Sep 27, 2013 at 10:36 am #1308136
Jason JohnsonBPL Member
thinking bout getting one…has anyone sipped coffee out of one? +1 or -1 on the Sierra Cup?Sep 27, 2013 at 10:40 am #2028891
Valerie EBPL Member
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
-1 on that:
(a) heavy for the size
(b) makes coffee go cold faster (wide top aids cooling, as does the uninsulated metal)Sep 27, 2013 at 10:49 am #2028893
Years ago all we had were the stainless steel Sierra cups. Now we have the titanium version.
Yes, the wide top causes the hot liquid to cool somewhat. That is exactly what it is intended to do, to avoid burning your lips. Also, in an emergency, any metal cup like that can serve as a small cook pot or water boiler.
Deep down inside my winter daypack, there is a titanium Sierra cup packed with two Esbit tablets, matches, and a foil packet of coffee.
Each winter on the first field trip to the snow, I practice my skills by melting snow and making hot coffee. In fact, if I can find dry wood twigs, I can skip the Esbit.
–B.G.–Sep 27, 2013 at 11:23 am #2028905
Ah yes, the old sierra cup. Still got burn marks on my lower lip.
I started using a heavy duty, large Styrofoam cup, weights in at .125 oz and will last for a week if treated with care.Sep 27, 2013 at 11:38 am #2028910
Jason JohnsonBPL Member
What about its other positives? I was lookin at one knowing I could use it as a cup to drink out of or a bowl to eat of? is that the intention of the Sierra Cup?Sep 27, 2013 at 11:49 am #2028915
In a winter snow emergency, you can also use it as an emergency shovel to dig out a snow trench.
One friend of mine got his car stuck in snow and used a Sierra cup to dig it out, because that was the only tool he had.
With black bears wandering around in camp, the Sierra cup makes a good noisemaker. Either hit it with a metal spoon or else hit the cup against a metal pot.
In some backpacking circles when there is a group meal cooked, the chef portions the food out by a Sierra cup.
The problem is that it does not make a very large plate for meals. Pancakes don't fit.
–B.G.–Sep 27, 2013 at 12:05 pm #2028922
Gary DunckelBPL Member
When I'm feeling like having a better meal out there, I might stir up some gravy or Knorr's 4-cheese sauce (pre-mixed and vacuum sealed portions) in my sierra cup/titanium foil lid. A bit more trail weight, but a lot more tastiness.Sep 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm #2028924
Wasn't that cute how Gary got the titanium wire grill showing up in the background?
–B.G.–Sep 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm #2028928
Gary DunckelBPL Member
Nah, I was really just trying to push my beaded leather drink coasters, Bob. That one has the Big and Little Dippers on it, but it's hard to tell from that angle. The gravy packet was just for deception. And with it raining here again, the only dry spot to take a photo was at my patio gear testing table. And I wasn't about to clear the table just for one measily photo.
And you can quit doing your rain dances for us now, Bob–Boulder's good.Sep 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm #2028933
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
-1 for all the reasons Valerie and Bob gave. And, yeah, you can multipurpose them as others have described, but they aren't very good at any of those tasks. Back in the day (when people used Sierra Cups and Bob and I were killing mammoths), I preferred what Dutch friends called an "Alps Cup"
While you couldn't use it as a cooking pot it made a much better cup – steeper sides for less sloshing, more insulated so you could warm but not burn hands with hot liquids.
Now, I cut the bottom off an HDPE food container I find at the recycling center of a height and width that nests with my other gear. greater volume at 10-20% of the weight. And free.
Or buy a Cup of Noodles (about 24 cents) and save the styrofoam cup.Sep 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm #2028940
Somewhere up the thread Jason asks:
I was lookin at one knowing I could use it as a cup to drink out of or a bowl to eat of? is that the intention of the Sierra Cup?
The original Sierra cup was a "dip and sip." Its use as a coffee cup, bowl, or extra pot was secondary. This was before the time of hydration bladders and water filtration systems. Now almost nobody uses one, as water systems are different and there are far better cups, bowls and pots.Sep 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm #2028943
"Back in the day (when people used Sierra Cups and Bob and I were killing mammoths),"
David is far too modest.
In the 1981 movie Quest For Fire, David appeared as an extra as an Ice Age mammoth slayer.
In contrast, my cameo performance was as the mammoth.
