Once you’ve finished a delicious Trailtopia meal, you are left with an empty pouch. While you could view this pouch as useless trash that’s lacking in further utility, that would be a waste of your own creativity! One way or another you are going to be carrying this pouch with you, so you might as well repurpose it. Need some suggestions for giving your food pouch a second life? Here are a couple fun/creative/questionably useful suggestions!
1. A dry bag: When resealed, an empty meal pouch turns into a relatively functional dry bag. Its about as ultralight as it gets (less than 1oz), it’s resealing capabilities are surprisingly strong (just don’t jump up and down on it), and can be ideal for storing things like tinder (that you might not want to store in a thin/more expensive/less “poke proof” dry bag).
2. A mug: Need an extra container for a little late night coco or early morning coffee? Pouches are designed to hold high temps, and the sides provide handles that won’t be flaming hot. Sure it might not make the most pristine and instagramable shot, but it’ll do in a pinch!
3. Pillow: Lower your expectations for this one, but an inflated pouch can create a serviceable pillow. Seal the pouch with as much air as possible, and then wrap a shirt or fleece around it. While this seems like an obvious statement, anything going into your tent (that once contained food) should be as clean as a whistle before getting anywhere near your sleeping area. In bear country? You should probably just pass on this one…
4. Stashing berries: When there are blueberries/raspberries/
5. Trash bag: Maybe this one is too obvious to mention, but empty pouches also double as wonderful and resealable trash bags. Keep one/two for your general trash, and then keep one handy while you hike so that you can pick up the “microtrash” that you find along the trail. Dinner pouch for the big stuff, breakfast/oatmeal pouch for the little stuff.
6. Hot water bottle: Chilly night? Cold feet? Fill up an empty pouch with hot water and tuck in under your puffy of in your sleeping bag. Attempt with caution. While our pouches do reseal nicely, they aren’t invincible, and could create an unhappy and wet camper if rolled upon or stepped on.
7. Mini washing machine: Got some small clothing items that need a wash? Put them in the pouch, fill it up with water and biodegradable soap if you are so inclined (making sure to follow proper LNT protocols), and shake it like a polaroid picture.
All of these additional uses (other than using it as a trash bag) are best accomplished once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the pouch and removed all traces of food. While we wouldn’t object to a little pesto pasta in our hot coco, your makeshift pillow could turn into bear bait awfully quickly if some Jambalaya is still wafting about. Long story short, an empty meal pouch is essentially an ultralight and waterproof container. Get creative!
Add your ideas and uses to the comment section below!