Pot Cozies — A Winter Essential

IMG_1261If you enjoy winter backpacking/hiking/camping then you know how good a hot meal makes you feel at the end of the day. Hot food and drinks not only warms my sprits but it adds warmth and fuel to my body on a cold day or night.

A pot cozy is one of my winter essentials, the cozy keeps my heated water hot and if I eat from my pot it’s easier to hold the hot pot, best of all my meals stay hot to the last bite. Cozies save fuel, ultra-light, easy to make, materials are cheap and easy to get and they simply work.

I make my cozies using Reflectix aka heat duct insulation and/or car windshield heat reflectors. Materials needed, Reflectix, craft knife, ruler, Sharpie pen, duct tape and about 30 minutes of time. Here’s how I make mine.


Trace around the top of the pot, this will be the bottom piece of the cozy; tracing around the top accommodates the pot handle and doesn’t make the cozy too snug.

IMG_1266Cut a second piece 1/2-inch larger in diameter, this will be the lid piece, the added width will allow the lid to slide down and over the side when completed.

IMG_1267Place your pot on top of the bottom piece and measure just below the lip of the pot. I like the handles of my pot folded in and I allow for this when measuring around the pot.

IMG_1268Tape the side ends together, I like duct tape for durability.

IMG_1269Wrap tape around the side piece and place bottom piece inside, cut slits in the tape and begin folding each section down. By placing your pot inside and using its bottom to press the tape in position makes this step easier.

Repeat the same steps to complete the lid. The lid I made slides down and over the sides by about 1.5-inches as seen in the next photo, yours may vary.

IMG_1276Completed pot cozy with a slit cut in the lid piece for the pot lid grip thing. In the background is a fuel canister cozy I made several years ago using blue CCF (closed cell foam) aka Wal-Mart camping foam pad. I also have one for a hard sided Nalgene bottle that I use in the winter months, having a hot drink to sip on as I hike and when I stop for a break is most appreciated on a cold day.

The cozy I made is for my Evernew 0.6-liter pot, cozy weight 30 grams. Silver Reflectix tape can be used in order to save a little more weight and it looks better, but I’ve found duct tape is more durable.

Rolls of Reflectix are available at most hardware stores; car windshield heat reflectors are available at most auto parts stores.

IMO you need a pot cozy, that’s unless you use a JetBoil system, which comes with a neoprene cozy.

Here are ten reasons why Keith Foskett author of The Last Englishman uses a pot cozy and how he makes them.

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17 thoughts on “Pot Cozies — A Winter Essential

  1. I have found that if you make the bottom and sides double layered, it dramatically increases thermal efficiency with negligible weight increase. That way you can actually “cook” (bring food to boil on stove, then put pot in the cozy for additional cooking time) in your pot and save some fuel in the process.

  2. Keith said it best and If you haven’t tried one, then your missing out. These things really will do most of the cooking for you. I used ventilation duct tape made of foil and it’s lasted me well over a year without any signs of wear and it’s lighter than regular duct tape.

  3. If you have a Dollar store in your area, you can sometimes get the windshield heat reflectors for a buck! My local Dollar Tree has them every once in a while and I usually grab one or two to use under my hammock in cold weather. However, they work great for making cozies too.

    • six windshield reflectors, four rolls of duct tape and two jars of paste.

      our Virginia buddy went hiking this weekend in northern VA, he mentioned single digits and wearing cotton …oh well

  4. I’m glad to see people making these pot cozies. I believe I invented the cozy back in the late 90s. the silver bubble wrap one finds at the hardware store is far better than windshield protectors at keeping things hot. As another reader said, double tops and bottoms really do increase the pot’s ability to retain heat. I don’t advise poking a hole in the to for a handle. IMHO is lets heat leak out and adds unnecessary weight.

    I use the cozy every time I go backpacking. I also use Ziploc brand pleated bottom heat resistance bags to cook in. At home, I put the freeze dried meal in the bag and write what it is, the serving size, the date packed and how much water is needed on the out side. Using the bag means no clean up and that I can cook tea or coffee water at the same time, saving fuel. When the meal is cooked, I Spoon out enough in a small bowl. The cozy keeps the meal piping hot all the way through dinner.

    Trail Slug

  5. We have enjoyed all of your posting and insights and wisdom. So it is the wisdom we seek in our question, that is : we have been hiking the Benton Mac Kaye Trial, and as we entered section 12, leaving Thunder Rock Campground on the Ocoee River we have entered into Little Frog Wilderness. We have come upon a blaze that is white, vertical rectangle. with a small square on top. We have continued to see this blaze through section 13 and 14 on the Hiwassee River. We thought maybe it was the John Muir Trail. Though as we hiked section 14, after Coker Creek we weren’t to sure. So that is where we find ourselves, we have tried to find the identification of this blaze to no prevail. We were hoping you may know. Any insight or input to how we could find out would be great, We know that this has nothing to do with blog but we thought maybe you might know. Thank you Joe and Sara

    • I don’t know, so I got in contact with the BMTA, here’s the response and hope it helps.

      “If the blazes are on the north side of the Hiwassee, they are probably old blazes for the John Muir Trail. The BMT follows the JMT from Childers Creek to the Unicoi Mountain Trail intersection. The JMT was also relocated along with the BMT for the section east of Towee Creek so they run together.”

  6. Thank you for taking the time to find this information, we really appreciate you and your effort. Joe and I have been ‘yo-yo-ing’ sections of the BMT for little over a year. It was not until we began hiking in the wilderness we saw this blaze, though they were pretty faded, telling us it was an older trail marker. Thanks again, Joe and Sara

  7. I actually use both pot cozy and freezer bag cozy set ups. It really depends on what I’m taking with me and the trip duration.
    Also, for those who like to do some short trips or day trips, having the freezer bag set up gives you an option that totally kicks but!
    Once in a while I do some day walks down by the river. I take a small pack, minimal gear, an EmberLit stove, pan. My food usually will consist of a potato, maybe some fresh veggies, ( and here is where the freezer bag cozy comes in), a Steak!
    Got to remember, not only does it help retain heat, it works on the other side of the spectrum as well.
    It opens up all sorts of possibilities when you intertwine the 2 set ups. Hope this sparks some ideas for ya!

    • Scott, thanks for posting. I too use FBC for my meals, and I have a separate cozy for that. I only use the pot cozy for winter cooking when I want to keep additional water hot for drinks.

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