The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Sea to Summit X Set 32 Review

This is the only collapsible cookware set tested that will save space in your backpack.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $130 List | $129.95 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Packable, easy to store and transport, quick to boil water
Cons:  Requires extra attention while cooking, potential durability issues, expensive
Manufacturer:   Sea to Summit
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 17, 2019
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 15
  • Cooking Performance - 25% 6
  • Packability - 20% 10
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 4
  • Ease of Use - 15% 4
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Sea to Summit X Set 32 features a collapsible silicon sidewall construction with an anodized aluminum base, earning our Top Pick for Packability. This collapsible architecture makes it easy to put into a backpack while saving space, and it's built for one to two people who plan on exploring the backcountry and need to capitalize on space. It comes with a 2.8L pot, one 8-inch pan, and one 1.3L kettle. Each piece nestles into itself, making it thin and packable. It's not as lightweight as the MSR Trail Mini Duo which weighs a mere 0.7lbs; nor is it as durable as the Stanley Adventure Base Camp. While it doesn't perform well in some metrics, it is our best recommendation for those looking to save a little space in the backcountry.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Packable, easy to store and transport, quick to boil waterComprehensive, high end materialsSturdy construction and efficiency-oriented heat exchanger ring, locking universal pot gripperEnvironment and health-friendly ceramic construction, lightweight and versatile overall constructionDurable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lid
Cons Requires extra attention while cooking, potential durability issues, expensivePot handle gets hot, heavyHeavy, especially for a kit that requires addition of other features, heat exchanger ring is a little messyFragile coating and pots dent easily, no features beyond two basic potsHeavy, no non-stick coating
Bottom Line This is the only collapsible cookware set tested that will save space in your backpack.A comprehensive set of cookware for all sorts of camping scenarios.A few attributes make this efficiency-oriented cook set an excellent foundation for the practical, hearty-cooking, enthusiastic user.For gourmet, health and environment conscious campers, this set will form the foundation of a kit that will prepare the best meals possible outside for 3-4 people.A car camping cook set, optimized for performance and compact carry, at a high weight.
Rating Categories Sea to Summit X Set 32 GSI Pinnacle Camper Primus PrimeTech 2.3L Pot Set MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Stanley Adventure Base Camp
Cooking Performance (25%)
10
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6
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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9
Packability (20%)
10
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10
10
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5
10
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6
10
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10
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4
Durability (15%)
10
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5
10
0
8
10
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6
10
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6
10
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10
Weight (15%)
10
0
4
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7
10
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8
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10
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4
Ease Of Use (15%)
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4
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9
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6
Features (10%)
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10
Specs Sea to Summit X... GSI Pinnacle Camper Primus PrimeTech... MSR Ceramic 2-Pot... Stanley Adventure...
Measured Weight 1.9 lbs 3.7lbs 1.6lbs 1 lbs 4.8lbs
Material Aluminum base, silicone sides Hard-anodized Aluminum w/Non-Stick Coating Aluminum Hard-anodized Aluminum Stainless Steel. Pot and pan bottoms have additional layers.
Components 2.8L X-Pot, 1.3L X-Kettle & 8" X-Pan 2L pot, 8" frypan, strainer lid, 2 mugs, 2 bowls, handle 2 2.3L pots, 1 lid, pot tongs, padded/insulated storage bag 2L pot, 1.5L pot, strainer lid, 2 plates, 2 mugs, handle 3.5L pot, vented lid, 7" 3ply frying pan, cutting board, spatula with extending handle, serving spoon with extending handle, [4] 6in plates, [4] 22oz bowls, [4] sporks, dish drying rack, heat resistant trivet, locking bungee
Avg Boil Time (mins) 2:15 3:47 3:07 3:35 4:07
3L Pot? (>2.4L) 1 0 0 0 1
2L Pot? (1.5-2.4L) 1 1 2 1 0
1L Pot? (.5-1.4L) 0 0 0 0 0
Frying Pan? 1 1 0 0 1
Frying Pan Lid? Yes Yes N/a N/a No
Packed Size (inches) 9 x 1.8 in 8.5 x 4.6 in 7.9 x 5.3 in 5.3 x 7.8 in 11 x 6 x 11 in
Weight of pot closest to 1.5L, with lid and handle 0.4 lbs 1.0 lbs 0.9 lbs 0.5 lbs 1.9lbs
Cooking Surfaces Non-toxic anodized aluminum Pot and frypan both have non-stick Teflon coating Non-stick Teflon like coating One (1.5L) non-stick pot, One (2.5L) uncoated pot Stainless-steel

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sea to Summit X Set 32 is built for two people who plan on getting after it in the backcountry. While it's not the lightest cooking set-up, it is super packable and a Top Pick for Light Weight. Be careful to ensure you use all pieces properly, or you could end up with a bent lid, or even worse, a hole in the side wall of your pot. While it is expensive, you might find its unique construction and utility worth the price.

