Sea to Summit Interview with X-Pot Designer
Why did you think a pot like this was needed?
A cooking pot is an essential item for outdoor trips but it’s also awkward and bulky to pack. With the X-Pots you no longer have to play rock, paper, scissors to decide who has to carry the cook-set.
What do you think is the coolest part of X-Pot?
The coolest part of the X-Pot is definitely the minimalist design. When collapsed, the X-Pot (2.8L) is only 1.5″ high yet holds 95 fl oz when expanded. And at 11.5 oz, it’s incredibly lightweight. When transporting the X-Pots, you can also nest your X-Bowls and X-Cups or X-Mugs inside, which creates a true ‘camp kitchen’ that minimizes space in your pack. The whole concept is easy (and fun) to use and the compact nature of it is second to none.
Was it hard to make it durable?
Actually no, durability was never an issue as we have extensive experience working with food grade silicone tableware and bonding it to rigid materials, so we had good faith in both the materials and our methods going into this project. However, getting the right balance of rigidity, softness and ease of use certainly took some work and many prototypes.
Why did you choose the particular materials used?
The materials we used are not easy to source but the quality and inherent characteristics of them ensures the product is resistant to very high heat, keep the taste of the food neutral and are 100% healthy to use (and of course BPA free). The aluminum we use for the base is usually only used in aircraft, and as far as we know, we are the first to use this hard-anodized aircraft grade aluminum as a pot base. It makes a lot of sense though as it has an extremely high food grade rating, as do the silicone walls.
What was the biggest design challenge? How did you overcome this?
Despite what you might think, the handles proved to be the biggest design challenge we faced. We had to make sure the rim of the pot is rigid enough for cooking, stirring and serving food, but traditional pot grips and handles wouldn’t work so well with the flexible nature of the material.
The integrated handles we designed are reminiscent of a classic stockpot and holds the lid on in transit. Like most good design work, they look very simple but represent a lot of hard work to solve a complex problem.
Does the silicone allow for holding the sides of the pot even with boiling water and cooking? Was that part of the goal of the design or was it more from a packability standpoint?
The integrated handles make it unnecessary to touch the walls while the pot is hot. The silicone walls will get hot, but it’s better than traditional aluminum or steel pots. Silicone was chosen primarily for its packable nature.
What should folks take away – what do you want them to be most aware of?
It’s a paradigm shift for many people to see a soft-walled cooking pot, and they’re often dubious about the silicone’s ability to handle the heat. We put these through some serious paces and undertook extremely aggressive testing for extended periods of time to ensure the pot would withstand the rigors of outdoor cooking.
Some things to note: It is designed for use on a backpacking or camping stove only. The X-Pots are designed in such a way that, with correct use, on a backpacking or camping stove (not an open campfire), flames will not come into direct contact with the silicone walls. The X-Pot is to be used with the sides popped up completely (before and) during use do not attempt to use it as a frying pan, as that can cause irreparable damage (Sea to Summit has a fantastic X-pan here!). Lastly, the fact that the base is anodized means that the pots should not be washed in a dishwasher.
Is there anything else?
One neat feature to mention is the clear lid with an integrated strainer and the side handles that lock the lid in place when the pot is collapsed. However, please don’t “lock” the lid into place while cooking! This feature is only intended for use when packing the kit together for transport.
The X-Pot complements a really cool product range of collapsible X-dinnerware. They come in fresh, bright colors, nest together incredibly well, and saves so much space and weight for your camp kitchen set up.