The Bear Bowl Camping Pot Is the Size of Your Wallet
Like fiberglass origami, it snaps together for cooking and folds down to a small square when it’s time to hit the trail
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There is no shortage of lightweight camping pots on the market. But on multi-day trips, bulk matters just as much as weight. Traditional options—even ultralight nesting sets—take up significant space in a pack.
This is the problem Cory and Heidi Santiago set out to address with their company, Bear Minimum. The Spokane, Washington–based couple have created a foldable one-liter pot that weighs just 6.5 ounces. Made out of Teflon-coated fiberglass, the Baby Bear Bowl ($30) is a square, origami-like design with a p-cord-covered handle across the top resembling a Chinese-food takeout container. When not in use, the bowl unsnaps and folds down into the size and shape of a wallet.
Thanks to the food-grade, heat-resistant material and an aluminum baseplate, you can fill the Bear Bowl with water or food and place it on your stove as you would a typical pot. And since the whole thing lies flat when unsnapped, a simple wipe with a sponge is all you need to clean it. Two larger sizes, the Mama Bear Bowl ($40) and Papa Bear Bowl ($50), accommodate two and four liters, respectively.
We have yet to test the Bear Bowl, but the concept of something so light and, more important, with such a slight profile is appealing. The handle over the top could make stirring a bit difficult, and the flexible material isn’t as durable as traditional aluminum or stainless steel (Santiago says he has gotten about 70 uses out of a single Bear Bowl before it started to break down). But for trips where every ounce and cubic inch matters, those are worthwhile trade-offs. Others agree: the Santiagos raised over $41,000 on Kickstarter and nearly $80,000 on Indiegogo in 2017, and they got a $100,000 deal on the season-ten premiere of Shark Tank earlier this month.