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  1. #1
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    Food Bag Questions

    I would like to carry about a weeks worth of food staples at a time. For instance, rice, beans, cous cous, potato flakes, pasta, spices, freeze dried hummus, oatmeal while buying other food on the road (when available) like produce, bagels, snacks, etc every couple of days. A couple questions:

    1. Roughly what size stuff sack should I get to carry the amount of food described above? I was thinking something that would fill about half a rear pannier. Maybe 12 liters??

    2. How are food odors managed? Special bags? Bags within bags?

  2. #2
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Twelve liters of dry produce for one week? That's 1.7 liters per day! You might wanna rethink how much rice or oatmeal that would result in and cut back a bit - like by at least 50 to 75%!

    Different people have different systems depending on if their panniers have pockets or are just one big bag. A stuff sack isn't an approach I use myself. Ziplocks are good for individual ingrediants. Those can be stored in pannier pockets, or inside the cooking gear itself, or inside a couple rectangular Tupperware containers. Tupperware gives a solid base to pack other things on top of, a container to use to mix things in, and something to temporarily store meats, salads or other special care items that need to be in spillproof containers and might need ice.

    Any or all of those will work. Your cooking and organizational preferences should decide what works for you.

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    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Here is a pictorial of my grocery shopping for an eleven day off-road tour (well most of it) with no intentions of resupplying ...

    From this ..



    to this ...



    To this ...



    Andrew

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    Andrew, You look to have done what I do, pack things premeasured.

    Brad

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use a stuff bag to put pre-measured food in, it goes in one of my rear panniers near the top. I do something similar to what Aushiker did. I pre-package foods by serving size in ziplock baggies. Then the baggies go in a larger stuff sack. I also take a collapsible Rubbermaid container along, it allows me to soak beans for dinner while I am riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Twelve liters of dry produce for one week? That's 1.7 liters per day! You might wanna rethink how much rice or oatmeal that would result in and cut back a bit - like by at least 50 to 75%!

    Different people have different systems depending on if their panniers have pockets or are just one big bag. A stuff sack isn't an approach I use myself. Ziplocks are good for individual ingrediants. Those can be stored in pannier pockets, or inside the cooking gear itself, or inside a couple rectangular Tupperware containers. Tupperware gives a solid base to pack other things on top of, a container to use to mix things in, and something to temporarily store meats, salads or other special care items that need to be in spillproof containers and might need ice.

    Any or all of those will work. Your cooking and organizational preferences should decide what works for you.
    Not just dry food but also bulkier produce, snacks, etc. But OK 12 liters does sound big and now I am thinking maybe 2 smaller bags would be better.

    Thanks for the ideas about organization. I have ortliebs so not a lot of pockets. My fuel canister is in my solo pot... So maybe one main food bag with a ziplock with spices and oils inside the bag and a separate snack bag...

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    Dry foods don't have a strong oder. You don't need to take spices or anything. Look at Aushiker's pic and it explains it all. Packaged pasta with added flavours that just needs water. I'm a big coffee drinker but carrying milk is just silly so i carry ready to go cappuccino. Carry ready to go stuff that just needs added water and lots of water.
    Rice is important

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the photos!

    Sorry no experience here... What is the advantage of the collars on the bags in the photos over regular stuff sacks? Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
    Here is a pictorial of my grocery shopping for an eleven day off-road tour (well most of it) with no intentions of resupplying ...

    From this ..



    to this ...



    To this ...



    Andrew

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meandmybike View Post
    Dry foods don't have a strong oder. You don't need to take spices or anything. Look at Aushiker's pic and it explains it all. Packaged pasta with added flavours that just needs water. I'm a big coffee drinker but carrying milk is just silly so i carry ready to go cappuccino. Carry ready to go stuff that just needs added water and lots of water.
    I have some pretty severe food sensitivities to substances in prepackaged food so I have to do my own spices otherwise I would do go the prepackaged route for convenience

    Tell me about your "Rice is Important" signature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I use a stuff bag to put pre-measured food in, it goes in one of my rear panniers near the top. I do something similar to what Aushiker did. I pre-package foods by serving size in ziplock baggies. Then the baggies go in a larger stuff sack. I also take a collapsible Rubbermaid container along, it allows me to soak beans for dinner while I am riding.

