By Cameron Ownbey

It is often challenging for new backpackers to decide which gear in that giant pile is important to take, and which to leave behind. I remember the early days of  “packing for a trip” were very exciting, fun and enlightening but also confusing. That being said, there are only a few items that are almost impossible to improvise in the wilderness.  A knife and cooking container would likely be the most difficult. My cooking container of choice is a metal mug.
I prefer a titanium mug. I choose titanium because it is very durable, light and withstands high temperatures. If you select it carefully, it will be shaped so that a 32oz water bottle fits inside it.  That way the two items nest perfectly and the cup doesn’t take up much room in your pack.  It’s also great on most types of fire, so  you can use it to heat water or cook in.
If you’re like me, you enjoy any item that does double duty.  My cup is great for collecting snow, digging holes, and is the perfect item for melting snow or purifying water over a wood fire, in a pinch. Make sure the metal cup you choose is not plastic or Teflon-coated, as that will melt off when cooking over a flame and make your food or beverage taste nasty.  I consider my titanium mug a perfect complement to my water bottle setup. Both of them accompany me on all my overnight trips as my essential items.
Happy Hiking!

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