I just got a nice packbasket from a friend. wrote a review of it here. my packbasket is designed for mushroom hunting, but they've traditionally been used for hunting, trapping, and fishing, too.
got me thinking: what else do folks use for these things? if you do a lot of wild harvesting, what do you collect into? if you fish where you've got to hike in, what do you carry your fish in? if you hunt or trap, what do you carry your quarry in?
I've ended up using my basket in place of a backpack for mundane daily trips, but I'm sure it's going to work really well for foraging purposes later in the year.
I have been informed by my expert local mushroom gurus that plastic bags are absolutely the wrong thing to put mushrooms in. Too prone to mold. They use wax bags, or just wrap them up in wax paper.
i find that a refrigerator bag with plastic bottles filled with ice suits me best.
its the most convenient version of a cooler because its lightweight and flexible, holds temp for a while.
anyway, inside this refrigerator bag i put Tupperware and put about a finger depth of water into it.
i dont really forage for mushrooms. wish i did. havent found anyone to teach me. i forage for greens and roots, etc. roots go outside the tupperware, leaves such are put in the tupperware.
My wife uses an African forage basket from a friend that was a missionary--big shallow round basket that will hold a LOT of garden produce. The kids get to use old chipped enameled pans, similar shape but not priceless. I am on the search for the perfect forage bag--something small and light enough to stuff in a pocket until needed then pull out and use like a shoulder/messenger bag. It needs to be able to hold 20 lbs of stuff, as I often end up with the heavy forage--apples, pumpkins, watermelon, etc. Yes, we have "wild" watermelon in our food forest
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I picked up a Rubbermaid trash can that fits inside my backpack. Don't have to worry about dirt, moisture and debris filling my pack. I am currently working on a Tumpline and wanigan to use in the future. Spent too many years in uncle SAMs service lugging around Alice packs that are nowhere as comfortable and are much more tiring. With a tumpline, the body can carry much larger and heavier loads with greater ease.
When harvesting wild greens I take the basket from my salad spinner and put a wrung-out wet dish cloth in to put on top. It fits nicely in a basket, now you've got me thinking of how a back pack might be more comfortable.
I keep a combination of plastic and paper grocery bags along with a 5 gallon bucket in my truck. It really depends on what I'm harvesting &/or how long will take me to put it in refrigeration (if needed). With mushrooms I generally use paper or plastic bags. I know, it's not perfect. However, I generally get them into a cooler within an hour or so from harvesting.
Just a few months ago I harvested a bunch of oyster mushrooms I found while hunting. I was glad I had those plastic grocery bags with me and I didn't notice any problems from it but it was cold and raining that day. So on point for the bags is that they're very portable and handy. Also, oysters might hold up better to that treatment...I really don't know. However, If I were trying to harvest a bunch of chanterelle's at one time I think I might have to invest in a basket.
Those plastic mesh bags that generally have onions & lemons in them from larger grocery stores are really nice, no issue with excessive moisture, durable, and they let the mushrooms spores move freely.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates
I've tried lots of different bags...right now I'm using a wicker fishing creel as a picking basket. I bought a real one from LL Bean that is actually meant for real use so is sturdy and has nice leather straps. It's pretty large so I can fit quite a few mushrooms in it.
I live in SE Alaska and do a lot of foraging in the woods around here. Terrain is pretty rough, lots of downed trees in various stages of decay to scramble over, mossy floor often hiding ankle turning holes, patches of thick understory, wet, wet, wet so plenty of mucky areas, small streams to wade, rivulets to jump over, etc.
Good news is plenty of mushroom and berries. Bad news not always easy to get to.
I like to have my hands free when I'm making my way through all this. Plus when I do find the mushrooms it's nice to have my hands free for a cleaning brush or knife to trim up the stems. Species I'm collecting are often scattered so I'm picking one or two here, another one over there, walking a bit find one more, scramble into a blowdown to get to a nice patch, etc. This means it's nice to have something a I just drop a mushroom or two into and keep moving without having to constantly open and close a pack or swing it off my back. A traditional basket or bucket over the arm works sometimes but can often get in the way, caught up on bush, or ends up collecting large amounts of leaves, needle, twigs, and such as I'm scrambling around.
For ease of access and keeping my hands free I like to have a bag attached to my hip. I tried different style messenger bags but didn't fall in love with any. Soft construction style often meant the bag wouldn't stay open or squished the shrooms.
The fishing creel is nice in that it's wicker so doesn't smash. Being wet and rained on doesn't affect it (important around here), it lets the mushrooms breath, drip off, and drop spores as I'm collecting. I usually do have a few paper bags with me and I might use them to keep a mushroom separate (if I'm unsure of ID or don't want a fragile specimen to get broken). On longer trips I usually also carry a backpack for water, snacks, and supplies. If I find the motherload or a really huge bolete the overflow goes in paper bags in the backpack.
If I was hiking long distances, say to a remote burn site where I going to pick a large volume of say morels, and then have to pack them out I think I'd go with cloth or mesh bags in hand and when they're filled packed into a packbasket for the hike out. In easier areas with nice trails, open understory, or not traveling much distance I'd probably sling a wicker basket or small bucket over my arm.