Sometimes you buy a piece of outdoor gear with a bit of trepidation, reluctance, or pessimism. You don’t think it will actually fit its intended purpose, but you throw caution to the wind and buy it anyway, thinking that you can always give it away if you don’t like it. This was my attitude when purchasing a Sea to Summit X Cup.
I was in for a pleasant surprise.
The Sea to Summit X Cup is a food grade heat resistant collapsible camping cup made out of silicone. It’s clever design allows the cup to collapse into a small flat disk compact enough to fit into the pocket of nearly any backpack. When open, the X Cup holds 8.3 fl oz (250ml) of hot or cold liquids. It is both microwave and dishwasher safe, and has measurement graduation marks.
I Just Needed a Measuring Cup for Dehydrated Meals
You know those certain challenges we all have in life where, despite screwing up over and over again, we keep thinking we will get it right the next time, and then completely fail once more? Well, mine is thinking I can correctly guesstimate the perfect amount of hot water to add to a Mountain House dehydrated meal. Apparently the measuring cup in my head is bigger than the one Mountain House uses.
Because my older titanium pot doesn’t have measurement graduations, I have always wanted a way to simply measure water when out on the trail, but didn’t want to carry a hard plastic measuring cup for that dedicated purpose. The X Cup can handle hot liquids and is the perfect size to measure out a cup of hot water. It also has measurement graduations, so I thought I would give it a go.
Will the Sea to Summit X Cup Fit in a 750 ml Cookpot?
This was the big question. If I was going to carry another piece of kitchen gear in my ultralight kit, I really wanted it to fit into my trusty TOAKS titanium 750 ml pot along with my stove, spork, firesteel, and a few other odds and ends. That’s a tall order and going by advertised measurements, I knew it was going to be close.
Even when pulling the X Cup out of its packaging I was still skeptical. But to my utter surprise it was a perfect fit and dropped right into my cookpot, laying flat against the bottom. A fuel canister went inside next and there was still plenty of room for a BRS-3000T stove and all my other trail kitchen necessities.
But would it fit in there with my Bushbox Ultralight firebox stove? I sometimes only carry it if I want to go seriously ultralight and I know I’m in an area where it is okay to use it. The width of the Bushbox Ultralight is such that it just barely fits into my cookpot. Could the X Cup nestle in beside it?
Yes! The X Cup could not possibly be a better size for the ultralight gear I have. Way to go Sea to Summit!
A Small But Perfect Ultralight Coffee Cup
I was also skeptical about the experience of drinking out of a rubbery silicone coffee cup. Coffee is important out in the woods and not something I like to take chances with. Granted, when I am going ultralight my coffee is primarily Bustelo instant, but I still don’t want it tasting like an old rubber glove.
To my further surprise the X Cup made for a great little coffee cup! There was no odd taste thanks to the BPA free, food grade silicone. The nylon rim of the cup was actually very nice to drink from and gave it plenty of rigidity. The X Cup held its shape just fine when I set it down full of hot coffee or tea and didn’t seem very likely to fall over and spill if on somewhat level ground.
Oh, and tea tastes just like it should in the X Cup as well.
The Sea to Summit X Mug
But I know what you are thinking. Only one cup? Wouldn’t I rather have a much larger coffee mug out on the trail?
Oh, hell yeah! And Sea to Summit does make a much larger X Mug, which I’ll also put in the specs at the end of this article. But, I didn’t go with the X Mug only because if it didn’t fit inside my 750 ml cookpot, I would have just used my cookpot as a mug, which is what I had been doing in the past.
Would I prefer an X Mug to a non-collapsible, full-sized mug? Probably not simply because I like having a handle. But that is pretty much the only reason.
Using the X Cup out on the Trail
I have really come to appreciate being able to sip my coffee or tea while boiling more water. The routine is this: I boil a pot of water, then measure out the needed hot water for my dehydrated meal in the X Cup. After the water has been added to my meal, I make my coffee or tea then boil more water for another cup.
I wasn’t planning on using the X Cup when not using my ultralight adventure picnicking gear, since I have a full-sized titanium mug. However, I have ended up carrying it with me when paddle and car camping and have even used it as a measuring cup in those instances.
A Durable Piece of Outdoor Kitchen Gear
While I haven’t put it through many seasons of adventures yet, after a year of moderate use the X Cup is holding up great. It has some very light staining, but it’s not noticeable at all and the X Cup still looks practically new from a few feet away.
The silicone it is made out of is actually surprisingly thick, which is great since it is being used for hot liquids. But that thick silicone also makes it durable. For the little bit of money I spent on it, I could see getting several seasons out of my X Cup.
The X Cup is dishwasher safe, but since I don’t have a dishwasher, I haven’t been able to test this. It has washed up easily both on the trail on at home in the sink. As mentioned above, my X Cup does have some very light staining, but to be completely honest, if I scrubbed it with a little more fervor, it would probably come out.
One Big Gripe about the X Cup
One thing that I really hate about the X Cup is how hard it is to read the measurements on the graduations. I’ve thought about trying to color them with a permanent marker, but who knows what kinds of chemicals are in permanent markers. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, especially since I am usually just measuring out 1 cup on the trail.
I also run into this problem constantly with other products, packaging, labels, menus, apps, websites, signs, etc, etc, so maybe it’s just because I’m getting older?
Naw. I’m sure it is because the X Cups graduations are just too small to read.
Pricing and Colors
At the time of this writing, both the X Cup and X Mug are available in a variety of different colors depending on availability. I’ve seen orange, blue, pacific blue, grey, red, and the lime green that I chose.
You can see the other colors and check the current pricing for the X Cup on Amazon.
Some Common Key Features of the X Cup and X Mug
- Flexible food grade silicone side walls that can withstand temperatures up to 300°F
- Collapses flat for compact packing
- Calibrated ridges act as a measuring cup
- Spill-resistant and easy to pour from
- BPA free
The Sea to Summit X Cup vs X Mug Specs
|X Cup||X Mug|
|CAPACITY||8.3 fl oz / 250ml||16.2 fl oz / 480ml|
|DEPTH||2.75 in / 7 cm||3.25 in / 8.5 cm|
|DIAMETER||3.75 in / 9.5 cm||4.5 in / 11 cm|
|HEIGHT (Collapsed)||.50 in / 1.27 cm||50 in / 1.27 cm|
|WEIGHT||1.6 oz / 45g||2.7 oz / 78 g|
|PRICE||Get Price on Amazon||Get Price on Amazon|
One of these days I will probably replace my TOAKS 750 ml pot with a newer one that has embossed measurement graduations. I have a feeling that when I do, I will continue to carry my little X Cup though. It’s rare when a piece of gear makes into the core group of items that live in my 750 ml pot, but the X Cup made it. Great job Sea to Summit!