Saturday, January 7, 2012

MYOG - A Cozy for my Kettle


I like the concept of freezer bag cooking, but multiplying two baggies per day, by 170+ days equals a whole lot of plastic in landfill. I'll still use the basic concept, but I'll do it in my MSR Kettle. That means bringing food to a boil, taking it off the heat, and putting it in a cozy. I needed a cozy.

I envisioned a simple, insulated pouch, with a drawstring top, that would serve as both a cozy, and as a bag to carry the pot in.

I went to my local fabric store where I found some light rip-stop cotton duck which won't melt when I drop a hot pot in it. To keep the heat in, I found some Insul-Bright which is hollow polyester fiber with a metallized film backing. The backing resists radiant heat loss, the fiber resists conduction.

Now all I had to do was put it together ...

I measured a strip of insulation the height and circumference of the kettle. I sandwiched it between two pieces of the duck the circumference of the kettle, plus an inch for hems; and the height of the kettle, plus an inch more than the the radius of the top, an inch for the drawstring, and a half inch for the bottom hem.

I traced the bottom of the kettle on a piece of insulation, and sandwiched it between two layers of material that were cut a half inch wider for the bottom seam.

We got it all sewed up, and the results, well ... sucked ...

The pot fit snugly inside. Too snugly. That could be bad when trying to cram a pot filled with boiling couscous into it. Then I realized that even if I had made the cozy bigger, I'd be handling the pot with the folding handles, which stick out the sides, so they'd have to be folded back and I'd have to try handling the pot by the top with a bandana. Scary.

Plus, when I cinched down the drawstring as tight as I could, the double thickness of material only allowed it to cinch down to where it was still sporting a 3" hole on top.

We opened up the side seam, and hemmed the edges so that the kettle's handles could slide in. Now I can safely set a kettle of scalding mac and cheese into the cozy without fear of permanent disfigurement,

To fix the cinching problem, we cut down the inside layer of duck to just cover the insulation around the pot. The top now cinches down to a respectable inch, and it's a bit lighter.

After sewing it together, ripping it apart, and re-sewing it several times, it doesn't suck. As it is, it's 1.9 ozs.  I'm sure that rip stop duck will last a lifetime, and that it provides additional insulation value, but my inner gram weenie wishes I had picked a lighter fabric. I might even have got it to cinch down further!