Sunday, 8 August 2010

Sea to Summit X-Series

Occasionally I get asked if I would like to test and review equipment, other times I will see something that interests me and I will contact the supplier/manufacturer to see if it would be possible to have an item to test/review.

Burton McCall were nice enough to send me a set of the Sea to Summit X-Series Mug, Bowl and Plate.

For years I always carried two cook pots; one of meals and the other a small one for doing 'brews'. The main reason for this was that when using homemade dehydrated meals, they needed to soak for an hour or so, and this ment that one pot was not usable in this time.

I did for a time use just one pot and a plastic bowl but it would not always fit into pockets easily and occasionally pressing to hard on the pack would crack the bowl.

I did also for a time try the Orikaso set of mugs and bowls but never got on with these.

So after seeing a x-bowl on this year's TGO Challenge I though this maybe the ideal solution for the way I cook.

The best way to do this review is do the items individually; So I will start with the X-Mug.


Weight: 52 g
Size: 20mm x 110mm (when flat) 85mm x 110mm (when open)

The X-mug is made from food grade silicone material, this means that it won't taint any liquid that is placed into it.

The mug has a nylon rim to help give rigidity to the mug. The mug is calibrated on the inside in ml and cups, so can be used as a measuring cup. The measurements show from 100 ml to 480 ml.

It will hold 480 ml (2 cups) of liquid but this will take it to the top of the mug; Personally I only fill it to about the 350 ml (1 1/3 cups) this is because where you pick the mug up normally i.e by the sides the mug squishes sightly and can cause the liquid to overflow. The mug can be picked up by the rim but you need to have fairly big hands to do this.

Comparing the x-mug to my old mug; the x-mug will hold sightly more liquid but does weigh a few grams more. But it is much easier to pack away inside a pack or even in a trouser pocket.

Old & New

I do have one niggle and one concern with the x-mug; the niggle is that although the mug will take quite high temperatures, it doesn't seem to hold the heat particularly well. I wouldn't expect it to hold heat like a insulated mug but I found that the heat disperses quite quickly; even quicker that the old plastic mug I normally use. Now I don't know the reason for this; it could be the the walls of the x-mug are quite thin or it could be that silicone don't retain heat particularly well.

The concern is how resistant the silicone is to puncture; I like to have my brew kit close to hand which means I carry it in the outside pockets of my pack. Packs can sometimes get snagged on items like gates, stiles and the odd bit of barbed wire and this could puncture the x-mug; I know this may never happen but I think about these things.

Pros: light and compact, holds a good amount of liquid

Cons: Doesn't seen to keep liquid hot for very long, possibly easy to puncture


Weight: 86 g
Size: 15 mm x 150 mm (flat) 60 mm x 150 (when open)

The X-bowl is made for the same materials as the X-mug the only difference being that there is no nylon rim; the nylon this time is in the base of the bowl.

The base of the bowl can be used as a cutting board, if you are someone who like to cook and prep fresh food out of the trail.

Again the bowl is calibrated to use for measuring, and shows from 100 to 500 ml.

The bowl can hold a maximum of 650 ml; and you can use virtually all of this, as this time as you are more likely to hold the bowl in the palm of your hand.

I used the bowl for a breakfast (Oat So Simple) and a homemade dehydrated meal and neither of these meals came above the 400 ml mark.

X-Bowl & Breakfast

But once again I found the the meals seems to get cooler quicker than in either a traditional bowl or my Vargo ti-lite mug.

Pros: light and compact, small pack size

Cons: Doesn't seen to keep food hot for very long


Weight: 152 g
Size: 15 mm x 220 mm (Flat) 38 mm x 220 (open)

Again the X-plate is made from the same silicone and nylon, as the other two items. Because of it's bigger size, you get a much bigger cutting board and the plate will hold 1170 ml.

Now I have to admit the I can't really find a way of fitting this plate into my backpacking set-up. It has nothing to do with the weight or the size but more to what I would use it for.

Most of my meals on trips are 'heat and eat' so the X-bowl would serve this purpose 99.9% of the time.

I could see the plate being used on 'Glamping' trips with the family; when having 'proper' meals in a tent.

Pros: light and compact, good if you like a large plate

Cons: doesn't really fit in with my type of backpacking

Overall I see the mug & bowl to be a good addition to my backpacking kitchen.

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  1. Eat out of the bag George for me. Less hassle and no cup or bowl to carry. I am a bit unimaginative with my food to be honest. Still if you like a mug or bowl they look the part.

  2. Great post George, very detailed and informative

  3. Great post on the X series. But i have to admit i am an eat out of the bag man myself, so the only pot i need to carry is my titanium cup.

    Fantastic blog, still reading my way through it.