    Aaron
    Good tip on the collapsible bowl. Thanks...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
    I
    Tell me about your "Rice is Important" signature.
    It's basic really.
    There is so many things in the world that people consider important and it varies depending on who you ask the question "what's important to you"?
    Such much of the world's population rely on rice for survival i think if you travelled the world and did a survey rice would be the top answer.
    Rice is important

  12. #12
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    On the coffee front ..... the starbucks instant coffee is not that bad, rather good. I survived off of that this past summer camping 2 weeks with my son.

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    weirdo
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    I`ve been using zip-lock type freezer bags for odor reasons when in bear or varmint country. As for bag size dilemas, there isn`t a huge penalty for going with bigger than you need because you can always roll the bag down to a smaller size. You need to do that anyway as you use up the supplies.

    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    Andrew, You look to have done what I do, pack things premeasured.
    +1, excellent post. It`s a good demonstration of how much packaging is involved in food straight out of the supermarket.

    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I also take a collapsible Rubbermaid container along, it allows me to soak beans for dinner while I am riding.
    Hmmm... good idea. I already carry a small Rubbermaid-type bowl with lid as my eating bowl and soaker, but never thought about presoaking beans or lentils for faster cooking. Until now, I`ve always just avoided them because of my limited cooking capability, but will see if presoak + one shot of boiling water is enough. It might add a lot to my possibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
    Sorry no experience here... What is the advantage of the collars on the bags in the photos over regular stuff sacks? Thanks.
    That`s how "dry sacks" come. The collar is a semi-rigid strip of plastic that helps keep a nice seal when you roll up the top. Important if you have possibility of precip, but you can save a few grams and a few bucks if you`re sure you`ll be dry or if it`s otherwise waterproofed- everything zip locked inside or the whole bag is going into something else that`s already waterproof.

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    2. How are food odors managed? Special bags? Bags within bags?
    Bear boxes and kevlar bags that you put well up a tree, out on a limb..

    and dont eat in your tent.. bears smell food even in the fabric, and may tear it up to find it.

  15. #15
    eternalvoyage
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    I've wondered about the best bag materials for odor containment. Haven't researched it thoroughly yet,. Best I've used so far are mylar or mylar-like bags that certain chips, for example, come in. They limit the odors much more thoroughly than standard plastic bags (Glad bags, etc.).

    Certain expedition leaders have probably found good bags to limit odors more thoroughly.

    It would be interesting to learn more about which materials work best.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    Andrew, You look to have done what I do, pack things premeasured.
    That is my approach. Everything is pretty much ready to go for a meal; breakfast more so.

    BTW all the bars was a one off test of an idea which I have since abandoned so would carry quite a bit less food on the same ride. The fruit cake stays but

    Andrew

  17. #17
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
    Good tip on the collapsible bowl. Thanks...
    I am still using the original design of the Orikaso folding bowl ... great piece of kit.



    Andrew

  18. #18
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    That`s how "dry sacks" come. The collar is a semi-rigid strip of plastic that helps keep a nice seal when you roll up the top. Important if you have possibility of precip, but you can save a few grams and a few bucks if you`re sure you`ll be dry or if it`s otherwise waterproofed- everything zip locked inside or the whole bag is going into something else that`s already waterproof.
    Most of my bike touring and bushwalking is in our winter hence the preference for dry sacks. I need them for bushwalking particularly so tend to go with them.

    Andrew

  19. #19
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
    Not just dry food but also bulkier produce, snacks, etc. But OK 12 liters does sound big and now I am thinking maybe 2 smaller bags would be better.

