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/.