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Justin Lichter (aka Trauma) Reviews the BOT

Eating Out of the BOT

"Trauma" aka Justin Lichter Reviews the BOT

June 23, 2013

Every so often an idea comes around that makes you slap the side of your head and say, “why didn’t I think of that”. The BOT by Vargo is one of those notions. So sim­ple, yet so practical.

A few weeks ago I tried one out on a two week ski trip through the Sierra Nevada Moun­tains, fol­low­ing the cor­ri­dor of the Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail. I skied about 300 miles through vary­ing con­di­tions and weather. I was excited to test out the BOT and this was a per­fect trial.

It took me a day or two to get com­fort­able with the BOT. The higher cen­ter of grav­ity ini­tially played tricks while I was cook­ing. I am used to the typ­i­cal .9 and 1.3 Liter Ti pot shape, which is so sta­ble that I hardly ever have a cook­ing dis­as­ter. On the first night cook­ing we were camp­ing in the snow. I piled some sticks in the snow and cooked on top of them to pre­vent melt­ing and set­tling, how­ever I did have a tip-over. Luck­ily I didn’t lose my whole din­ner! Also on the first day, it was snow­ing and windy with highs only in the 20’s. The top of my BOT froze and I was unable to open it until I set it on my stove to warm it up. Not a huge deal, but I would not rec­om­mend it for win­ter camp­ing or win­ter con­di­tions. The tem­per­a­tures warmed up for the rest of the trip and I had no other freez­ing issues, despite con­tin­ued overnight tem­per­a­tures below freezing.

I also came to the con­clu­sion that water boils a slower in the BOT. I believe this is due to the shape. I will try to toy around at home and make my alco­hol stove a lit­tle more effi­cient for a nar­row pot bot­tom, so I don’t lose as much heat and flames up the sides. This should help the boil time a lot.

I ini­tially thought that I would need a sil­i­con band near the top to help me pick up the heated BOT since I did not carry pot grip­pers. I quickly learned that due to the shape this was unnec­es­sary. The upper area of the tita­nium never really got too hot to han­dle. Tita­nium is a poor con­duc­tor as far as met­als are con­cerned, but in this case it was per­fect because it aided in the sim­plic­ity of the product.

My biggest con­cern was that I some­times mis-threaded the lid back on to the base and it became stuck. This was more of a nui­sance than any­thing. All it took was a lit­tle tap on a rock or a tree and the lid would then come off and I could reat­tach it prop­erly. Not a real issue once you learned how to deal with it.

After tens of thou­sands of miles of drink­ing from reused Gatorade, Pow­er­ade, and other plas­tic water bot­tles, I thought it would be great to have the oppor­tu­nity to save weight, while also going BPA free. It seemed like a no-brainer, after all my plas­tic water bot­tle typ­i­cally sits on the out­side of my pack and in the sun all day. The sun causes the water bot­tles which aren’t meant to be reused to release the BPA, a poten­tial car­cino­gen. Why not save weight and cut the BPA out at the same time?

All in all, I quickly became accus­tomed to the intri­ca­cies of using the BOT and I highly rec­om­mend it. While hik­ing a water bot­tle is likely your most used pieces of equipment. The wide mouth on the BOT han­dles and drinks smoothly and the shape will fit well into most out­side stretch pock­ets. The lid doesn’t leak at all and it is per­fect for mak­ing tea, Crys­tal Light, hot choco­late, and even sav­ing left­overs for the next day. The Vargo BOT is a ver­sa­tile tool to add to any out­ing. It quickly became my new favorite prod­uct and I am excited to add it to my kit. Why didn’t I think of that years ago!

P.S.- I also just used the BOT on a John Muir Trail thru-hike. On the final day of the hike I descended about 8000 ver­ti­cal feet with­out open­ing the lid. I then got into a car and drove to sea level. The pres­sure change cre­ated a vac­uum seal on the lid that I couldn’t wres­tle open for the life of me. A few days later I went home (ele­va­tion 7,000 feet) and the lid prac­ti­cally fell off when I grabbed it. I felt like a weak­ling, but appar­ently there have been some other instances of this as well. So keep this in mind on big descents and when head­ing out of the moun­tains. Here’s a link that Vargo posted for some tips on how to deal with this: http://www.vargooutdoors.com/blog/screwing-around-with-the-bot-unsticking-a-stuck-lid/.

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