Burrito Bags How-to
By Jim and Val Hildreth- Werker

We have all heard unpleasant travel tales from old-style burrito wrappin's. Foil is not good; it tears, shreds, rips holes, and the stink sneaks through. It is good to wrap up the mess thoroughly so your trek companions are not forced to view it in the raw ... don't even think about just pooping in a zippie ... the final product should receive a complete wrap job.

Most cavers need to take one burrito roll-up per day, plus one extra for the trip ... even if "daily" doesn't fit your regular schedule. Things can move differently in a cave, in a kayak, or on the trail. This system below proves to be very secure. Prepare by making packets ahead of time. They are light and compact. Keep one handy in the top of your pack for travel comfort.

Turkey basting/baking bag: The medium size roasting bag or large turkey bag is best. It is strong and very light. This is by far the toughest, most durable, odor containing, and leakproof bag we've tried. Look for them on sale at the grocery store.

Three to five cheap paper towels: The less expensive papers have less lint. (Lint irritates). Paper towels are more substantial in the humidity and provide better grip than toilet paper. Extra towels not used in the process will come in handy for nose-blowing and cooking.

Reynolds plastic wrap: Layer squares of plastic wrap between the paper towel so it does not stick together too soon. Two or three paper towels per event is usually adequate. Go with the Reynold's™ Plastic Wrap. Other wraps have failed. The extra cents will secure your burrito and your companions' comfort in travel. Reynolds makes those nice strong colors, too! (Saran Wrap™ is almost okay, but can get too sticky and rips easily.)

Antibacterial wipes: Individually wrapped towlettes in foil packs can be added to burrito roll ups. Check the samples aisle at Wally World. Get a purse pack for a $buck. Wet Ones™ now makes antibacterial wipes that are packaged in a plastic can with a pink or red lid. Nice N Clean™ is our favorite brand, but is hard to find. Handy for a sponge bath, too.

Quart (or pint) size freezer Zip-lock bag: Fold and place a small freezer ziplock on your stack of fresh burrito makin's before rollin' up to take into the cave, in the canoe or kayak, or out on the trail.

Roll 'em up Instructions: Fold and roll all stacked ingredients into a tight packet for carrying. Use one more square of Reynolds Plastic Wrap (NOT FOIL ...You will smell foul!) to hold it all together in a rolled burrito shape. Roll to size for stacking several unused burritos together inside another quart ziplock for easy transport.

Gallon size freezer Zip-locks: Slip at least one of these into the pack of burritos for keeping it all together on the way out. We generally use two more a zippies secured around the entire mess for the trip.

Use 'em up and Move 'em out Instructions:
Explicit details for a secure wrap

  • When the time comes, open the turkey bag or grocery bag and make a bowl shape at your squat spot. The fun begins.
  • After using the antibacterial wipes, spread out and lay over the top of your carry-out prize. This action helps cut the stink.
  • Try to avoid mixing urine with the fecal matter. This combination creates more methane and your baggie will get gassy. Not a good scenario for the carry-out.
  • When done, twist and tie multiple knots in the top of the bakin' bag. Make sure to get the air out.
  • Now gather the Reynold,s™ plastic wrap around the whole thing, place in a small freezer zippy and shape to burrito.
  • Several burritos will stack nicely in a fresh quart zippy freezer bag.
  • § At the end of trip, wrap the stack in several more zippies for a compact, secure trek. Some like to use a small waterproof dry bag for the carry-out. Place in a well-padded position inside your pack.

When you get home, wrap with several more opaque plastic bags and properly discard. What is proper? Do not leave them in the house or truck. Do not flush. Do not drop down porta-potties. Do not put in open trash cans. Find a trash receptacle that will soon be emptied and carried off. If on public lands where this is common practice, ask about current get-rid-of-'em protocol.

revised 12/97, 2/98, 11/99, 10/00, 07/02