–B.G.–Sep 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm #2028990
doug thomasBPL Member
@sparky52804Locale: Eastern Iowa
I use the snow peak 450 insulated cup. Sure it's a bit heavy, but with the lid, it keeps it hot.Sep 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm #2029000
Stephen BarberBPL Member
A Sierra cup makes a decent but very small gold pan.Sep 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm #2029001
Works quite well when digging for water in a dry desert wash – something you generally don't have to bother with in the high Sierra.I have set up a folding handle model with esbit and tea bags as a sort of emergency cooker that can ride around in my day pack. i looked at the titanium version for this use,but finally went with good ol' SS at half the price, with an increase in weight of less than one ounce. The smaller the utensil, the less the weight differential in the finished product.
You could even use one as a last ditch signal mirror…….Sep 28, 2013 at 5:56 am #2029067
John GBPL Member
@johng10Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
It's wide mouth works better for eating oatmeal and is easier to clean than narrower, straight sided cups. Drinking out of it is tricky, and liquid sloshes out easily. I like how liquids cool from simmering to drinkable faster than in narrow double wall cups too.
Personally, I bring a small aluminum pot, plastic cup, and plastic bowl. The combo works well (I can eat, drink, and boil more water at the same time), and the plastic cup and bowl weigh less than a titanium mug.Sep 28, 2013 at 7:38 am #2029079
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
>" I bring a small aluminum pot, plastic cup, and plastic bowl. "
Doing two or three immediately sequential boils is a little to a fair bit more efficient and I also like to be drinking / eating hot food while heating the next pot of water. While it adds 0.5 ounces for an additional tupperware bowl or repurposed cup, I often use those containers during the day to protect fragile objects* in my pack, scoop water, collect drips from a snowfield or rain water off a tarp all of which are little efficiencies of my time and energy.
*Triscuits and Wheat Thins aren't the healthiest food around town, but they're tasty, salty, completely dry, and fairly caloric on the trail. You can also find them in any food store. If I keep them in my tupperware bowl, they're still actually crackers a few days later (although I do try to use them early in the trip). I prefer eating the PB off the cracker than spreading the PB on my palm, sprinkling cracker crumbs on top and licking it all off.Sep 28, 2013 at 11:55 am #2029146
Next best thing to a soaking wet pair of Levi's in the backcountry.
Designed to be able to make all hot drinks
Cold and still have the ability to burn your face when you try to have a drink.Sep 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm #2029416
Easier to make a "caldera cone" stand for a Sierra cup, since it can be a cylinder.Sep 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm #2029450
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+1 to Chris' comment:
Designed to be able to make all hot drinks Cold and still have the ability to burn your face when you try to have a drink.
When I started backpacking in the 1970s we all had sierra cups. I have noticed that no one I backpack with today still uses one. I stopped using a sierra cup after a couple of years because I experienced what Chris described. Over the years I have periodically attempted to switch back because it *seems* like such a multi-function option. Eventually I decided that for me, it does a very poor job for each of those function and it's better to use something that gets the job done well.
–MarkSep 30, 2013 at 9:51 am #2029560
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
"… now we have titanium."
Well maybe SOME backpackers are as enamored of ti cups now as most of us were of Sierra cups back in the day but…
I use a plastic cup with measuring marks and would Never consider a ti cup, double wall or not. Just does not make sense, especially for cooking.
Ti is great in my CC Sidewinder stove sides but definitly not for cookware or mugs.Sep 30, 2013 at 11:04 am #2029591
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The Sierra cup is not as user friendly as a plastic or double wall metal cup for drinking hot liquids. I don't know of any single-wall metal cup that is good with hot liquids.
But a Sierra cup is an excellent multipurpose utensil. It is cup, bowl, berry-picking basket and cook pot. If you want to have a quick cup of hot coffee, tea or soup, It works great with small alcohol or Esbit stoves and great for a day-hike kit.
I saw one fellow carrying one on his belt by slipping the hook in the handle behind and over his belt, so it sat flat against his hip. Clever.
I keep one in my dog's pack for his water and food dish.
My Sierra cup stable from the top clockwise:
Brass cup. Highly decorative, but pits with any salt content and exists in the polished state for about 30 seconds. Weighs 3oz.
Cohglan's "Jumbo cup. Hold about 500ml. Better for a bowl. The bottom is about the same width as the smaller examples, making it less stable when full of liquid or as a cook pot. Weighs 3.2oz.
Generic stainless steel classic Sierra cup. Holds 300ml, weighs 3oz. Typically $0.99 at Goodwill.
