On extended backpacking, paddling, or snowshoeing trips, don’t overlook the value of packing several small- to medium-sized cotton or canvas drawstring bags in your kit. Such bags have a myriad of backcountry uses. Here are four ways I’ve found them particularly handy and worth not leaving behind.
1. Pots and pans used over an open fire will become sooty and greasy, and can potentially stain clothing and other gear when stashed in a backpack. A cotton sack creates a simple barrier between cookware and the rest of your stuff, and it can be easily rinsed and dried, if necessary.
2. A porous cotton bag can be used to strain noodles and similar pasta dishes.
3. Fill canvas bags with rocks to make dead-man anchors to keep tent guylines in place while tarp or tent camping.
4. A cotton bag soaked in white vinegar will extend the lifespan of hard cheese, minimizing the growth of surface mold.