These soft silicone bowls are the perfect camp cookware.

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Some people marry for love, others marry for money. I joke that I married my wife because of her backpacking gear. It wasn’t so much about the big stuff: I have my own collection of tents, and at 6’2”, I’m too tall to fit into her sleeping bags or use her backpacks. It was the little luxuries that won me over. Where I cooked with an aluminum pot and off-brand container stove, she had a JetBoil, and hers Snow Peak Mini Hozuki was a better nightlight than any of the chunky lanterns I brought into our relationship. But of all our now jointly owned hiking gear, there’s nothing you want more than your Guyot Designs Squishy Bowls.

These two silicone bowls, 26 ounces and 9 ounces, are more like a bowl and a cup, they are really squishy. They squash in the bottom of a backpack without taking up space or forcing you to stuff them with your spare socks like a typical stiff bowl. They’re great on trips where pack space is at a premium: international destinations, overnight missions with a small backpack. I also tossed them in a compression sack with my spare layers to maximize space. But they are also rigid and reliable enough for regular use. Thanks to their deep design (they’re shaped like a globe with the top third cut off) they don’t splash around and the soft, insulating material ensures my hands never get burned, even when I fill the smallest one with hot coffee.

While the Squishy Bowls aren’t the lightest containers on the market (at around 3.3 ounces, the large one is about twice the weight of a standard REI plastic camping bowl), they make up for the extra grams in a number of ways. For starters, they are unbreakable. I’m notoriously rough on my kitchen equipment: I’ve broken my fair share of sporks, punctured water bottles, and melted dishes on stray coals. But no matter how roughly I have treated these bowls, they always bounce back and are older than my wife and relationship of 8 years. They’re also easy to clean, never holding on to the ghost spice from last weekend’s chili mac. Unlike normal collapsible bowls, there are no crevices for food particles to get stuck.

The more time passes, the more uses I find for the Squishy Bowls. On a day of paddling last summer, I dumped the container in the bottom of my pack in case we needed to salvage our little raft. I also found them useful for collecting water from small streams – all I have to do is mold the rim of the cup or bowl against the bottom, and the drip flows right in. (Just be sure to wash them downstairs before eating.)

Look: I’m not one to mess with true love. If you find your soul mate, the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, God bless you. But marriage is forever, like the best camping cookware. So before you put a ring on it, maybe take a look inside your gear closet first.

Shop Guyot Designs Squishy Bowls; $15 for a set of 2; 1.5oz (small) 3.3oz (long)

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
Articles: 8621