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Plates and Mugs on the Road – Titanium

Any time you’re doing any camping, at some point you’ve got to figure out what to do for plates and mugs. Chelsea and I have tried a number of the usual ideas – various versions of paper plates and cups. Not only are they not environmentally friendly, they just don’t last. We looked at a lot of possibilities online and finally decided on SnowPeak titanium plates and mugs.

We’ve been using them now for the last eight months and we are really pleased. We’re still thinking of adding squishable bowls and cups (we found them on REI) but for now we like our titanium, and here’s why.

Titanium

The titanium is an amazing material. It’s very light, very strong, won’t rust, and doesn’t have a metallic taste or smell. It’s amazingly easy to clean – the only time we have to use soap is when we’ve eaten something with oils. Even when we have washed the dishes after a delay, the food comes off with no trouble at all.

We’d suggest being careful about what kind of scrubber you use – we used a very common style of sponge with a green scrubber material on the other side, and the green material scratched the plates.

The plates and mugs transfer heat and cold immediately – they are hot where the hot food actually sits, but cool where there’s no food; and they’ll frost immediately with something like ice cream (we had one freeze onto Chelsea’s shirt). You’ll need to pay attention to where you hold them, but they are easy to hold, as the entire thing doesn’t get hot or cold, just where the food or liquid is.

We don’t use metal utensils with them – we use a durable material that feels like a plastic. Each of us has a fork, knife and spoon set made of this material – we can use it for extremely hot foods and liquids and it works really well. I wouldn’t like to use metal utensils with the titanium, but that’s just an individual preference.

I set one of our plates on a hot burner on an electric hotplate (the burner had been turned off but was still hot) and it did discolor a bit, but it hasn’t affected the performance at all. We haven’t used any of our mugs or plates over the gas stove yet, so I can’t report on whether they will discolor with our gas stove cooking heat.

Plates

The plates are extremely light and are reputed to be very strong – we haven’t tested the strength part yet, nor do we plan on doing it so! We like the lip on the edge of the plates, as it holds the food in and makes it easy to eat while holding them in awkward situations.

The size of the plates is deceivingly small – the amount of food they hold is about as much as we could possibly eat at one sitting. We would like them a little bit bigger – big enough to handle two pieces of toast side by side. The plates weigh about 2 ounces, with a diameter of 7.5 inches. We tuck them into the side of our collapsible food cooler.

Mugs

We got the single wall mugs with lids and collapsible handles. We love our mugs, but they do have a couple of features that we’d love to see changed.

On the upside, the mugs are huge – I don’t know the full capacity, but it’s probably about 30 ounces. They hold an astonishing amount of food and liquid. We use them as coffee cups and we often put our whole meal in them and use them as bowls. The wide mouths make them easy to use, too.
We love the folding handles – it makes it easier to pack the mugs, and it’s much easier to eat hot or cold food using the handles to hold the mug.

Perhaps the most important thing we’d like to see changed is the measuring system. Measurements are marked on the outside every four ounces, up to sixteen ounces. It would be useful to have the measuring marks continue on up the mug.

Since the measurements are marked to be read from the inside, you’ve got to read backwards if you’re trying to read from the outside. However, it’s nearly impossible to read from the inside as it’s too dark to read the numbers – they are always “buried” in the shade inside the cup.

Another annoyance is that the mugs weren’t sold as being right-handed or left-handed, but for a right handed person, the mugs are really awkward – it’s impossible to hold the mugs by the handle and measure at the same time, and still expect to read the measurements – the markings are on the wrong side. It would be fine for a leftie.

These mugs are not necessarily easy to pack – the size is noticeable. We pack our spices in them during transport, and that works fine for us to save space.

The annoyances aside, we have come to really like our mugs, and it would take a lot for us to part with them. We like the size and the convenience of them, and despite the annoyances of the measuring system, we do find it useful. We mix up small amounts of powdered milk for use in cooking; we use them for ice cream; macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, stew, and rice, coffee, and hot chocolate.

We can also boil water over the stove in them, and make an individual one-pot meal. That’s really handy. They do have a lid to them with a slit that can be used to drain water when boiling pasta, or can be used for keeping tea and coffee warmer than if they didn’t have a lid.

When all is said and done, we really like our mugs and plates, and we’re very pleased we got them. We’ve even used them under circumstances when other plates and cups were available, but we felt more comfortable with ours.

Where to buy

We found our titanium mugs and plates at REI. You can try Massey’s and eBay, and it’s worth giving Amazon a try.