The Story of Discovering Wilderness

This is your adventure headquarters! Discovering Wilderness is for starting place for anyone seeking to get outside and explore. From first-timers to seasoned adventurers, we (DJ and Jessica Johnson) are here to inspire, encourage and equip anyone interested in discovering wilderness! It is our goal to support you and encourage you in your adventures anywhere on this beautiful planet. This site and our social media channels showcase our own adventures, hand-made cozies and resources for outstanding adventures. The last phrase of our wedding vows was “Let the adventures begin!” Discovering Wilderness is your peak into some of the many ways we are living out this commitment to each other. Enjoy and welcome!

How The Cozy Business Got Started

Well, see, there was a woman who liked to eat real food and not starve on the trail. She also wanted to give her breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, and dinner a chance to rehydrate to the best of its capabilities. Her name is Sarah Kirkconnell and is a Washington State native, cookbook author, and blogger that spends a lot of time either in the woods or kitchen. She designed and sewed the cozy since the mid 2000’s and Dani Hendrickson took over sewing in 2012, when Sarah’s life went from full to bursting. On the left is a picture of Sarah showing off the original cozy prototype (with 3 layers) from 2006! Dani officially took over the entire cozy side of the business and used it until 2018 as the the cornerstone for Valhalla Outdoors.

Now it belongs to me (Jessica Johnson) with the support of my husband DJ, also an avid lover of the great outdoors. In the spring of 2018 DJ saw Dani’s update (because he’d been following her on social media) about being accepted to the Huxley College of the Environment. This exciting opportunity would leave her little time to continue the cozy business so she was looking for a lady interested in continuing this small business.

I am a huge fan of all things outdoors. I grew up camping with my family and friends. I just love being outside anywhere…forests, desserts, mountains, lakes, rivers, streams…I love them all. I especially love hiking and camping. The combination of those two (aka backpacking) gives me a special freedom to explore and keep life simple. I am a pioneer, creator and feeder at heart so when DJ let me know about the opportunity to start sewing and selling cozies I jumped at the opportunity to learn more from Dani.

After a few conversations with Dani, a bit of strategizing with DJ and my own time in prayer, I accepted Dani’s gracious offer to continue the cozy business she and Sarah started more than a decade ago! In September 2018 Dani gifted me her leftover materials and taught me her tricks for making a solid product. Sarah and Dani, thank you for entrusting your fantastic business idea and cozy community to me! Cozies continue to be sewn in the fantastic Pacific Northwest in southwestern Washington State.

Read Sarah’s Cozy Story.

What Do I Do With My Cozy?

Cozies were designed to be used in conjunction with freezer bags. Simply put a quart freezer bag with your meal of choice inside the cozy. Add your water to the bag and stir well. Then seal the bag tightly and close the cozy. Lean the cozy so it is upright and let it sit to rehydrate. The cozy is ultra-light, packable, and crushable in your pack. They will deliver hot meals even in the coldest months.

The cozies work for quart and pint freezer bags as well as smaller commercial freeze dried meals such as PackitGourmet, Mountain House Pro-Paks and Mary Janes meals. These cozies hold quite a bit!

If your cozy is in need of cleaning, hand wash and air dry. Use an iron on low steam setting to remove wrinkles.

Can’t I Just Use My Hat?

The disadvantage of using your hat as a cozy is:

1) You can’t wear it and use it as a cozy at the same time.

2) Food splatters and food smells. Do you really want to chance mice, or something larger, trying to nibble on your hat with your head in it?  I tend to cook away from my sleeping area for this reason and am careful not to wipe my hands on my clothes when preparing food. The likelihood of me using a piece of clothing as a freezer bag holder is nil.

3) Hats aren’t reflective, unless it’s like the tinfoil one your neighbor wears.  The reflective Mylar in the cozy is made to reflect heat or cool to best work with your food temperature.

Wait! Tell Me More!

Constructed of washable and breathable fabric, it retains both heat and cold, depending on what you have in the cozy. The outer fabric is 100% cotton and the liner fabric is a Washington State, USA made poly/Mylar needle punched insulating fabric .

Cozies are 8″ wide and 8 1/2″ long. Weight is on average is 1.1 to 1.4 ounces, depending on outer fabrics weight/thickness. Dimensions and weight are approximate, as these are hand crafted items, sewn one at a time. When you buy a cozy, you are supporting a small, made in the USA, cottage industry business. So, thank you!