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Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 09:24:25 MDT Print View

Seems like everyone likes to bag on that out-dated relic of the past, the Sierra cup.

Dinosaur that I am, I still find it useful in the relatively dry areas that I typically hike (mostly Southern California)

When water sources will be a little on the skimpy side, I still find a Sierra cup to be just what I need. It's meager depth and angled sides make it perfect for scooping water out of shallow sources.


I don't know if you can see the little tiny pool well in the above photo, but I was able to extract four liters from that little pool using a Sierra cup.

I pour the water into a temporary container (a cut down 2L Platypus bladder in this case) and then treat the water (I use a Steri-Pen) in that container. I then fill my "final" bladders with the treated water.

My Sierra cup is a rather modern take on the original theme: It's titanium. It also doubles as a measuring cup; I frequently use it as a plate/bowl; it works great as a snow scoop; oh, and you can use it to drink things out of too.

Anybody else got a use for this venerable backcountry gear?

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Edited by hikin_jim on 10/18/2013 09:25:43 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 09:44:14 MDT Print View

here are 2 recent threads
1
2

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 10:19:06 MDT Print View

Ah! Thanks for those links. Haven't been around much lately.

lol. Looks like it's pretty much thumbs down on the Sierra cup. I still like the darned thing for it's original purpose: scooping water out of shallow streams.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

J J
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Plastic on 10/18/2013 12:18:17 MDT Print View

I use these disposable cereal containers now (at left in picture, mini bic and GSI cup for scale). At 0.42 oz it's barely there. Works as well as a sierra cup for scooping into bladders, and does just as well as a metal cup with hot liquids (the small lip at the top makes it easy to hold without burning your fingers). Only about 13oz usable volume (16 oz to the brim), but large enough for a breakfast bowl and its a cup at dinner, since meals are usually straight from the bag or no-cook. Only major potential downside is lack of a handle, which might matter for cold temps when you don't want to get your hand wet.

Smiley face

Edited by jraiderguy on 10/18/2013 12:18:50 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 12:33:26 MDT Print View

Jim,

I haven't used my Sierra cups for 25 years now. I'll grant them the advantages you state but the only time I'd use one now is if I also wanted a mini cooking pot. Otherwise, I'd go with a lighter-weight, cheaper plastic option. Titanium would help on the weight. Maybe MYOGing a Jet-boil-style accordion of sheet aluminum JB Welded to the bottom would make it multipurpose with Esbit tablets (although it would make it a more fragile snow scoop).

But if not planning to cook on it, I'd cut 3 to 4 inches off the bottom of an HDPE quart-sized milk jug. VERY light. Totally free at the recycling center. Dish-washer-safe. Just as good for scooping from shallow water sources. Wide-mouthed enough to use a Steri-pen. One can mark volume measurements on the side with a Sharpie. 2 or 3 stack pretty well for a family trip. It's squarish dimensions let you use a flat side to scoop from very shallow water while the tighter corners are great to pour from.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 16:29:01 MDT Print View

Keep up the good work Jim.

Camp in Rockhouse
Last November.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 16:50:32 MDT Print View

Ideally, I go out hiking multiple times per week. The Sierra cup is pretty solid and just stays in my pack. A quart milk jug cut down wouldn't do that for me (but is a good idea for "bigger" trips where I'm doing more specific gear planning and I'm not just grabbing my general pack).

On at least one occasion, I was glad to have had it when I forgot to bring a pot. Works pretty well on some stoves (uh, but not an MSR Dragonfly; that was a stretch).


It is a pretty lousy coffee cup though. Cools too fast and tends to spill.

Lots of interesting water scoop ideas though.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Don Morris
(hikermor) - F
SierraCup on 10/18/2013 18:33:27 MDT Print View

I fabricated a lid for the folding handle model and carry it as a small last ditch cooking rig. It holds an Esbit fuel holder, some Esbit, the crucial tea bags, and guarantees access to that indispensable nice cup of tea. You can get the folding handle variety in either titanium or SS; I went for SS,noting that is was half the price of the T, but only weighed a fraction of an ounce more. So far I have not thrown my back out....