Performance Comparison


A look at this packable top pick that is best for those looking to save some space.
A look at this packable top pick that is best for those looking to save some space.

Cooking Performance


This cooking set features three different pieces that nestle into one another. It has a 2.8L pot, one 1.3L kettle, and an 8-inch pan. These pieces are constructed of a hard anodized aluminum that articulates with the burner. Water boils fast in both the pot and kettle, while a large amount of food, sufficient for two people can be made. The material on the pot doesn't distribute heat evenly, and sticky substances like scrambled eggs do get stuck, but with careful care, this packable cook set does a great job while cooking.


On an adventure in the beautiful islands of Hawaii, we sought out remote beaches, packing in our food and cooking our meals by the ocean. Our breakfasts typically consisted of bacon, eggs, and some rolls, while our dinners were a smorgasbord of veggies, rice, and other delicious fixins.

Getting ready to catch some waves with a little pick-me-up first! Here we test the boiling speed of the kettle  which takes little to no time to get the water hot.
Getting ready to catch some waves with a little pick-me-up first! Here we test the boiling speed of the kettle, which takes little to no time to get the water hot.

We love the mini kettle and found this incredibly useful on ultralight backpacking missions where all we needed to do was boil water. We used this on a four day remote trip in Iceland (with no backup), and it proved to be a reliable choice for our needs of simple meals that just needed to be rehydrated. The pot boils about two liters of water in approximately two minutes and 45 seconds with a pocket rocket on high. This made for super quick cowboy coffee and tea in the morning.


On the pan, we cooked bacon, but we had to constantly move it, as the pan is fairly thin and does not distribute heat well. The burner region gets super hot, meaning that you can burn your food if you're not careful. We also cooked scrambled eggs on this frying pan, which made for some stickiness, but we still managed to make a delicious meal without burning anything.

A look at the relative size of the "big" pot that functions well in the frontcountry too.
A look at the relative size of the "big" pot that functions well in the frontcountry too.

The big pot has a nice large volume, sufficient to fit lots of delicious things inside. The Sea to Summit website recommends only using this pot of water-based cooking, like soups, and other meals of the like; however, during testing, it did perfectly well for small stir-frys, making rice, and boiling noodles. It has a boiling time of about 2 minutes and 15 seconds (for 2L), which is faster than the kettle, due to its larger surface area.


Overall, cooking performance is good, but you have to tend carefully to the food, or it will burn. Due to the thin metal, water boils quickly, but heat is not distributed evenly. If you're attentive, you can make all kinds of delicious meals on your backpacking adventures.

After cooking some bacon  we had to do some work to get the grease off in the waves on this beach. Here you can see where the heat source focused the temperature  inferring that you need to be a little careful while cooking.
After cooking some bacon, we had to do some work to get the grease off in the waves on this beach. Here you can see where the heat source focused the temperature, inferring that you need to be a little careful while cooking.

Packability


We love this set for how packable it is! Constructed with silicone side-walls, its the only cooking set we reviewed that actually collapses on itself. This convenient construct makes it a wonderful choice for those who are looking for a cooking set that will pack flat and isn't too bulky. It earns a Top Pick because of this unique property that earns top marks in this category.


On several backpacking trips, this was a top choice when we were looking for a less bulky cooking set. It easily feeds two people, and the whole set nestles into itself.

A look at the slim profile that isn't too bulky and doesn't make any noise when completely packed up.
A look at the slim profile that isn't too bulky and doesn't make any noise when completely packed up.

All three pieces fit into the larger pan, equating to less depth needed and more room to pack other essential items. For most of our backpacking trips, this became a prime choice, as it offered the best packability of the lot.


Durability


While the X Set 32 is quite packable, durability is questionable. The silicon sidewalls need to be treated with care because if they get too hot or are exposed to flame, they can melt. The lids aren't as durable as other contenders, and the porous textile can be breeding ground for bacteria if not dried before storing.


The lids are also not as durable as other contenders that are made of metal. They are instead constructed of a super strong BPA plastic. While the lid held up in most tests, we did experience the kettle lid deforming when we accidentally left the kettle on the burner for five additional minutes, after the water was boiling. When we took the lid off, it bent and cooled, changing its shape. As a result, it never fit on the kettle correctly again.


The sidewalls themselves seem to be pretty tough, but we do worry about them ripping over many years of collapsing on the seams. We haven't observed this or read about it, but it is a wonder we have when looking at the design. Another thing to note is to always store each piece after it's been dried out; after a long trip, we left the kettle in storage with a little moisture inside. After it had been packed away for three months, we took it out to find a bunch of mold and bacteria growing on the plastic material. We cleaned it, but now we know it requires attention to drying and extra maintenance.

