during a trip to the Sierras last summer and just had to give it a try. I don't own either of the aforementioned Optimus cook pots, but my titanium cook pot fits inside the pouch. I usually use this pouch to rehydrate meals that I have prepared at home. Once the boiling water is added to the Ziploc bag, the dehydrated food is kneaded a few seconds to distribute the hot water and to make sure the food is moist. The meal is then placed in the pouch and the top is folded over and placed against a nearby rock or log. For breakfast, it works great with my oatmeal that I have prepared at home with dried milk, a little chocolate milk mix, brown sugar, dried cranberries and sometimes a little coconut. I prefer oatmeal that requires cooking and then it has to sit to finish cooking. I leave the oatmeal in the pouch for at least 10 minutes while I drink my hot drink that I have prepared using the remaining portion of the hot water that was boiled to prepare the oatmeal. I eat my meal right out of the bag once the rehydration process is completed. This pouch saves me time, energy, fuel, and extra hot water I would boil to wash my pot, my dish and my spork. I end up with an empty Ziploc bag that is placed in the trash bag and a clean pot because it only boiled water once per meal.

IMAGE 2
ready to cook my oatmeal


I have been using this pouch for the past year. I estimate this pouch has been used to prepare approximately 50 or more meals for me and my hiking partners.

For dinner, the same process is repeated depending on the meal being prepared. If I am making pasta, mashed potatoes or stuffing, I boil water and pour it in the Ziploc bag, knead the food and then place the hot food bag into the pouch, fold over the top of the pouch and place it against a hard object like my bear canister or a nearby rock. Usually after about ten minutes, the food is fully rehydrated and still warm and can be consumed directly from the bag while it is still in the pouch keeping the food warm. Sometimes I use the rehydration time to warm some pasta sauce or gravy for the mashed potatoes or stuffing. Once the meal is rehydrated, sometimes I pour the sauce or gravy into the bag and sometimes I spoon the food into a bowl and pour the sauce or gravy over it. Whether or not I use a bowl mostly depends on the availability of water for washing the bowl and the time available for the washing and drying process to be completed. It also depends on if I am cooking for myself or for one or more of my hiking partners.

IMAGE 3
ready to eat breakfast
IMAGE 4
enjoying breakfast


Believe it or not, I have used this pouch to rehydrate instant pudding mixed with dried milk that I mix with cold water in a ziploc bag. Once I pour in the cold water, I knead the pudding mixture for a minute and then place it in the pouch, fold over the top and brace it against something firm. In five minutes, I have pudding and cookies for dessert. This amazes my hiking partners. They usually are happy to allow me to prepare the meals for our group.

Since I prefer to mix my own dehydrated meals, I usually do not purchase the meals in the bags. One of the intended uses for this pouch is to eat the rehydrated meal directly from its bag while keeping the meal warm in this pouch.

IMAGE 5
pouch with food bag-courtesy website

SUMMARY

I am really happy to have found this pouch. It has played a big part in helping me to transform my meals into much more customized, tasty, hearty and satisfying breakfasts and dinners that my hiking partners and I have enjoyed. I have been able to explore the backpack cooking websites to create interesting meals that make my backpacking trips all the more enjoyable.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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