Top Gear #11 Squishy Bowls
Pssst - We have 3 sets of 'Squishy Bowls' to give away in our latest Friendly Friday Giveaway. Details here.
We are big fans of integrated cooking systems (our top choice is the Jetboil) and for mountain journeys it's the option we use 99% of the time. These system excel at the one thing we want - they boil water quickly and efficiently. It's actually all we do for mountain cooking because, if we are using dehydrated foods, the boiling water is then just added to the food pouch and we eat straight from that.
The only other thing we prepare is hot drinks and so, besides a Jetboil and a spoon (see Top Gear #5 here for advice on the best spoon option), the only other part of our mountain kitchen is having something to drink from - and that's where the Peak Mountaineering Top Gear #11 choice comes in. We've tried loads of mugs over the years but in the last couple of years our favourite is the appropriately titled 'Squishy Bowl'.
These beauties are about as simple as they come. They actually come as a cup and bowl set and are curvy soft silicon vessels that look like the silicon cake tins you can bake in (they are tested to cope with temperatures up to 400 degrees fahrenheit so you could actually bake in these too). Unfortunately, they only come as a set and the small cup is, in our opinion, too small to be of much use for hungry outdoor adults (maybe your kids could use it?!). However, the bowl is a gem as it makes a great mug with lots of advantages over normal hard sided mugs.
Firstly, the soft silicone material stops it getting too hot so your hands won't get burnt (although they let a bit of heat through so you can warm your hands on chilly evenings). It can also be folded up easily and squashed in a pocket of your rucksack although it is also the perfect size to store it over the end of your Jetboil (see the photo) and that's how we carry ours. The material is robust and ours have so far lasted for nearly 2 years and are still going strong. This means they can be stuffed into your rucksack without worrying about breakage. Another massive plus is that Squishy's can be turned inside out for cleaning (good techniques including wiping on wet grass or snow - or licking it clean!). The deformable shape also means they can easily be tucked into awkward spaces under small trickles of water in mountain streams and the shape can also be changed to make a little spout shape for drinking hot liquids.
Infact, the only disadvantage is that with the soft material there's the potential to squeeze too hard when holding or picking the bowl up, but you soon get used to it. The Squishy bowl weighs about 80 grams and, although quite pricey at £14 a set, we reckon they are worth it.
Posted by Cal