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Cooking lunch on top of 14,067-foot Missouri Mountain during a backpacking trip.

Sea to Summit sent over their X-Set 11 cookset package to round out my bikepacking setup. But as I pulled it out of the box and started looking at the primary pot (called the X-Kettle), I realized, “Wait a second: this pot has plastic sides! How the heck am I supposed to boil water in here? Is this really going to work?”

I put it to the test to find out.

Out on the Trail

The trick to the X-Kettle is that the silicone sides angle inward from the base, meaning that the base is wider than the top. Therefore, as long as the flames from your heat source stay confined to the base of the pot and don’t lick around the sides, you’re golden! When used on a small backpacking stove like a Pocket Rocket, you’ll have no problems at all. You could even use the X-Kettle on a bigger propane stove, as the bottom of the Kettle is quite wide.

However, attempting to use this Kettle over an open fire could prove problematic. Theoretically, if the flame from the fire was confined to just the base of the Kettle, you should be alright–but that would be much more difficult to manage than a propane stove. If you’re planning to cook over an open fire, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. But when paired with pretty much any stove, the X-Kettle works superbly!

In addition to the collapsible sides the Kettle features a clear, removable top so you can see if your water is boiling yet. There is also a pair of handles you can swing out of the heat of the fire plus a pouring spout if you want to pour water into the two included X-Mugs.

The Kettle has a max capacity of 1.3L and a safe boiling capacity of 1L–plenty of liquid for a couple of dehydrated meals.

If you want to measure out a specific amount of water for your dehydrated meal, the X-Mugs come in handy. Each X-Mug is graduated on the inside, allowing you to quickly and easily measure out the perfect amount of fluid.

On some occasions, I poured water straight from the Kettle into my mugs for oatmeal and coffee, or into the packaged bag of my dehydrated meal. But if you want to save space and weight by re-packing your meals into ziplock bags, you can easily pour your food straight into the kettle after your water has boiled, simmer your meal there, and eat straight from the kettle afterward. The bottom cools quite quickly, and the sides never get all that warm.

X-Set 11, fully secured. Banana for scale.

The true genius of the X-Set 11 system is how packable it is. The entire Kettle collapses down into a disc that’s only 35mm tall, and both of the X-Mugs nest inside of it, with the cap closing the system down.

The only negative to this system is that the fastener that keeps the entire package together is basically a glorified rubber band–which I promptly lost the first time I used it. However, since it really was just a rubber band, I simply grabbed a standard rubber band that came with my mail–bingo, fixed. I probably saved a few grams, too.

This entire cookware set weighs just 11oz. But if that’s too much weight and you’re only using the cookware for one person, you can easily ditch one of the X-Mugs and just travel with the Kettle and one mug.

MSRP: $64.95

Thanks to Sea to Summit for providing the X-Set 11 for review.

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