BWCA DIY Blue Barrel and Harness Boundary Waters Gear Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* BWCA is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      DIY Blue Barrel and Harness     
 Forum Sponsor



member (17)member
02/23/2023 06:39PM  
Generally, it seems that the largest barrel the folks canoe camp with is the 60l/15 gallon barrel.

I am wondering if anyone has ever considered a 113l/30 gallon barrel and essentially spray foaming the inside of it and putting a smaller 60l/15 gallon bucket-shaped object in it. Would carrying a barrel this large with the weight further behind the portager (sp?) not be worth the thermal improvements made by utilizing a extra large barrel?

Any good videos or discussions on homemade harness making?

Still winter so this sort of project seems fun.


      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
distinguished member(707)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/23/2023 07:28PM  
You could construct a DIY system from scratch or you may consider purchasing shoulder and waist straps like this or this and attaching them to the barrel.
member (17)member
02/23/2023 08:34PM  
Good insights, thank you Tomcat,

I have a couple 20+ year old internal backpacks that I was thinking of sacrificing for the frames, straps, and hardware.

The reason I am looking at the 60l blue barrel is because I can purchase one for $25.

As I thought of my original question more, I looked up the weight of the 30 gallon blue barrel and it came out to be 15 lbs. I'm thinking the 15 runs 7-8 lbs.

I also suspect that the 30 gallon is barrel is larger in person and a bit unrealistic.

So, next question, if you were gonna insulate the bottom of a blue barrel, what materials should I without a doubt consider using?

02/24/2023 11:00AM  
If insulation of your food barrel is important to you, can I assume you are glamping at some basecamp site?

From the point of view of carrying this thing, my opinion is that any setup that moves the center of gravity of the pack farther away from your back makes life that much less pleasant when portaging.
member (17)member
02/25/2023 06:56AM  
Glamping - I wasn't thinking I would be glamping, but maybe I am. I will try to communicate further.

DIY Blue Barrel and Harness - seems like a pretty cheap way to make a food pack with a $25 barrel that is airtight and watertight. And, I have a couple old backpacking packs laying around. I enjoy making my own gear. I priced out a poly lined food pack it seems that they are in the $300 range.

CCS Food Pack
HREF="" TARGET="_blank">BWJ Food Pack

I'm pretty sure my initial idea about a 30 gallon blue barrel is too heavy.

So, I'm thinking the 60l, 15 gallon is what folks have used in the past. When thinking about insulation, I wasn't thinking of adding much weight, but simply having a chamber in the lower part of the barrel to hold temp of items that you wanted to keep maybe a day or two into the trip. Example: frozen meat.

This following link is a video of someone who added neoprene and reflective foil to his barrel. My question would be this: does neoprene have good insulating qualities? Is reflective foil/padding also worth it (no idea of cost or where to buy)?

DIY Blue Barrel Mod - YouTube

distinguished member(704)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/25/2023 07:48AM  
Interesting project/experiment. You might want to look at Ensolite closed cell foam, the stuff the old blue foam sleeping pads are made of. Reflective foil bubble wrap can be found at Home Depot or the like. Available in various widths and lengths, has other uses around the house.
02/25/2023 08:04AM  
Recreational Barrel Works offers a cooler that fits inside both 30L and 60L barrels for what I would consider a reasonable price.
distinguished member(2058)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/25/2023 01:13PM  
I thought that a 30 liter barrel was large and hard to lug around, I never considered the 60 liter version. A 113 liter barrel... wow! The insulation seems like a lot of wasted space. Reflectix is one brand of the foil backed insulating material, it weighs next to nothing. It's better for heat than cold however. I would suggest wrapping your frozen food in several layers of newspaper then placing it inside of a soft-sided cooler. The trick is to allow it to thaw at a controlled rate and stay cold until you want to consume it. You want it cold when it comes time to use it but not frozen. Because I usually have at least 4-10 portages until I get to my first campsite I opt for freeze dried food. I eat steak, pork chops, chicken, fresh vegetables, fruit, etc. every day at home so I enjoy freeze dried food in the wilderness. It's a fraction of the weight, creates less garbage and odor, and makes clean-up a breeze. It also takes less much less fuel and effort.
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next