Cooking in paper? Energia pots fold like origami
No matter how thin and titanium-y you make a pot for camping, it's still going to take up some room in your backpack. The Energia Hexa Pot, on the other hand, folds flat. When pulled out of its packaging, it blossoms into a full-sized cooking pot.
The Hexa Pot is aimed primarily at backpackers and other backcountry users looking to cut size and weight from their loads. It's also advertised as a way to save time on cleaning. Since it's disposable, you can just throw it away after using it (or pack it out if you're in the backcountry).
The Hexa Pot is sold in packages of two pots and two lids. It's pre-folded, so all the user has to do is open the package and stretch it out into its three-dimensional pot form. When folded out, it looks similar to a hexagonal Chinese take-out container. It has a lid and grab flaps, and the hexagonal shape makes for easy pouring via the corner creases.
Energia says that its pots are good for boiling/purifying water and cooking things like pasta, soup and chili. The small pot holds a liter (33.8 fl oz) and the large pot holds two liters (67.6 fl oz).
The Hexa Pot's disposable, single-use nature seems contrary to the eco-friendly slant of most modern outdoor products - you're basically replacing an item that you'll use many times with something you'll throw away after one use. Energia talks its way around this dilemma - and even advertises the Hexa Pot as eco-friendly - by saying that it's 100 percent biodegradable and should break down within two or three years. Still, a pot that you use and re-use for years or decades seems to encourage much less impact.
If you're wondering how a paper pot can sit on a flame without burning, Energia explains that the pot's flash point is more than double the boiling point of water. When it's full of water, heat passes through the paper and heats the water, and the pot never gets hot enough to ignite. When the water has been emptied and fully evaporated, the Hexa Pot will ignite quickly, so you could seemingly dispose of it in a fire rather than throw it away. The paper uses a waterproof coating to prevent water from soaking through.
While the 1.5-ounce (42.5-gram) weight of the small pot + lid and 2.5-ounce (71-gram) weight of the large pot + lid are definitely ultralight, the Hexa Pot's single-use nature means you'd have to pack one for every night that you wanted to cook. That could add a lot of excess weight and material during a multi-day or multi-week trip. Energia does mention that you could use a pot up to two or three times, which would help save space and weight. However, on longer trips, the extra weight of multiple pots could quickly negate any weight advantages of the lightweight, paper construction.
Energia was unsuccessful in raising the seed money it aimed for on Kickstarter earlier this year. That didn't seem to deter it, however, and it plans to launch an Amazon store to sell the paper pots on August 1. Prices start at US$5.49 for a pack of two small pots, and pre-orders are available now.