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.)
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
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. Amazon.com 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.