Who doesn’t like a hearty meal at the end of a long backpacking day? Nobody, right? Yet for many outdoor enthusiasts, an evening meal has come to mean boiling water and adding it to a bag of freeze-dried food. Not that there’s anything wrong with the occasional freeze-dried meal; but they contain a lot of sodium, they are expensive, and they can take agonizingly long to reconstitute, especially at altitude. And, perhaps the biggest factor – they rob you of the romance of preparing a meal out in the backcountry.
Some backpackers respond that they would cook more open-air meals, but they are concerned that measuring, cutting, pouring, straining, storing leftovers and so on requires carrying extra gear. If you’ve read our Camp Cuisine blog post , you’ll know that ‘extra gear’ can be replaced with ‘the right gear and a little ingenuity’.
But – there’s another factor. At a recent cook-out organized by Sea to Summit, here are some comments we heard from would-be gourmets about their existing gear:
“I’ve tried using pot lifters, but they actually bend the rim of the pot”
“I like the weight of my titanium cookset, but I just get a hot spot in the middle of the pot base”
“My current pot is just too tall and too narrow to really cook in”
“The wobbly handle on my pot sketches me out when it is full of hot food”
Clearly, a need exists for a better set of outdoor cookware.
Engineered for excellence
Sea to Summit’s new Alpha Cookware has been designed to help re-ignite your outdoor gourmet passion.
The heart of the cookware is the Alpha Pots, which are another engineering tour-de-force from our design team:
- They are made of a stronger aluminum alloy than that which is commonly used for camping cookware. Using this alloy requires a special manufacturing process (and a unique machine lubricant from Japan), but the greater material strength means thinner walls and a lighter pot.
- The surface is hard-anodized to a greater thickness and greater hardness which means a more durable, easier to use and easier to clean surface (the inside is polished, the outside textured to better grip on a backpacking stove)
- The high-grade aluminum alloy spreads heat evenly, allowing you to simmer and savor (rather than churn and burn…). Turn down the stove heat and allow the flavors to unfold…
- Each pot has a Pivot-Lock™ handle, which rotates and locks into position using a one-hand operated thumb mechanism. No more wobbling, rattling handles attached sketchily to pots which might hold several pounds of hot ingredients. The handle is made of stainless steel with a silicone rubber grip for secure handling, and it swivels around to lock the lid in place for storage/transportation.
- The lid has an ingenious silicone rubber holder (called a Lid Keep™) on its inner side, so you can simply rest it vertically on the side of the pot. No more wondering where to put a hot, clean lid while you’re cooking in the wilderness.
- The radius of the curve between the base and the walls of the pot is larger than with most camp cookware, so you can easily stir ingredients together while cooking, and clean the pot just as simply afterwards.
- The lid has a unique slot pattern which allows you to strain rice and grains easily and effectively.
- The pans also feature a swiveling handle; one which folds outside of the pan, away from the cooking surface. That surface is coated with Halo non-stick: flipping pancakes in the forest has never been easier. And clean-up is simple, too.
Rounding off the culinary experience is the Delta Light tableware. The insulated mugs and bowls available in the sets are made of glass-reinforced polypropylene, so they are light and strong. They are also perfectly ergonomically shaped, and they nest together beautifully. Sets are available from solo to four person (solo to four hungry persons, that is).
You can see some of the pots, pans and tableware in the links in this article. But you really need to hold them in your hands to appreciate the beauty of the engineering which went into them.
As one of the attendees at the cook-out said: “I thought they were just nice pots, until I got to try them out. The handle is just freaking awesome!”
Just imagine just what kind of delicious meals you might make with a set of Alpha Cookware on your next backpacking trip. We’ll be posting simple, tasty recipes every month on Instagram – stay tuned!
And the next time you go camping, take your buds.
Your taste buds, that is.