How and Why to make a Pot Cosy for your cooking system

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When cooking over a camping stove, the best way to save fuel and make it last much longer is to use a Pot Cosy. The modern term for a Hay Box and although the materials have changed, the principle is still the same. Simply place your hot cooking pot full of warm food, into the Pot Cosy, seal it and let the retained heat do all the simmering for you.

In this video I perform a simple experiment and show over an hour, exactly how much heat can be retained in this way. It was conducted on a chilly Spring day, however the final result is even more impressive during Winter.

I’ve been using this system for some time and I’m still amazed how many outdoors people are unaware of the practicalities. Whether you cook over gas, meths, alcohol stoves, wood stoves, solid fuel tablets or candles this item adds very little to the bulk of your pack, weighs a few grams at most and will keep your food cooking while you prepare your camp.

Listen to our Audio Podcasts No 336 and 337, where I cook up a three course full Christmas meal using one stove and a couple of cosy systems in a small tent during a December storm. Sure it took some juggling with the timing but the pleasures of the meal soon meant any stress was long forgotten.

You can make a Cosy out of most materials. An old sleeping mat, a few sheets of polystyrene even an old fleece blanket. However the modern foil encased bubble wrap is second to none, offering superior equivalent insulation properties.


  1. Ian

    Bob – I like the pot cosy video. I’ve made a cosy myself, also double, but a slightly different design. I think that you have missed a trick in that, because the pot is so well insulated by the cosy, it’s not necessary to have the handles sticking out – the outside is cool enough to hold directly. This means that the cosy can completely surround the pan, insulating it even better. I’m not sure that it would show much difference on the thermometer test, but I feel better for the fact the pot is completely insulated.
    I’ve also experimented with a cosy made from a Karrimat-type material and I’ve just bought a small sheet of neoprene to try, but that’s rather heavier than I was expecting.
    Thanks, too, for the cone windshield idea – I’ll try that too.

    PS. On the website, might it be possible to tweak the ordering system so that I could put, say, cosy material in my “basket” and then come back a few days later and add more items till I’ve got a worthwhile order? Like Amazon does.


  2. David Blackwood

    Hi have seen similar items made from karrimat. Can you advise where you source the bubble wrap as it appears in big rolls on the web?



  3. David

    Ha, 10 minutes my a**e 😉
    OK so I ended up using aluminium tape instead of gaffa tape, but probably more curly when it’s backing paper removed.
    And sealing around the bottom was fiddly.
    I’d say a good half hour if you haven’t made one before. Which if you are reading this you probably haven’t.
    Off to Dartmoor on Friday afternoon to try it out with my Honey Stove and a Hot UK Deals Argos special two man tent !


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