REI (Evernew?) Ti Sierra cup. Hold 325ml brimming full, weighs 1.8oz. REI discontinued it and now carries a stainless model with a folding handle, weighing 2.4oz.
You can find various Ti models by Evernew and SnowPeak. Vargo makes a 750ml monster with a folding handle and lid that weighs 4.5oz and has a $50 price tag.
Best in the simplest form I think, making it light and durable and a nice study in Spartan design.Sep 30, 2013 at 11:21 am #2029600
robert van puttenMember
@bawanaLocale: Planet Bob
I've carried a steel Sierra Club cup clipped to my backpack belt for decades.
I found it very handy for drinking from every stream, brook, seep, creek, runnel, rivulet and mud hole I came across. I bought my cup back in the early 1980s, or maybe it was in the late 1970's? 20 years ago when my wife started backpacking with me we naturally got her one too, but she never took to clipping it to her belt. She didn't need to, I always had mine handy.
Eleven years ago while canoeing the Bowron Lakes up in Canada I leaned over the side of the canoe with it to scoop up a drink and dropped the cup! My wife and I spent twenty minutes retrieving that cup!
We were upstream of a lake on a small tributary at the time. We spun the canoe about and my wife in the bow seat reversed position facing the stern so she could solo paddle like heck and try to keep the canoe in position over the cup on the fast flowing stream. I knelt forward and dug through our huge Duluth packsack for our Timberline tent, pulled out the longest aluminum pole, one of the steel shepherd hook stakes and some duct tape. I fastened the stake to the pole, leaned over the side and went fishing for the cup. The water was ice cold and the cup was visible on the bottom about five feet down.
More than once my wife suggested we just give up, but I was determined! I'd had that cup for a very long time and was not going to leave it. Besides, it was the start of a two week trip and I didn't fancy not having a cup to drink my tea from! I was starting to get desperate and was contemplating simply diving in and swimming for it when I hooked the cup and retrieved it!
Sadly, I lost that cup again in 2011 on the Long Canyon Loop in Idaho. The snow pack was unusually heavy that year ( about 150% ) and we were doing the loop to durn early in the year. All the stream crossings were a raging torrent and looking back on that trip we should have simply given up. But, I'm nothing if not a thick headed Dutchman, so we pressed on. During one stream crossing my faithful old Sierra club cup was washed away.
I spent some time searching for it hoping it had lodged somewhere on the streambed, but never found it.
So, if anybody finds a Sierra Club cup on the Long Canyon Loop, let me know!
Interestingly, as a result of the influence of the New Wave Ultralight Backpackers, I've been trimming away at my gear in recent years. One change was a switch to a lighter plastic cup carried inside my backpack for a spell. But, just this year I've reverted to the heavy old steel Sierra Club cup clipped to my belt.
Old habits die hard, it seems.
Every dang time we crossed even the smallest trickle on the trail my wife would bug me "pass me your cup so I can take a drink" – I'd have to drop my pack and dig out my plastic cup!
I tried carrying my plastic cup ( a GSI Cascadian, not a bad cup really ) outside the main body of my pack a few different ways, but it was never the same.
At first I really liked the lighter and larger plastic Cascadian, especially when I carry only one pot. I can boil water for my meal, pour off enough for a cuppa tea, then cook the dinner or whatever. But I find in practice, especially when I tramp with my wife, that I carry two pots and make tea by the pot. Then, the somewhat smaller Sierra Club cup does not limit my tea intake, and permits the convenient gulping of trailside water.
I imagine folks that filter or ( GASP! ) chemically treat their water don't find having a cup clipped to yer belt very handy though.
A few years back my wife and I swung through a local pawn shop on the way home. While I was stuck looking at the guns my wife looked over a pile of brass knick knacks and discovered a brass REI 50th anniversary Sierra cup!
We got it for a buck! It shinned up nicely and sits nested with our one remaining original steel cup in our kitchen. Both see regular use in the kitchen for warming maple syrup or melting small amounts of shortening, etc…
The brass cup is lighter than the steel, but I've resisted the urge to use it backpacking. It isn't as sturdy, and I'd hate to loose it!Sep 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm #2029707
"Vargo makes a 750ml monster with a folding handle and lid that weighs 4.5oz and has a $50 price tag."
The lid is way too heavy. The cup weighs in at 79g (2.8 oz) and holds 500ml easily.
And yes, if you drink out of it after you take it off the stove, you will burn your lips. Just like any other metal cup.
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