Backpacking Food Packets





Introduction: Backpacking Food Packets

About: Hacker. Dad. Foodie. Software Engineer.

I like hiking and backpacking, but I don't want to visit fast food restaurants to steal condiments. Besides, unless you hit an asian restaurant, burger joint, and mexican restaurant, not to mention a salad bar, how can you get the variety you want? I came up with a way to bring my liquid condiments with me without filling messy bottles that could leak, and without the bulk and weight of canisters, such as peanut butter jars.

Assuming you can find commercial food packets, often they are 3 times the price pound per pound than the full bottle. Why not use what you have?

Step 1: You Will Need

Food sealer
Sealer bag roll


Step 2: Measure, Cut and Seal

Measure a 4" piece of sealer bag and seal the bottom. Most sealers have a seal only option.

Step 3: Seal the Notch

Adding a notch to the end of the food packet will direct the flow of condiments squished out toward a single point, making it easy to spread.

Seal 2 45 degree angles on two corners on one side of the bag. Leave the top open.

Step 4: Add the Condiments

Really any liquid should work, including:

-Salad dressings
-Mustard, mayo, etc (but you can steal them from fast food places)
-Peanut butter and Jelly
-Asian sauces, such as teriyaki, wasabi, etc.
-Hot sauces, sriracha, etc.

I used PB & J and Salsa for these demos.

Try to keep the top edge as clean as possible. This will aid sealing.

You could also do dry ingredients, such as a trail bread mix or brownies.

After you add the food, wipe clean the top edge if necessary and seal the liquid in, while vacuuming the air out. You can end here, but I prefer to seal off the excess and cut it off.

Step 5: Seal the Excess

Smoosh the food to the notch side and seal the side as close to the food as possible. This will cut on weight and bulk, if only a little.

Step 6: Finishing

Label each one-- it's best if you label them. You don't want to put mayo on your blueberry bagel, unless that's your thing.

To use it, cut the notch open with a knife and squeeze it out onto your meal. You can also cut little notches with scissors before you leave and tear it open.



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    23 Discussions

    Brilliant idea!! Found it just as I was prepping meals for the JMT. THANK YOU!

    only just joined instructables today and so many things I will be trying and doing in this new year today being 8 of jan 2016 and this will def be in the top 10 so cheers mate and happy camping

    Only the smart will survive and along with them the food saver. This is a great way to keep the knickers dry and clean while not having to worry if the ketchup packet has decided to take your clothes with it. My best friend and I went on a 2 day mountain hike. It turned into a 6 hour trip. *side note. I'm now a firm believer in snow shoes.* anyway we basically vacuum packed everything we brought with us. it a good tip and a good way to keep organized. there is one thing i will say about the vac sealing. make sure you wipe out the ....trench.....*only word that is available right now, please check back later* the end of the bag sits in when vacuuming. can make funny noises and make interesting smells later on in your vacuuming career.

    Now that i think of it, i still have a vac-sealed pair of undies in there......

    2 replies

    Yeah if only they made a field vacuum sealer with reusable bags. Then you could seal in those wet clothes from when you only thought the river "went up to your ankles". Have it solar and built into a backpack. That would be sick.

    they do- there is a kit you can buy for vacuum sealing your fishing/hunting catch, comes with a little hand operated suction pump NZ$39 for pump and six bags- I think it is a north american brand tho'. Try your local hunting store, I just got one and sealed up a spare set of merino thermals, hat and gloves next up. They have a ziploc top and a small valve. Whole lot is very small and portable- enjoy

    late comment but they make clothes bags - like the ones you vacuum - these are made to be sealed (by zipper a la ziploc bag) but have a hole (with cap) So you can put your clothes in and roll out the air - then seal the bag & roll out more air. Does that make sense? You can get them at any dollar store. Not as compact as vaccum sealed but still smaller and dry.

    1 reply

    I wouldn't recommend storing these with perishable food for any extended period of time. This process only removes the air, and does not kill microbes that would be killed during home canning. The risk would be higher for a jar that has had multiple contacts with foreign objects-- spoons and knives. I only do these packets right before a trip so they stay fresh, and I keep them in the fridge until I leave.

    Watch the alton brown recipe on Jam. 180 degrees does kill bacteria, but you've still got botulin and fungi and a few others that will survive. I only make these right before a trip, and I'm not caching food in the hot sun for a through hike. This way bacteria doesn't grow because they are kept in the fridge until I leave.

    How about trying one of these battery operated re-sealers?

    Looking into making some of these for my mountain climbing son.

    My vacuum sealer has so much suction - no way to turn it off, that liquid always gets drawn into the part where it has to seal. Double line seal never worked too well either. The trick is to freeze the liquid contents in the open bag and seal it when it gets solid. It's also easier to handle when it's not a floppy bag.

    2 replies

    I've tried it-- frozen italian dressing and ranch is not fully frozen. It's more viscous, but messes with the chemistry. I'd keep the condiments in the fridge until you leave for a trip... this doesn't seal out food borne illness. Most sealers have a vacuum and seal button, I usually just vacuum until it starts to pull liquid and then seal it.

    Aren't you concerned about spoilage? The little restaurant packages have been sterilized after sealing. Personally, I would hate to get sick out on the trail after eating one of these.

    1 reply

    I only use these right before a trip. Since there is low oxygen in the pouch and I only use foods that store well like jam peanut butter and high acid food like salsa, I can accept the risk afforded with these convenient pouches. Thanks for your comments! :-)

    ok random question. what do you call the ...canyon... *Sorry better words for the description have left town for the weekend* that the end of the bag get its guts sucked out with?

    Peanut butter and nuttella work better if you chill them in the freezer first. Spread on wax paper in a pan, then chill for 20 or so minutes until they are firm (not frozen). Then cut into rectangles and slide in the bag for sealing.

    I did this too!! (good to know I'm not alone)

    I love, love, LOVE my FoodSaver!

    I've found it really helpful in making 'custom' Ziploc bags for compartmentalizing items in my backpack / EDC bag. I've got a little Ziploc for cash ('cause it's dirty) band-aids ('cause they need to stay clean) wet wipes (to keep 'em moist)... the list goes on, but I digress.

    I also have a spare set of clothes in my backpack that have been vacuum sealed. Nice and compact!