We all have that one friend who constantly updates their LighterPack, follows Ultralight Jerk on Instagram, and cares more about how light and small their pack is than they do about their physical health. If you don't have a friend like this then chances are you should look in a mirror, because you are this friend, and chances are you cold soak your food every night while you are out backpacking too. If you’re me, then GGG is having you do it while you’re at home in the middle of winter, which makes it even crazier because for the past 3 days I haven't had a hot meal while preparing for this review.
What is cold soaking?
For those of you who aren't insane and enjoy a warm meal at the end of a long day of backpacking, I’ll fill you in. Cold soaking is just what it sounds like; taking normal backpacking foods that usually require hot water to enjoy, placing them in a container such as a peanut butter jar, or a Cnoc Cold Soak Bag, with water and letting the food rehydrate over many hours. If cold mush and having the smallest and lightest pack you can, still sounds intriguing then this is the product for you!
The Cold Soak is a 1L bladder with a slide lock closure that weighs in at a mere 1.9 ounces. Just like CNOC Outdoors revolutionary Vecto water bladder, this bag uses robust TPU and a slider making it built for heavy use. This bag is big enough for two meals so you can share it with a partner. It also packs down to the size of a rolled up sheet of paper, beating even the smallest traditional cold soaking containers by miles.
Capacity: 1 liter / 34 oz
Packed size: 7x1.5x1.5 in / 17.5x3.75x3.75 cm
Trail size: 8x7 in / 20.5x17.5 cm
Weight: 54 g / 1.9 oz
Operational temperatures: 20°F (-6°C) to 120°F (49°C)
Durable — despite the soft material, the bag has a breaking point of 220 lbs
FDA approved and BPA, BPS, and BPF free
Things I Like:
Small and Light - As they say, “Every Ounce Counts” and that is probably why you are looking into cold soaking. Well, this item rolls up uber small and slides in the side pockets on my pack with my bottles and spoon taking hardly any space. This is much smaller and lighter than a traditional stove, fuel canister, and pot: the bag weighs less than the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 alone by 20 grams. Most hikers who cold soaker use peanut butter or Talenti jars to rehydrate their meals, but when the jars are not in use, they are rigid and bulky, taking up precious space in a small pack. The Cold Soak bag rolls up for easy storage and weighs the same!
Leak Proof - With the slide lock closure this bag is water tight, which means you don’t have to worry about your food leaking all over you pack when hiking to your campsite for the night. Few things are worse than not screwing the lid of you cold soak container on all the way causing your yummy smelling dinner juices to seep into your backpack, putting up a billboard for all the critters to come nibble on a tasty buffet that is your food bag. But, don't worry! With this slide lock closure, that won't happen to you and that peace of mind will allow you to eat and sleep well every night.
Multiuse - The best ultralight gear has more than 3 uses and this bag doesn’t disappoint. Since it is a watertight 1L bag, it can be used for phone storage during wet days or river crossings, as an extra water bladder for desert sections, or a snack pouch for loose granola or candy. Anything that needs to be kept dry can find shelter in this water-tight Cold Soak bag.
Cleaning - The bag can be rinsed out while on trail and easily turned inside out for a deeper clean while in town, which I’d love to see you try with a jar.
Things to Note:
Getting the Last Bite - While it is convenient that the bag can fold up after use, it is hard to scrape the last bites since the bag moves. To overcome this, I found it helpful to place it on a surface, like a table or the floor of a tent, to give me something to push against, keeping the bag in place.
Holding the Bag Open - While the slide lock closure is reliable, its stiff structure requires one hand to pinch the top to keep it open while eating. To overcome this the top can be folded down keeping itself open and resting on your hand. This also helps to not get your hand dirty even with a long handled spoon.
Requires a long-handled spoon - While the bag has a large capacity, a long-handled spoon is a necessity when eating out of it so that you can reach the food without getting your hands covered.
Stains - While the material is strong with a breaking point of 220 lbs, it does stain and hold on to smells. After my first meal in the bag, it was stained yellow and held onto a small amount of odor from the meal. I recommend rinsing thoroughly and airing out after every meal, especially if you plan on cold soaking sweet breakfasts and savory dinners in the same bag, so that the flavors don’t mix. The color does not affect the product’s use, only the aesthetic so not a big deal for me.
The Cold Soak by CNOC Outdoors is for the backpacker ready to lighten their pack by ditching the stove and instead rehydrating on the go. The bag weighs less than 2 ounces and takes up hardly any space in your backpack. If you already cold soak or want to give it a try, this affordable bag will help you enjoy it even more.