    Thanks for the ideas about organization. I have ortliebs so not a lot of pockets. My fuel canister is in my solo pot... So maybe one main food bag with a ziplock with spices and oils inside the bag and a separate snack bag...
    Fuel canister is one thing I insist on carrying in an outside pocket (alcohol, propane or butane) or on a water bottle cage (white gas or kerosene). That's the last thing I want near any food.

    Most dry goods will keep pretty well for a week if you keep the temperature reasonable. Oils, nuts etc will go rancid if left in the sun for long periods of time. A water bottle filled with crushed ice (courtesy of McDonalds or Tim Horton's) can stabalize the temperature in a pannier for several hours. Peanut butter and jam can both be carried in ZipLoc bags

    Fresh fruit and vegetables travel extremely well. Prepared salads, fruit salads or anything 'ready to eat' like cold cuts has an EXTREMLY short life expectancy if not refrigerated, but that crushed ice in a water bottle changes things and will get you a cooler for several hours. And you're going to drink the water afterwards anyway - right?

    Cheese, UHT milk, canned condensed milk all travel fine, as does wine, mini juices, canned tuna, and are all pretty easy to find in one use sizes just about anywhere you can find groceries. Buns or bagels are a better bet than bread in loafs. I try to pick up perishables on a daily basis to keep the load light, the health risk down, and to have an excuse to check out that delicatessen over there. Having a menu outlined for the day with options based on what makes itself available makes things flexible.

    But seriously - between Knorr soups, pasta, rice, oatmeal, pancake mix, granola, meal replacement powder (use as milk substitute) trail mix, shelled almonds - there aren't all that many holes left to fill in to end up with a balanced diet and a weeks worth of stuff. You can even buy half of that as you go along.
    Last edited by Burton; 03-09-13 at 09:09 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meandmybike View Post
    It's basic really.
    There is so many things in the world that people consider important and it varies depending on who you ask the question "what's important to you"?
    Such much of the world's population rely on rice for survival i think if you travelled the world and did a survey rice would be the top answer.
    Interesting. It's one of my favorite foods but I've cut way back on it since this whole arsenic thing came out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    I`ve been using zip-lock type freezer bags for odor reasons when in bear or varmint country. As for bag size dilemas, there isn`t a huge penalty for going with bigger than you need because you can always roll the bag down to a smaller size. You need to do that anyway as you use up the supplies.

    +1, excellent post. It`s a good demonstration of how much packaging is involved in food straight out of the supermarket.

    Hmmm... good idea. I already carry a small Rubbermaid-type bowl with lid as my eating bowl and soaker, but never thought about presoaking beans or lentils for faster cooking. Until now, I`ve always just avoided them because of my limited cooking capability, but will see if presoak + one shot of boiling water is enough. It might add a lot to my possibilities.

    That`s how "dry sacks" come. The collar is a semi-rigid strip of plastic that helps keep a nice seal when you roll up the top. Important if you have possibility of precip, but you can save a few grams and a few bucks if you`re sure you`ll be dry or if it`s otherwise waterproofed- everything zip locked inside or the whole bag is going into something else that`s already waterproof.
    Thanks for the info. I'll probably give regular stuff sacks a try since I have waterproof ortliebs (and will try zip-locks in bear country). Let us know how your bean soaking/cooking goes... Sounds better than freeze dried.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Fuel canister is one thing I insist on carrying in an outside pocket (alcohol, propane or butane) or on a water bottle cage (white gas or kerosene). That's the last thing I want near any food.

    Most dry goods will keep pretty well for a week if you keep the temperature reasonable. Oils, nuts etc will go rancid if left in the sun for long periods of time. A water bottle filled with crushed ice (courtesy of McDonalds or Tim Horton's) can stabalize the temperature in a pannier for several hours. Peanut butter and jam can both be carried in ZipLoc bags

    Fresh fruit and vegetables travel extremely well. Prepared salads, fruit salads or anything 'ready to eat' like cold cuts has an EXTREMLY short life expectancy if not refrigerated, but that crushed ice in a water bottle changes things and will get you a cooler for several hours. And you're going to drink the water afterwards anyway - right?

