Look... I never thought I'd use the word "sexy" to describe a cooking pot, let alone a camp cooking pot. But when I got to open up the new range of Sea To Summit Alpha cook pots that's pretty much how I'd describe them. Similar to that first time you open that iPhone box. It almost seams too simple to do everything it claims to but once you start using it everything just works intuitively.
These pots aren't going to boil water any faster than the cheap ones from the army disposal shop but they are just one of those pieces of kit that makes you find excuses to use them. Like that time you first got your sub zero sleeping bag and you couldn't wait for a night below freezing to go test it out. I'm already trying to organise an overnighter this weekend! Outdoor gear should never take away from the outdoor experience. Good outdoor gear works quietly in the background so you can enjoy exactly what you're there to do.
Weight and Durability
The first thing you notice when you pick these guys up is how light and thin they feel. When I first touched it I thought it was titanium but it's still just hard anodised aluminium. Recent prices of titanium have gone through the roof and pots that used to sell for around $100 are now going for more than twice that so I can see why Sea To Summit didn't use titanium, but the walls on these pots don't flex like other alloy pots this thin. Apparently I am told this is because of the grade of alloy but also the extra thick hard anodising. This also helps with the durability and ease of cleaning. By the way, there is a heap of texture on the bottom to stop the pot slipping on your cooker.
Now we get to the cool stuff. Once you've held them for a minute and you get over the weight and texture you realise all these little attentions to detail. By far the first and most important is that pivot handle. A new patent design has the handle swivels/rotates to deploy or pack away and it locks tight in either position. It cannot collapse on you when using it which is a hugely welcomed feature if you're used to using those simple swing handles. Secondly is that it locks in when packed away also locking the lid on. I know this has been done before but I'd feel real confident shoving this in my pack without a worry that the lid is going to come off. It means you can store a bunch of stuff inside and fit it where you want.
The lid also has two little features worth noting. Strainers aren't new but this one has a standard strainer on one side for straining things like pasta and a pourer on the other for pouring into a cup or thermos. Genius! The second patented feature you're gunna love is what Sea To Summit call their LID KEEP. The inside of the middle rubber handle is designed in a way that it can hang on the edge of your pot. No more looking for a clean patch of grass to put your super hot lid while stirring or adding ingredients!
These things haven't been out for too long and I'm looking for a chance to run them through their paces but from the outset, like titanium, it appears you don't have to sacrifice durability for weight. They feel super tough even though they're so light. The range covers anyone from a solo 1.2 litre weekend pot to lightweight expedition cookware or larger group use with a 3.7 litre option. As you'd probably expect, there's a whole "Alpha" modular range of pots, bowls, cups, plates etc. that is all designed to work and pack together so if you need options, they're there.
Now... only two more sleeps until I can really test out these sexy cook pots!
By: Matt Eaton