Here one of our authors takes a selfie with her only piece of cookware on a 50+ mile fastpack. She heats up water for a quick meal. In this picture  you can see the deformed lid that was misshapen after she left the water boiling a little too long.
Here one of our authors takes a selfie with her only piece of cookware on a 50+ mile fastpack. She heats up water for a quick meal. In this picture, you can see the deformed lid that was misshapen after she left the water boiling a little too long.

Don't wash these pots in the dishwasher either, as the aluminum will be damaged. Overall, this set requires quite a bit of care and its important to note where your heat source is.

Weight


The entire set weighs about 1.9 oz with all three pieces. The kettle weighs 0.4 lbs. If you're trying to go ultralight, this is not the best set-up as it is a little bit heavy for the lightest of missions. However, you can take just pieces of the set and use that for ultralight adventures.


While this set is heavy with all the pieces, it still performs well for general backpacking. If you need something that is light and packable, just use a piece of the set. For example; we used just the kettle while running 20-mile+ distances each day for five days on a fastpacking trip to Iceland. There is some versatility in this set if you deconstruct it and use its parts; otherwise, it's an excellent option for your classic backpacking trip or to take out while car camping.

While it's not the lightest design out there  it surely does work for the average backpacker heading far off the beaten path. Here we hike around the Hornstrandir Nature Preserve. A place with no roads and only trails.
While it's not the lightest design out there, it surely does work for the average backpacker heading far off the beaten path. Here we hike around the Hornstrandir Nature Preserve. A place with no roads and only trails.

Ease of Use


This cookware set has a plethora of uses that range from backpacking missions with all the pieces to ultralight missions. Cooking with this cookware set isn't the easiest in the world, primarily due to the flimsiness of the handles.


The kettle is the easiest to use of all pieces. It can be carried for the solo backpacking missions, especially if all you need to do is boil water. The handles are pretty solid and easy to grab after you've boiled a pot of water.

The kettle is functional and easy to use.
The kettle is functional and easy to use.

The pan and the 2.8L pot are a different story. Typically when you cook, a handle is helpful to keep the pot or pan in place on the burner. On camp stoves, this is especially important when you are cooking with a single-small burner like the MSR Pocket Rocket 2. Typically you need to find the "sweet spot" for balance on these burners to ensure you don't spill your food everywhere; this is normally provided with a convenient handle to hold when stirring food.

Here the large pot balances on the pocket rocket stove. We needed to ensure the ground was flat before placing it. Oh...did we mention this is packable? It leaves extra room to pack in delicious wine and other fun treats!
Here the large pot balances on the pocket rocket stove. We needed to ensure the ground was flat before placing it. Oh...did we mention this is packable? It leaves extra room to pack in delicious wine and other fun treats!

The 2.8L pot has two flimsy silicone handles that can be grabbed, but because they have no structure, they won't support the pot at all. We actually needed two people to cook with this pot; one to stir, and one to hold the pot in place.

A close-up of the flimsy handles.
A close-up of the flimsy handles.

The 8-inch pan is similar. It has two handles that flip up. These seem good at first, but if you pick up the handle on one side (to stabilize the pan) and it has food inside, the handle will flop down. This can lead to spills, requiring you to be careful once again.

A look at the flimsy handles that require both hands if you don't want a mess.
A look at the flimsy handles that require both hands if you don't want a mess.

Overall, cooking with this set is fine, but not the most convenient. We'd love to see sturdier handles on the pan that can actually support the weight of the food when loaded up. The pot requires two people for stirring, while the kettle does a great job doing what it's supposed to do.

Features


Aside from its collapsible architecture, there are one a few notable features this pot set has. They are logical and quite helpful when cooking at camp.


The most notable feature is the straining mechanism on the lid of the larger pot. The handles are flexible and can be used to hold the pot when tipping it over for easy straining of noodles or other grains that you might be cooking up. Aside from that, it does not come with any additional pieces like spoons, bowls, or cutting boards.

Straining some water through the built-in stainer on the lid.
Straining some water through the built-in stainer on the lid.

Best Applications


While there are a lot of caveats to the design of this cookware set, it is very unique for its packable and collapsible design. It has the best functionality of our fleet as a set for two people. It's also great for backpacking.

Enjoying the sunlight coming over the water on a warm Spring morning in Hawaii.
Enjoying the sunlight coming over the water on a warm Spring morning in Hawaii.

Value


The price is set high on this one. Retailing for $130, this is one of the most expensive sets tested. We do have some worry surrounding durability, and if not used properly, this product could be rendered useless. That said, if you're willing to shell out a few extra bucks for something that is ultra packable, you might find the extra weight worth it.

Conclusion


The Sea to Summit X Set 32 stands out for its collapsible pot, pan, and kettle that is super packable. It is best for those seeking a full camping set that will yield a little extra space in your pack. While the pot and pan offer decent cooking performance, this is a set that requires extra vigilance and care. The durability of the set is wonderful, but you must ensure that you use all pieces correctly. Overall, this is a favorite for its packable size and unique architecture.


Amber King