Collapsible back-country cookware, now that’s an innovation worth looking at. Sea to Summit have been selling their collapsible X-Series ‘crockery’ for a while now, many will be familiar with the flat-pack X-Bowl, X-Mug, X-Plate & even the X-Shot. For people looking to minimise the size & bulk of their camp-kitchen, these long been a worthy solution.

When Sea to Summit announced that they had designed a cook-pot using the same collapsible design, I must say the gear nerd in me got excited. Of course I was a sceptic at first, like many others I’m sure. How will it stand up to extreme heat? Is silicone tough enough for repeated back-country outdoors use? Anyway fast forward a few months & I had a shiny new X-Pot 2.8L in my hands ready to test in the wild. (I actually got the the X-Set 31, which comes with two X-Mugs & 2 X-Bowls).

But it really does look flimsy…

So I  certainly was bit dubious about how sturdy this rubbery contraption was going to be. So I did a bit of further digging. Whilst at the Outdoor retailer Australia trade-show in Sydney last year, I was fortunate enough to have a chat to ‘Little Tim’ (Company founder Tim Macartney Snape is apparently big Tim in this scenario). Tim was one of the designers who took the existing X-Series technology & turned it into something more. He was able to answer a few of the questions I had about the products. Firstly, like most people I was sceptical about the durability of the flexible silicone construction. He pointed out that silicone cookware has used for many years. both in domestic & commercial kitchens, so why not your camp kitchen? The other obvious point of concern for me, was the strength & durability of the bond between the alloy base of the pots & the silicone sidewalls. Of course there’s more to the designs this, but essentially its a combination of a physical bond (the two materials ‘link into each-other’) & a chemical bond (a really robust & heat resistant glue). This satisfied my initial concerns, but I was of course keen to test it for myself!

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Tech specs:

For those who want to know more about the design & features of the X-Series Cook wear here’s some info.

The X-Series are all constructed from flexible food-grade, heat resistant silicone. All of the pieces are also calibrated as measuring cups, with measurements imprinted on the inside (very useful!). The cooking surface, or base of the cookware is made from 6063-T6 hard anodized aluminium. The products all collapse and nestle inside each other, even further minimising on the packed volume. The included lids use a durable translucent plastic, which shortens boil time & allows for finer temperature control & monitoring.

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Cooking with the X factor

I’ve used the 2.8L X-Pot now a bunch of times, mostly on camping or hiking trips where carrying the gear wasn’t necessary, but also on some overnight hikes. The 2.8L size is great for group cooking, but not completely overkill for two people. Having a big pot that takes up so little room in my pack is really great. For those looking to boil several liters of water fast, the 2.8L X-pot isn’t the best option. But for cooking group meals & lesser volumes of water, no worries. (There is also a 1.4L X-Pot available)

The design is well thought out, with some really simple but useful features like the drainage holes in the lid. Being flexible silicone, the pot was a bit unstable with a full load of water, but it just needs to be carefully placed on the stove & picked up with two hands. By and large it’s a pleasure to cook with & even more of a pleasure to pack away!

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Going ultralight with the the X-Kettle

Recently I spent 3 weeks on the South Island of NZ alpine climbing & hiking. For the first half of the trip I was climbing with two mates, then afterwards I spent week hiking solo. I needed a very lightweight minimalist set-up, just for boiling water to re-hydrate food & make tea/coffee. The X-Kettle seemed like a great & lighter solution, so I left my usual high powered canister stove set-up behind (Jetboil) & packed the following:

STS X Kettle 1.3L, STS Delta bowl, STS Delta Insulated Mug & a tiny canister stove, The kettle nestled in the bowl well, & my stove fitted inside the mug, so pack size was pretty small once again.

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I used this set-up throughout the NZ trip, from windy cold bivvies, to inside my tent when the sand-flies were trying to eat me alive. I also cooked using the kettle whilst staying in back-country huts, at times boiling water by placing the kettle on top of the coal-burning stove. Beyond using it solo as a lightweight option, the X Kettle is perfect to add to your existing camp kitchen cookware set-up. It’s super lightweight & heralds a day that you will no longer suffer the misery of finding chucks of last nights freeze dried curry floating around in your morning coffee. The recommended ‘safe boiling capacity’ is 1L, Which is plenty to prepare both dinner & a hot drink from a single boil. The boil time is of course slower than some integrated, flux-ring equipped pot/stove set-ups, but with that said I still found it surprisingly quick.

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Conculsions:

After overcoming my initial stages of skepticism, I’m glad to have given the Sea to Summit X Series cookware a chance. It has now firmly integrated into my outdoor cooking set-ups & will continue to be my first choice for many applications for countless trips to come. Sure, it’s not suited to extreme cold weather/high altitude snow melting or rapid boiling bulk amounts of water as an example, but that doesn’t happen very often in my adventures anyway. Durability is still my primary concern, but so far even with my fairly rough treatment, the X -Series vessels are going strong!

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REVIEW: SEA TO SUMMIT X-SERIES COOKWEAR
Ease of use90%
Size & Packability95%
Durability75%
Cooking efficiency80%
Weight85%
Versatility85%
PROs
  • Compact, love how these just collapse & nests inside eachother
  • Quite lightweight, no heavier than most lightweight cookwear
  • Extra features like the drainage lid, easy to pur etc make it simple to use.
CONs
  • The pot can be bit unstable when really full
  • Durablility long-term does concern me, I'm pretty rough with gear!
85%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)
62%

About The Author

Lachlan Gardiner

Lachlan works as a freelance photographer, writer and videographer. He loves spending time in the outdoors whenever possible - be it hiking, mountaineering, climbing, or just being on the road - He'll take any excuse to get into the mountains! He also works in our Paddy Pallin store in Fortitude valley, Brisbane. Drop in and say hi!

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