This is my second Snow Peak 600 cup. My previous one got irreparably damaged (read as "stood on") last season. Obviously I'm a big fan of this cup if I bought another one, but there were always two things that I had wanted to improve about it - by now you should all know that I am a habitual hacker of gear.
The first thing I had always wanted to modify were the handles. For the most part they're pretty darn perfect, but they are bare metal and they get hot! I like to carry a lightweight aluminum pot gripper for this very reason and so that I can safely and firmly pick the cup up off the stove or fire. I wished that handles were insulated from the heat so that I didn't have to carry the pot gripper. There have been lots of really clever modifications posted on backpacking blogs for solutions to this "problem" and the one I have wanted to try was using Plasti Dip (tool dip) to coat the handles.
Plasti Dip, for those of you not familiar with the product, could be thought of as Duct Tape in a can. It's a multipurpose air dry, synthetic rubber coating that can be easily applied by spraying, brushing or dipping. The Plasti Dip protective coating resists moisture, acids, abrasion, corrosion, skidding/slipping, and provides a comfortable, controlled grip. It also provides a thick barrier against the transfer of heat. Note: Plasti Dip is not particularly flame retardant, so I'm not 100% sure how this would work.
With my new Snow Peak cup in hand, I set to work. I chose to use the aerosol version of Plasti Dip for no other reason that it just happened to be on sale at my local hardware store. I used some old newspaper and masking tape to mask off the body of the cup, leaving just the two folding handles exposed.
In preparation for the Plasti Dip coating, I used wire wool to scuff up the surface of the handles and finished by using some denatured alcohol and clean cloth to remove any oil and grease. Then, following the instructions on the can I applied liberal coats of Plasti Dip to the handles making sure to focus the majority of the spray on the upper bend section where my fingers would go. I wanted to avoid having too much Plasti Dip on the lower half of the handles but knew it would be hard to not get a little over-spray.
After several coats of Plasti Dip and waiting the correct amount of time for each new layer to dry, I ended up with a finish that I'm pretty happy with. I've performed an indoor boil test using an alcohol stove and the handles worked as hoped, acting as a protective heat barrier to keep the handles cool to the touch and more importantly it didn't burst into flames. I'll need to conduct some outdoor stove tests to see how it performs when the flame gets blown around more.
The second thing I had wanted to change or improve about the SP600 was the lid, or lack thereof. On my old cup I had struggled along using a makeshift (but ultralight!) lid fashioned out of some aluminum foil. Actually I had crafted several lids like this over time because they are far from durable, even if you take great care.
I wanted a much better solution and was willing to trade a little extra weight to achieve that. Some of you may know that Jason Klass (of Gear Talk fame) designed a superb, lightweight after-market lid for the SP600 some time ago to address the need for a more durable solution. He even went as far as to partner with a cottage manufacturer to have the lid productionalized and made available for purchase in two variants - plain and with strainer holes. Jason is a good friend of mine so I reached out to him to get one of his lids, opting for the version with strainer holes - no, not just to save weight, but I like the way you're thinking!
The new lid arrived a few days later and I was extremely satisfied with the fit and finish. It's made from aluminum, not titanium, but even so it only weighs 16g. I am willing to accept an extra 16g for the added benefits of being able to lift the lid off using the knob on the top, use it as a strainer if I need to drain hot water, and being able to hang the lid on the lip of the cup using the knob. Lid problem solved right? Well not quite...
The wooden knob that comes with the lid is the perfect size and very ergonomic, but it's unfinished. I felt like I had one last quick gear hack left in me, so I removed the wooden knob and gave it a few quick coats of the same Plasti Dip that I had used on the handles. Now it not only matched the color of my newly coated folding handles (did I mention I'm slightly OCD?), it also offers the knob a little extra traction for my fingers to grab on to. Now I'm happy :-)
What's your preferred cooking pot and have you made any modifications or changes to it to better suit your own needs?
Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.
Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.