Reuseable food bags designs as per Nessmuk etc - to carry flour, rice, and other powders

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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,249
74
Birmingham
Just a quick one really. Does anyone have a design or ideas for ditty bags to carry flour, rice, and other powders?
Obviously people like Nessmuk and soldiers through the ages carried flour etc and they would have used the available materials so what did they carry them in.
I can sort of see tins being used however they had flour sacks the only thing is I have seen modern versions due to people looking for sustainable options. The thing is they do not seem to be good at stopping the powder coming out.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,249
74
Birmingham
Was it in `scouting for boys`? they used drawstring bags.

I imagine the tops were doubled over
Mentioned in yarn 9 -
"The ration bag need not be bigger than 6 inches deep by 3 inches wide, and should have a tape run through the hem of the neck with which to draw it tight."
These just seem like they would leak.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,249
74
Birmingham
They do seem to be a single draw string which I would have thought twin draw strings would make sense so you could knot them.
They also fold over so the tie channel is on the outside which is interesting.
 

Oliver G

Full Member
Sep 15, 2012
301
190
Melbourne, Derbyshire
I've got a few of these:-


They're great little bags, they don't leak and hold plenty, the only thing you may have to do is re-stitch on a longer tape as these are a bit fiddly.

I currently use one for food and one for rubbish though I think I'll have to start using different colour tapes, there's nothing worse than diving into a bag for a hobnob and coming out with an old tea bag.

Many moons ago I tried making a ration bag out of an old tea towel and beeswax, it worked well as a single layer wrap but when used as a bag it would tend to seal itself in the summer, though that was probably an issue with the wax and no additives to prevent it re-melting.
 
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SCOMAN

Full Member
Dec 31, 2005
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Perthshire
I remember watching RM on one of his expeds had is kit in nice leather bags but the actual food was in plastic ziplock bags.
 
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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,249
74
Birmingham
I remember watching RM on one of his expeds had is kit in nice leather bags but the actual food was in plastic ziplock bags.
I have either seen that from him or Paul Kirtley. I was thinking about making the bags to fit ziplock food bags. Sort of defeats the purpose howevr would be light.
I was directed to a ww2 ration pack by google and there were a lot of boxes and tins. With a ration bag for bread items.
 

Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,249
74
Birmingham
Many moons ago I tried making a ration bag out of an old tea towel and beeswax, it worked well as a single layer wrap but when used as a bag it would tend to seal itself in the summer, though that was probably an issue with the wax and no additives to prevent it re-melting.
I have seen a make your own version of the beeswax wraps and they add something to the wraps. Will try and find and post it.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,003
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McBride, BC
I had a stash of single use, 500 ml water bottles. Used them up during our last "Do Not Consume" water order. Saved them , let them dry out. Sugar, flours, quinoa, rice, coffee, tea, spaghetti, even a great variety of tasty drinks. Obviously water tight caps. Hardly more plastic in one of those flimsy bottles than any plastic bag.
 
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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,249
74
Birmingham
Silicone reusable food bags are the modern equivalent but don’t look very authentic.
Weirdly I am trying to get the Bushcraft solution to something. I am trying to work out how our ancestors solved a problem. Obviously unless they just lived with a layer of flour and other powders dusting everywhere there must have been a way to make a flour bag that did not leak.

I had a stash of single use, 500 ml water bottles. Used them up during our last "Do Not Consume" water order. Saved them , let them dry out. Sugar, flours, quinoa, rice, coffee, tea, spaghetti, even a great variety of tasty drinks. Obviously water tight caps. Hardly more plastic in one of those flimsy bottles than any plastic bag.
I think the recycle approach is a good one however please be aware of the almost complete lack of knowledge of the effects of the chemicals that leak from disposable plastic containers. As far as we know at the moment certain plastics are safe(-ish) however you really do not want to put hot liquids in them.
At the moment I am liking the idea of a protecting bag and then a zip-lock bag inside it.
Watch Dark Waters (2019 film), it is kind of terrifying and the fact that the punchline is that everyone on the planets has these chemicals in them and we have no idea the effect of low doses to this day.
 

Oliver G

Full Member
Sep 15, 2012
301
190
Melbourne, Derbyshire
It looks like historically they've always used textile bags, this one looks like it just ties up.


I reckon any canvas bag after the top has been rolled down would work, you could always wax the canvas to make it waterproof. The trick would be not to over fill it, same as any other roll down dry bag.

