A Cup A Cup A Cup A Cup A Cup

You may sip from your Canteen or Pack Hydration Badder. You might guzzle from your Can or gulp from a Bottle. Wine Skins are cool if that's what you're into and of course you might chance a sip directly from the source (dangerous) but if you camp sooner or later, you'll need a Cup.

How stupid does that advice sound? Bring a cup.
Well there are Cups and then there are Cups. In survival school, students often are required to make their own Bowls and Cups, not to mention Spoons and a Fork now and then. Luckily we don't need to do all that (although it is a very cool project) we can bring suitable Cupage on our treks.
But what kind?

One of the most common and useful cups for camping is of course the old enameled steel "cowboy" cup. These chipped workhorses of the back country dinning room have been around for centuries.
With good reason, they are rugged and smart looking. I think the inevitable chipping just adds to their eye appeal.
Here is a modern version of the classic, instead of blue with white speckle it is black and has an unpainted rim. It reminds me of the night sky and I think it is a sharp looking cup. Many seasoned trekkers know that although heavy, these cups offer their owner some interesting features. For instants, the cup cools quickly. This might sound like a disadvantage but the contrary is true. These things get HOT. The warmth is transferred to the hands and if you've ever watched a cowboy movie you know what I'm talking about. The old saddle trap, collar up hat down sitting around the fire, huddled over a cup warming his hands, face as well as his insides. It's a drinking experience.

The purpose made "Camp" cup is handy in size and weight. It's aluminium composition makes it a joy to carry.

Along the same lines, the plastic camp cup is lite and even graduated in some examples such as this one. This can be handy when preparing meals that require measurement of water or other ingredients.

The "new" standard is of course the stamped "wire" handle camp cup. Generous and tough these cups are great for just about any use, even as a small cook pot. I can't tell you how many meals of soup or noodles I've whipped up in these. The bail style wire handle keeps it manageable when hot.

The military had a similar idea and has produced "canteen" cups for the troops that have folding wire or in this case stamped metal handles. Nice size, well made, very heavy.

Not to be out done the military Mess Monkeys over seas made a design that IS more frying pan then cup but does a bang up job.

The "D" rings on the handle enable the cook to add a stick of wood to extend reach or avoid burning hands.

Some cups suffer an identity crisis, they don't know if they are cups or pots or frying pans. what this usually means is they are hardly adequate at any of those jobs. Such is the cup on the Svea 123 stove.

It's a sad little cup just trying to fit in. The handle is removable.

Suspiciously missing from my list of camp cups is of course the classic Sierra cup. This cup is a bit strange to me, it's design is wide at the top and narrow at the base. To me this seems a bit tipsy having so small a footprint and the ultra wide mouth cools the drink off so fast I find it counter productive. If you've ever seen a nautical mug used on ships at sea, you understand how and why they work. The wide base keeps them from tipping and the narrow chimney style opening keeps the steamy brew from cooling to fast. Why would any one want a cup with reverse features? The Sierra cups do look cool and make a neat micro fry pan but I think the idea was under thunk.
So many cups to chose from one might wonder what cup is the chosen vessel for you. Only you know what would work best however. Strong, lite and packable cups make the best drinking buddies.
You might ask what the tiny cowboy cup is used for.

So let us lift a glass to the cup.
Bottoms up.

Safe travels