Whenever I need a good laugh, I think back on the camp meals I used to prepare on a single burner stove at night, stationed at a picnic table, or huddled around the stove inside the tent on a rainy night. Simplicity was my ethos. The less the better when you’re camping, right? It’s funny how my perspective on simplicity has evolved since then.
My simple meals might have been a can of greasy Dinty Moore stew or canned chili slopped into an old kitchen pot. Then, my friend showed me Frito pie, and we kicked our chili recipe up a notch with shreds of yellow cheddar and crunchy Fritos blanketing the top, with a tortilla to dip and scoop. We often camped before a weekend of enduro racing, since lodging in mountain towns is prohibitively expensive. But, take a night of sleeping on the ground, with someone’s crying baby in the distance, and a belly full of canned food, and for some reason I never felt like I was at my peak the next day.
Ten years later, I recoil at most canned foods, whether it’s in the kitchen or out in the middle of nowhere. A good meal before sleeping in the woods makes for better sleep and less unplanned bathroom breaks.
When it comes to proper cookware, an innovative design minimizes the need for packing other cooking tools, and lightweight design makes it easy to take any adventure. For that reason, the Sea to Summit X-Pot has been my go-to this past summer.
Sea to Summit makes premium gear for the outdoors and backpacking/bikepacking. The X-Pot is a cooking pot made for backpacking, bikepacking, or lightweight campers. The base of the pot is aluminum, and the sides are a collapsible, BPA-free, heat-resistant silicone. Need the pot to not be so pot-like when it’s not in use? Push the sides down, fold the side handles over, and lock the lid in place for transport. The top of the silicone siding has an aluminum ring embedded in it for a sturdier feel. The lid is translucent to monitor boiling liquids and has holes in one side to drain from the pot itself.
The X-Pot is available in three sizes: 1.4L, 2.8L, and 4L. The prices are $50, $55, and $80. I used the 2.8L this summer which has a weight of 13oz. The X-pot is light compared to other cooking pots, but it’s not featherweight. Still, the moral boost that comes from cooking a pot of something good in the wild is worth its weight.
The X-Pot feels sturdy in hand and collapses to a size that’s easily transportable. The difference in sizes are also aimed at how many people it’s feeding. The smaller is rated for one person, the medium for 2-3, and the large is best for 4-6. Traveling outdoors comes with many considerations, and cooking utensils are one of them. Some folks might prefer to take only a spork and boil water in something smaller to dump in a bag of dehydrated food. The X-Pot still feels on the big side if we’re talking about the bare essentials and packing items on bike or back. But if you err on the side of more gear and better camp meals, but skip amenities like pit toilets, it’s perfect.
I often used the X-Pot as one of two pieces of active cookware in the camp site. I’d boil pasta in the X-Pot while I heated up sausage and veggies in another lightweight pan, before draining the pasta in the X-pot, and then dumping everything in it to heat it together.
The aluminum base is not a non-stick, so keep an eye on the heat, stir frequently, and make sure there are some fats in the base. It is thin aluminum, but hasn’t warped and feels strong. The aluminum wraps around the base and there is enough coverage to mitigate concerns about flames touching the silicone. Sea to Summit warns the X-Pot isn’t meant to be used on an open fire because of a fire’s unpredictability, and it’s not meant to be used on induction stoves, or really domestic stoves at a high output. Camp stoves, with their low output and cool surroundings are the perfect match for the X-Pot.
Draining pasta in the X-pot is as easy as boiling pasta. The winged handles are small but grippy. By grabbing them and keeping a few fingers over the lid, the pot is easily drainable and can be set aside with the lid to keep food warm while it’s waiting to be eaten. The lid handle is also small but easily grab-able. The design of the X-pot is simple and highly functional.
As mentioned above, the base isn’t non-stick so it might take some scrubbing or soaking with soap when you’re back at home. Just don’t put it in the dishwasher; Sea to Summit warns the appliance will damage the anodization. I tend to come home from camping and throw everything from the trip into either the clothes washer or dishwasher, and the X-Pot will take a little extra care.
But if you’re looking for something lightweight and packable to step up camp meals in the wild, the X-Pot is a sweet piece of gear and will inspire better cooking outdoors.
Bottom line: the Sea to Summit X-Pot elevates camp cooking with its lightweight and functional design.
- Price: $54.95.
- Buy from REI and Backcountry.
- Relatively inexpensive
Pros and cons of the Sea to Summit X-pot
- Takes some extra caution and care
Matt is a staff writer and features editor at Singletracks and lives in the Front Range of Colorado. He served in the Marines and has a journalism degree from MSU-Denver. Want to talk MTB news? Send him a message: [email protected]