A hot dinner at the end of a cold day on the water is a welcome reward. It’s all the more appreciated at camp or aboard a boat without a heated cabin, but there’s often no time to savor the meal before it gets cold. If dining attire calls for a cap and jacket, your cookpot could probably use something to keep it warm, too: a cozy.
It’s easy to make a cozy to fit almost any camp-cooking pot. The insulation is provided by Reflectix, a double-reflective, double-bubble insulation made for use in construction to provide thermal insulation for everything from water heaters to walls. Its silvery metalized polyester outer layers reflect heat and the two layers of polyethylene bubbles provide dead air space for insulation. The bubbles can’t be popped like those in bubble wrap can. I can stand on Reflectix with all my weight on one heel and not pop a single bubble.
The tape used to put a cozy together is aluminum film with an aggressive rubbery adhesive on one side, which is protected by a peel-off layer of treated paper.
Here’s how to make a camp-cookpot cozy:
Reflectix is designed to be used in environments as hot as 180 degrees F. A pot of water heated to a rolling boil and removed from the stove can be immediately set on Reflectix without damaging it but a cookpot heated to the point of making olive oil smoke will melt the material and leave some adhered to the pot. For the higher temperatures of frying, I’d recommend cooking in a fry pan and transferring the finished dish to the cookpot nestled in its cozy.
Meals can be eaten directly and immediately from the cookpot—the cozy makes it possible to hold it. The cozy will also keep food hot between servings. After I’d had a bowlful of seasoned instant rice, I put the lid on the pot and slipped it into the cozy. After 20 minutes in 55-degree temperatures, the rice was still pleasantly hot, about 122 degrees F.
Reflectix can also be used to insulate Nalgene bottles to keep ice water cold in the summer, serve as a windshield sun guard, and provide warm, cushioned seat pads.
Reflectix and aluminum tape can be purchased from hardware stores and online retailers. Small rolls of Reflectix and tape are available. AntiGravityGear offers kits for making single cozies. A similar-looking product carried by Home Depot under the Everbilt brand is only half as thick as Reflectix. It comes at about half the price but I recommend against using it.
Christopher Cunningham is the editor of Small Boats.
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