Collapsible back-country cookware, now that’s an innovation worth looking at. Sea to Summit has been selling their collapsible X-Series ‘crockery’ for a while now, so 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 have long been a worthy solution. There are always questions that you have though. How will it stand up to extreme heat? Is silicone tough enough for repeated back-country outdoors use? Is it really the most compact and lightweight solution? 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… I was certainly a bit dubious about how sturdy this rubbery contraption was going to be. So I did a bit of further digging. Whilst at an outdoor retailer Australia trade-show in Sydney a few years ago, 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 been used for many years, both in domestic & commercial kitchens, so the experimental period and questions of quality have been far passed. 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. There’s more to the designs than this, but essentially, Tim told me, 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! 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 the packed volume. The included lids use a durable translucent plastic, which shortens boil time & allows for finer temperature control & monitoring. 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 litres 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! Going ultralight with the X-Kettle When my travel options were open and endless, I spent three weeks on the South Island of NZ alpine climbing & hiking with all of my Sea to Summit gear. For the first half of the trip I was climbing with two mates, then afterwards I spent a 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. 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 being said I still found it surprisingly quick. Conclusions: After overcoming my initial stages of scepticism, I’m glad to have given the Sea to Summit X Series cookware a chance. It is 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! REVIEW: Sea To Summit X-Series CookwearEase of use90%Size & Packability95%Durability75%Cooking efficiency80%Weight85%Versatility85%PROsCompact, love how these just collapse & nests inside eachother Quite lightweight, no heavier than most lightweight cookwearExtra features like the drainage lid, easy to pur etc make it simple to use. CONsThe pot can be bit unstable when really fullDurablility long-term does concern me, I'm pretty rough with gear!85%Overall ScoreReader Rating: (19 Votes)36% Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.