Ziplocks. Specifically: blue quart size freezer bags with the "yellow and blue make green seal"- my favorite. Nalgene containers: 4 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz- love them.
I don't know when it happened, but I somehow developed this neurosis for plastic containers. I am definitely a member of 'The Society of People who put Bags inside of Bags inside of Bags'. If you've never backpacked, or bicycled toured, or done any number of other outdoor pursuits, then perhaps you've never heard of it. This term was first coined in my mind by Daniel 'the Cormorant', a thru-hiker I met while on the Continental Divide Trail in 2000. It cracked me up, and yet was utterly perfect. Let's say I buy a box of noodles. I can't carry a box into the woods- for one, it weighs more, it also takes up more space, and then I have to carry the box around for days, until I find a trash. So, i put the noodles in a ziplock bag and throw the box away before i leave town. Now, they are smaller, weigh less, and i can still reuse the ziplock. Brilliant. Then, the ziplock of noodles goes in the food bag which goes in the BOB trailer bag! Bag in a bag in a bag. It gets kind of ridiculous.
Being in Central Asia is not helping my condition, it is only strengthening the container demon because... there are no ziplocks! Worse yet, there are no plastic containers with resealable lids! Now, i get to add hoarding to the neurosis. There are drinks and sodas with lids that are resealable, but somehow this technology has not transferred to wide mouth plastic containers. This is a problem for people who care about weight, size, breakability, and compactibility when empty. Think about honey and butter; two things I love, but which do not travel well in a bag.
Now, as I bike along, past the honey sellers on the road, i stare intently on their wares and try to see what their containers look like. Have they figured it out? I thought maybe the Kazakhs would be more advanced than the Kyrgyz and would possess this new age technology. Maybe the Russians have it dialed? The jury is still out.
Enter the nalgene container with a wide mouth screw top lid. Perfect. This has become one of my essential travel items. Forget about the whistle as one of the Top 10 necessary pieces of survival gear. The nalgene functions as smash-proof water-tight storage, a bowl, re-hydrator, cutting board, and measuring cup. I don't know what I would do without it. I had to buy one for Tyler before we left, as he was not yet a believer.
So, next time you close your jar of peanut butter, do so with a little gratitude, and thank god you live in such a great country, that not only has peanut butter, but has such an array of plastic containers.