There is a good display in one of the cotton museums in Manchester about storing and transporting goods in canvas bags, they found out people were making clothes out of the bags so decided to print patterns on them. (The bags that is, not the people)
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Your Hudson's Bay Company expected the fur trading posts in Canada to keep meticulous records of business. Each post has an annual quota of pemmican to make. This was meant to sustain the fur trading travelers, not as post food. There was never any fruit added to the dried meat/fat mix. The fruit sugars promoted molding and spoilage.
Rocky Mountain House is documented to have made 44,000 lbs pemmican in 9 (nine) days. This was packaged in 60 or 90 lb bison leather hide bags.

A "burgoo" was made each night, boiled with root vegetables.

Seems probable that leather hide bags and pouches for storage would have predated any cotton or cloth or woven materials.
 

nigelp

Full Member
If you have a sewing machine you could try making a single or double cotton bag using and old sheet or pillow case. A fine thread count pillow case or sheet should keep even flour dust inside? If you wanted to avoid plastic useage then a paper bag inside might work quite well?
An outer bag made from canvas or waxed cotton could be worth exploring.
 
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Minotaur

Native
Apr 27, 2005
1,249
74
Birmingham
It looks like historically they've always used textile bags, this one looks like it just ties up.
Yes however they then stuck them in jars by the sound of it.

I reckon any canvas bag after the top has been rolled down would work, you could always wax the canvas to make it waterproof. The trick would be not to over fill it, same as any other roll down dry bag.
If you have a sewing machine you could try making a single or double cotton bag using and old sheet or pillow case. A fine thread count pillow case or sheet should keep even flour dust inside? If you wanted to avoid plastic useage then a paper bag inside might work quite well?
An outer bag made from canvas or waxed cotton could be worth exploring.
Yeah I do wonder about some sort of design of 2 bags. The outer one waxed on the inside and the inner one so it can be washed. Maybe some sort of tie down so you could roll the top down and tie it.

Your Hudson's Bay Company expected the fur trading posts in Canada to keep meticulous records of business. Each post has an annual quota of pemmican to make. This was meant to sustain the fur trading travelers, not as post food. There was never any fruit added to the dried meat/fat mix. The fruit sugars promoted molding and spoilage.
Rocky Mountain House is documented to have made 44,000 lbs pemmican in 9 (nine) days. This was packaged in 60 or 90 lb bison leather hide bags.
A "burgoo" was made each night, boiled with root vegetables.
Seems probable that leather hide bags and pouches for storage would have predated any cotton or cloth or woven materials.
Seen some stuff about pemmican and really wonder what it tastes like? I bet there was something between the food and the leather. Not sure brain tan and food would be a good mix.

There is a good display in one of the cotton museums in Manchester about storing and transporting goods in canvas bags, they found out people were making clothes out of the bags so decided to print patterns on them. (The bags that is, not the people)
There is a style of dress in the US called a flour sack dress and I believe you can still get the fabric in the patterns.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,003
1,872
McBride, BC
In the classical sense, pemmican is made of just 2 things: dried and pounded bison meat and rendered bison fat, of which the backstrap fat is the best on the animal. I have eaten 6-7 bison over the past 20 years so I am familiar with the tastes.
Pemmican I do not like at all. It has got to be heated, as I describe for a burgoo, for me to find it edible. Cold, it does not even have the appeal of a badly made salami sausage.
Maybe throw it away and eat the bison hide bag?
 

tombear

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 9, 2004
4,164
245
51
Rossendale, Lancashire
Yup, something closely woven ( high thread count as mentioned above ) 'with good tight seams ( my favourite bags have french seams and were deliberately shrunk to pull everything tighter Still ) and made long so you can roll the top down like a dry bag and with some way of joining the ends together to make a grab handle and stop it unrolling, be it with a couple of thongs, a buckle and stap, what ever.

I've made biggish bags from a cut off trouser leg, from some linen trousers the lads refused to wear that i 'd saved to make char cloth. I cut off the leg, double seamed the raw end, turned it right side out and added a couple of bits of string to tie it closed. OK with a roll top you have the extra weight of the material used in the seal part but its not much really.

With a long bag you could just twist the empty end and tie it in a knot. Back in the Great War suger, tea, rice etc was carried in sand bags with the tail ended knotted, mind I don't think they were overly worried by spillage.

ATB

Tom
 

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