In Praise of a Cup


It’s better to not even go into Wal-Mart because I start thinking I need things.

First I decided I needed a tablecloth, but the super flimsy plastic one for $2 was torn by the wind almost immediately. The next time I was in Wal-Mart, I looked for a stronger one. Once I found a design I liked, I decided I needed the clamps made to hold a tablecloth on a picnic table. There you go, three purchases I really didn’t need to make. (I did use the second cloth for at least four months, making its cost about a quarter a week. The clamps were too small for the thick Forest Service table, and I ended up returning them. My point is, browsing often leads to buying, often of things I don’t even need.)


Cup with handles unfolded for use.

I thought long and hard before I bought the cup. I looked at it in the camping aisle during several shopping trips and asked myself if I really needed it. Well, no, I didn’t really need it. I was currently boiling water in my glass sauce pan, and I could continue to boil water that way. But it was a (minor) hassle to haul out the glass saucepan any time I needed to heat a cup or two of water for tea or cocoa or instant mashed potatoes. Being able to boil small amounts of water in a cup that fit in the tote with my bowl, plates, utensils, and cast iron skillet would make my life easier, right?

Many times in my life as a consumer, I’ve bought something to make my life easier, only to find, not so much. In the case of the cup, it really has helped.

Having folding handles means it fits easily in the tote with my kitchen items. (The glass saucepan is kept in a

Cup with handles folded for easy storage.

Cup with handles folded for easy storage.

special padded bag which hangs at the back of the van, making it just a bit of a pain in my neck to pull it out every time I want to heat a cup of water.) Since the cup is stored in the tote with the cooking supplies I use most, it’s convenient to get to when I want to use it.

I like the size of the cup. It has an 18 ounce capacity, meaning I can get two cups (16 ounces) of liquid in it without filling it to the rim. Unless I’m heating enough water to fill my thermos or serve tea to a group, I don’t need more than two cups of hot water at a time.

My cup is made of stainless steel, which I appreciate. I don’t trust aluminum cookware, but I feel safe boiling water in stainless steel. The cup is easy to clean if I heat something (milk, butter, olive oil,) instead of or in water in the cup.

I find the use I’ve already gotten from the cup has made for money well spent. While I wouldn’t say the cup is a must have item just because I like it, I do think a camp cup with a folding handle is a useful item to have, especially for someone traveling light who doesn’t want to haul around a saucepan. I’ve you got a few extra bucks in your kitchen budget, you might want to invest in one.

I took the photos above of the cup with folding handles I bought at Wal-Mart. sells similar cups in a variety of sizes at a variety of prices. The photos below is a  link to a cup available on Amazon. If you buy anything from Amazon after clicking through links on my blog, I get an advertising fee.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

3 Responses »

  1. Much of the stuff at Walmart (esp their own brand) is crap, so you have to be careful. I also hate how they keep shuffling stuff around, so you have to spend more time in the store, which they hope encourages you to buy more.

    Those folding handles are handy. I used to have a small stainless steel frying pan with handles like that, but I left it on the picnic table overnight, and I think a raccoon ran off with it. I hope he figures out how the folding handles work…..

  2. I have this cup also. It’s great when camping as you can heat soup, beans, whatever, in it and do so either on the charcoal grill or over the fire in the fire pit.

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