Collapsible Cook Set
Sea to Summit X-Pot Set 31
$110, 1 lb. 6 oz.
Set includes a 2.8L X-Pot with lid, two X-Bowls, two X-Mugs, all collapsible
At Helmet Falls camp on the first night of a four-day, 34-mile, family backpacking trip on the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies, a group of backpackers cooking near us looked at my X-Pot set and one asked, “What is that and who makes it?” When I answered him, he responded, “I gotta get one of those. Or I’m going to watch which bear locker you put your food and cooking gear in later and take it.” I was pretty sure he was kidding—but not entirely certain. The collapsible X-Pot cooking set is sure to change the way we think about cooking systems for backpacking, and many backpackers will covet it.
The key feature is the collapsible, heat-resistant, food-grade silicone walls that lock in place on the 2.8L/3-quart pot, which has a 6063-T6, hardened alloy aluminum base. My family boiled water, cooked pasta, soups, mac ‘n’ cheese and other messy dinners that we found easy to clean from the pot’s bottom and walls, and pouring hot water from the pot was a breeze, with no spills. Both of the 0.7L/22-oz. X-Bowls and 0.5L/16-oz. X-Mugs in this set have collapsible sides, allowing them to nest inside the X-Pot. The clear, plastic pot lid has a strainer for pouring out hot water, and the flexible handles on the pot lock onto the lid when the entire set is collapsed, keeping it closed up for storage and eliminating the need for a pot gripper. When stored, the complete set measures a mere 21.3cm/8.4 inches in diameter and 3.8cm/1.5 inches tall. It’s like a full cook set for two people packs down to the size of less than half a cook set. (My family of four supplemented this set with a couple more mugs.)
The X-Mugs are marked on the inside for measuring in cups and milliliters and the X-Bowls are marked in milliliters. To avoid damaging the pot’s walls by exposing them to direct flame, or damaging the lid, use the X-Pot only on camp stoves, not in a campfire or on any stove that has a burner wider than the X-Pot’s base (such as a kitchen stove), and not in an oven (such as a Dutch oven). Sea to Summit also warns against putting the set in a dishwasher or using the scouring side of a sponge when cleaning it by hand.
File this under brilliant. While not the lightest cooking system out there, the X-Pot and its accessories change the game when it comes to fitting your cooking system inside your pack—showing us that a cook set doesn’t have to be bulky. Sea to Summit’s X-Pot also comes in 1.4-liter and 4-liter sizes, and various X-Sets, a 1.3-liter X-Kettle and a 20.3cm/8-inch X-Pan are available.
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NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.