    Cheese, UHT milk, canned condensed milk all travel fine, as does wine, mini juices, canned tuna, and are all pretty easy to find in one use sizes just about anywhere you can find groceries. Buns or bagels are a better bet than bread in loafs. I try to pick up perishables on a daily basis to keep the load light, the health risk down, and to have an excuse to check out that delicatessen over there. Having a menu outlined for the day with options based on what makes itself available makes things flexible.

    But seriously - between Knorr soups, pasta, rice, oatmeal, pancake mix, granola, meal replacement powder (use as milk substitute) trail mix, shelled almonds - there aren't all that many holes left to fill in to end up with a balanced diet and a weeks worth of stuff. You can even buy half of that as you go along.
    I hadn't thought of fuel spilling from the isopro canisters. Does this happen with MSR type isopro canisters? How would you carry an 8 ounce isopro fuel canister if you didn't have pockets in your panniers? Bike Buddy on the downtube?

    Thanks so much for the food tips. This is very helpful and I'll refer back to this thread when planning for my upcoming summer trips.

  23. #23
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm718 View Post
    I hadn't thought of fuel spilling from the isopro canisters. Does this happen with MSR type isopro canisters? How would you carry an 8 ounce isopro fuel canister if you didn't have pockets in your panniers? Bike Buddy on the downtube?

    Thanks so much for the food tips. This is very helpful and I'll refer back to this thread when planning for my upcoming summer trips.
    Fuel leakage from a canister stove is normally minimal and is usually limited to fuel in the transport tube after the stove has been shut off. However, just to make absolutely sure there are no issues, if you have no outside pockets on your panniers, suggest to keep the consumables and fuels in seperate panniers. Even vapors fom liquid fuels like kerosene or white gas can completely destroy a food supply and never seem yo leave clothing or panniers so a fuel bottle in a cage is best for those.

    Some people like compression bags - I'm not a big fan. So if you take your sleeping bag or clothes and build a nest in one pannier for consumables - you'll be insulating the food and any waterproof container or bag inserted in the middle will act as a cooler. Rain gear, stove and fuel and the like can go in another pannier.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Tansy's Avatar
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    Hi there. I also tend to carry a lot of food - usually a weeks worth of good eating or sometimes more. If you're going to be carrying a lot of goodies I'd suggest maybe investing in a bear-vault type container. Thus far, for me, bears have never been a problem but raccoons, crows, seagulls, squirrels and mice have been. I've had a raccoon unzip my panniers and run off with a load of raisin bread in less than three minutes. I've seen squirrels open it, too, then the crows come in and mash up my bananas. In Oregon it was so bad I finally ignored common good sense and kept my food in my tent because it was completely impossible to keep the pests away otherwise. Even then, I had to watch that they didn't try to come in and get it. After a week of that, I decided that the bulk and three extra pounds was worth being able to sleep at night and had my bear vault mailed to me.

    Since it's only been non-dangerous animals getting at my food, I might try a lighter hard-sided container, like a locking tupperware bin, but I can't report on rather that'll actually keep them out or not. If you're staying in motels, or dispersed camping, you might be okay - I've only ever had problems in actual developed campgrounds. Otherwise, you're risking losing most of your food stash if you sleep too deeply or take too long in the bathroom.

    Also - as far as dry food odor... the two things, aside from bread, that critters always, every time, went for first were oatmeal and sugar, which I usually doublebagged in freezer ziplocs, and don't really have too strong of a smell compared to soup mixes and such.
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  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
    I am still using the original design of the Orikaso folding bowl ... great piece of kit.



    Andrew
    +1

    Rowan and I each have a set of those ... plate, bowl, and mug. We've been using them for years.


    And Rowan has been using drysacks for years. I just started on RTW tour, and I like them. Rowan was able to acquire a pair of them for me which are extremely thin and light, and yet are still waterproof. Not sure if you'd want to use that kind for food, but they were great for clothing.

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