These Squishy Silicone Bowls Are the Perfect Camp Cookware
Why is our editor so in love with the Guyot Designs Squishy Bowls? They're easy to pack, insulating, and—best of all—indestructible.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Some people marry for love, some people marry for money. I joke that I married my wife for her backpacking gear. It wasn’t so much the big stuff—I have my own tent collection, and at 6’2” I’m too tall to fit in her sleeping bags or wear her packs. It was the little luxuries that won me over. Where I cooked with an aluminum pot and an off-brand canister stove, she had a JetBoil, and her Snow Peak Mini Hozuki was a better night light than any of the chunky lanterns I brought to our relationship. But of all our now jointly owned hiking gear, there’s nothing I covet as much as her Guyot Designs Squishy Bowls.
These two silicone bowls—at 26 ounces and 9 ounces, they’re more like a bowl and a mug—are indeed squishy. They squash into the bottom of a pack without eating up space or forcing you to stuff them with your spare socks like a typical rigid bowl. They’re great on trips where pack space is at a minimum: international destinations, overnight missions with a small pack. I’ve also tossed them into a compression sack with my spare layers to maximize space. But they’re also stiff and reliable enough for regular use. Thanks to their deep design—they’re shaped roughly like a globe with the top third cut off—they don’t slosh, and the soft, insulating material ensures my hands never get burned, even when I fill the smaller one with hot coffee.
While the Squishy Bowls aren’t the absolute lightest vessels on the market—at about 3.3 ounces, the large one is about twice the weight of a standard-issue plastic camp bowl from REI—they make up for the extra grams in a few ways. For starters, they’re unbreakable. I’m notoriously rough on my kitchen gear: I’ve snapped my fair share of sporks, poked holes in water bottles, and melted plates with stray embers. But no matter how roughly I’ve treated these bowls, they always bounce back, and they’re older than my wife and my 8-year-old relationship. They’re easy to clean too, never holding onto the phantom spice from last weekend’s chili mac. Unlike normal collapsible bowls, there are no crevices for food particles to get stuck in.
The more time passes, the more uses I find for the Squishy Bowls. On a day paddle last summer, I tossed the bowl in the bottom of my daypack in case we needed to bail out our small raft. I’ve also found them useful for collecting water from small streams: All I have to do is mold the edge of the mug or bowl against the bottom, and the trickle flows right in. (Just make sure you wash them out before you chow down.)
Look: I’m not one to mess with true love. If you find your soulmate, the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, then God bless you. But marriage is forever—just like the best camp cookware. So before you put a ring on it, maybe take a peek inside their gear closet first.
Buy Guyot Designs Squishy Bowls; $15 for a set of 2; 1.5 oz (sm) 3.3 oz (lg)