Last week, my 16-year-old son and I section-hiked through two Oregon wilderness areas of the PCT. Three Sea to Summit products definitely pulled their weight on the trip, and made our job as hikers easier.
My dad has an age-old water storage bladder with a tap he’s been hanging (somewhat precariously) in trees my entire backpacking life. I love the ease of use: any time I need water in camp, it’s ready. Sea to Summit’s Pack Tap takes this concept and perfects it: the bladder is made of double layers of Mylar, with ripstop nylon on the outside. There are multiple lash points, which makes it easy to secure the pack in an elevated location, even on tree trunks when branches aren’t available. I’ve even lashed it to the outside of my backpack when I need to stock up on water on dry parts of the trail. When not in use, the pack rolls up quite nicely. The tap is easy to use with one hand and pops off easily enough to fill.
Bringing a trash bag on my backpacking trips has always been part of my routine, but these trash dry sacks sure make it a more pleasant experience, as they’re waterproof and contain odors much better than the Hefty variety. The trash sack utilizes a nice roll top closure (similar to a dry bag) and comes with a disposable garbage liner 9which can be replaced with your own on subsequent trips). The bag is double stitched and lightweight, and features a smart oval base for better packing (and squishing) into a backpack. Daisy chain webbing loops make it easy to clip to your pack if needed (usually only needed on your last day in the backcountry)
I’ve had my cute little collapsible Sea to Summit plate and mug set for a while now, so I’ll admit I was pretty excited to see the X-Pot come on the scene. This cooking pot is designed in the same manner as the above items, folding down to the size of a frisbee when not in use. Even better: my plate and mug nest inside it for even more streamlined storage in my pack (above).
When you see the colorful silicone body of the X-pot, it’s easy to wonder if it will actually work when put on a hot stove top. The hard anodized aluminum base is strong and rigid, however, offering a fast boil time. There’s a stainless steel ring embedded in the rim of the pot that ensures the silicone walls won’t collapse on you. All told, it’s a very sturdy pot, and I never felt any worry of it spilling hot water on me. The lid is clear and locks securely, and features an integrated strainer.
The X-Pot is heavier than my other solo backpacking pot, and harder to clean due to the ridged construction. However, it packs down smaller than anything else. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether weight or size is more important to you.
The X-Pot is available in 1.4L, 2.8L and 4L sizes. I found the 2.8L to be adequate for boiling water and mixing up freeze-dried dinners for two. It weighs in at 10.3 ounces, and comes in gray or Pacific blue for $59 on REI and Amazon.