Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Perfect Mug?

Right before our last trip, I broke down and bought the "mug" I had been coveting for the last year and a half, the Snow Peak Titanium Trek 700 (it just SOUNDS so spacey doesn't it?). It is sometimes sold on the Riv. site (not there right now), but I ordered mine from REI. So what's so great about this mug?

Well, to call it a mug really doesn't describe it well. It's really more of a tallish pot that can be used as a mug. From what I've read, it's suppose to mate well with the Snow Peak Giga stove system. I don't know how well that works because I use it with my Trangias. In fact, I can fit two Trangia stoves into the 700 (see picture below for scale). I also stick some matches and a lighter in a waterproof baggie inside as well.

Some of the neat features are the folding handles, of course, that make it pack easily. Even with the 700 full of liquid, the handles didn't seem to show any undue bending or stress. I imagine with reasonable care, this mug/pot should last a long time. Another really nice feature is the lid that you can use as a colander. I've cooked some pasta in it and have successfully drained out the water without losing a single noodle.

I've used it as a mug. I've boiled water in it over my Trangia and over a camp fire. I've heated soup in it over the range. The underside has a slightly different patina (pleasant to me), but otherwise it's fine.

Someone asked if I burned my lips on the 700 when used as a mug. Well, here's the thing. It's not double walled so the bottom and sides get hot! If you use the handles you'll be fine holding it. Now, when I make coffee or tea, I probably only fill it up to about halfway. While the heat does creep up the sides of the mug and the lip does get hot-ish, I can drink without having asbestos lips. That said, if you filled it up to the very top, you would get burned. However, with a normal serving of coffee, there is enough space from the lip of the mug to the liquid that it won't get overly hot. Makes sense?

A nice plus is that the folded 700 fits perfectly into the side pocket of my Carradice Camper Long Flap, so it is always within easy reach.

While perhaps not being the perfect mug, or a mug really, the Snow Peak 700 is a great bike camping accessory. You can cook in it, use it to strain out your pasta and yes, drink from it like a mug. It may not be an absolutely essential piece of kit (I've survived years with a lesser mug) it is a nice thing to have. Recommend.


Loganenator said...

Great review Russ. :)

My partner recently upgraded to a MSR titan kettle to reduce weight and combine the useful attributes of the two items you posted on above. It works great as a pot, kettle and cup. The only addition/modification we would prefer would be a bail handle for the top like the GSI kettle. ;)


cpfiles said...

I am really surprised you have not stumbled onto the Jetboil ( yet, or maybe you have and did not like it.

I have been using one for years while backpacking. It will be going on its first bike tour in a few weeks. The thing is simply awesome. I gave up the Snow Peak system for it.

The frying pan and coffee press accessories are a must.

MTBMaven said...

Snow Peak makes double walled Ti mugs. They also make Ti coffee presses but not sure if they are double walled or not.

And if you have looked at Snow Peaks Luxury Camping section you really should. Amazing looking stuff of mucho bucks.

I really need to get a Trangia personally. I have a homemade cat food can alcohol stove, which works ok, but it think it's time for the Trangia. I wish I could find the Ti model at a good price.

RussRoca said...

cpfiles....I've seen the jetboil but in the end prefer the trangia. we also have an MSR whisperlite and hardly take it out these days...

i guess i should do a post on just the trangia, because its such a great little stove.

things we like about the trangia:
-super easy operation
-no moving parts
-cheap (we carry two stoves with us and at $20 a stove that's no problem)
-small (can stick two of them in my mug)
-rugged (these things are so simple they're hard to break)
-fuel is readily available at most hardware stores
-silent operation

things we don't like:
-sort of tricky to control simmer
-can be a bit greedy on fuel (we've been augmenting it with cooking with a camp fire)

some people say they're heavy, but in the end I think the weight is really negligible (i'm not much of a weight weenie...we're carrying a hatchet for pete's sakes)...

i like them. perhaps not the fastest stove nor the lightest, but it is super easy to use and nearly indestructible....when we're out bike camping, everything is slow-ish anyways, so waiting an extra minute or two is no biggie...

Michael Meiser said...

I notice you like the GSI kettle. I love their stuff.

Have you tried the GSI Lexan 14oz mug?

It won't burn you, ever. The lexan is naturally insulative... it's light and damn near indestructable.

I cut off the handle on my touring one because it's unnecissary since it's so well insulated.

It also microwaves extremely well. I use my other one every day for coffee.