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 21:13:13 MDT Print View

Nice gear, Nick! All yours? Super vintage!


I still for whatever reason have this love for the old Svea 123 despite the fact that it came out in 1955.

External frame packs, not so much. It's not just the pack weight. I just have never been as comfortable in an external frame pack, and I've used a number over the years. I last used an external frame backpack for backpacking in 2001. Once I got an internal frame, I never looked back. I find that even a frameless pack is more comfortable than an external frame if you pack it right.

I did get an external pack recently -- of sorts. It's a child carrier.


Freaking heavy, lol.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/18/2013 21:28:54 MDT Print View

>"Freaking heavy, lol."

Yeah, but the contents are so multi-purpose: Talks, eats, poops, runs around.

Nothing else in your pack does so much.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/19/2013 07:08:50 MDT Print View

"Yeah, but the contents are so multi-purpose: Talks, eats, poops, runs around.

Nothing else in your pack does so much."

For the UL community, I would suggest bringing a gerbil-it does all the above and weighs much less. OK, maybe doesn't "talk", but that's more our fault for not understanding gerbil.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 10/19/2013 07:10:21 MDT.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/19/2013 10:49:59 MDT Print View

I still like the Sierra cup in ti. If I share a pot I use one to eat from and setting on a hot flat rock by a fire keeps my cocoa hot.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/20/2013 19:15:11 MDT Print View

"Nice gear, Nick! All yours? Super vintage!"

Yep. All original. Total weight was around 18 lbs, the point being that even in the 70's some of us were lightweight -- long before Ray Jardine invented lightweight backpacking or Al Gore invented the Internet.

There is a trip report on my website. I have posted the link several times, so I don't want to bore anyone.

BTW, I still like that external.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/21/2013 19:12:54 MDT Print View

Total weight was around 18 lbs, the point being that even in the 70's some of us were lightweight -- long before Ray Jardine invented lightweight backpacking or Al Gore invented the Internet.
Nice! Dad and I used to go out without out a tent or stove to save weight. I think our weights were in the mid 20's. Got caught a few times in rain, but always made it through. Ah, memories.

But, um, just to be clear, I carry a shelter now. :)

There is a trip report on my website. I have posted the link several times, so I don't want to bore anyone.
Lots of good stuff on your blog, Nick, but I'm not seeing this particular post. What might the title be? Sorry to hear about your pop up camper. That really sucks. I hope they get their just rewards.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/21/2013 19:25:50 MDT Print View

A Sierra cup is just good universal multi-use gear: cup, bowl, pot, bear repellent (beat it with a stick), berry picking basket, etc. I got a Ti one at REI before they discontinued them. Perfect in it's imperfection :)

Dean L
(AldoLeopold) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/21/2013 19:39:39 MDT Print View

My Sierra cup has been on approximately 330 trips over forty years: backpacking, canoeing, car camping, fishing trips, day hikes, X-skiing, etc. Other than that I never use one.

;)

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim)

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/21/2013 20:14:34 MDT Print View

Yeah, but the contents are so multi-purpose: Talks, eats, poops, runs around.

Nothing else in your pack does so much.
Ha! Yes, my daughter truly is multi-function (or multi-frustration??).

But let me put this in terms a backpacker can really relate to: Twelve, count 'em, twelve Garcia bear canisters. Yep, my daughter weighs about the same as 12 Garcia canisters. How's that for UL? (makes a Sierra cup seem down right wispy-light) :)

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: In Defense of the Venerable Sierra Cup on 10/21/2013 20:54:28 MDT Print View

"Lots of good stuff on your blog, Nick, but I'm not seeing this particular post."

Nostalgic Hike with Chuckawalla Bill

and

Nostalgic Hike to Carey's Castle