Sea To Summit X-Bowl Review

X BowlsThe Sea To Summit X Bowl is a collapsible bowl made of food-grade silicon. It’s compact, lightweight (just 80g) and big enough to hold a healthy serving of pasta.

We needed some new plates for camping and we’d met other cyclists who were happy with their X Bowls, so we bought a couple X Bowls to try out. There are also mugs and plates (pictured) in the same range but we held off on buying those until we tested the bowls.

On price, the X Bowl certainly isn’t the cheapest option out there ($15.95 from REI) but we expected our X Bowls to last for a few years of camping. We also were happy to pay a bit extra for a couple nice features included in the bowls:

  • a hard base that doubles as a chopping board
  • measuring cup marks along the side of the bowl

Unfortunately, our experience using the X Bowls during a bike tour of Spain wasn’t as happy as we hoped it would be. While the bowls were great to eat out of (very sturdy, easy to hold and definitely big enough for cyclist-size portions), there was one problem: they retained food odours.

When we made pasta for supper, that was all we could smell the next morning. The scent of tomato sauce and garlic is not what you want when you’re trying to eat cereal and milk at 8am! This was despite the fact that we cleaned the bowls with soap and warm water directly after dinner the evening before. When we stayed in hotels, we even gave the bowls an extra scrub but the smell stuck around.

When we returned home, we wrote Sea To Summit and asked if they had any advice. They said the problem was an odd one, and suggested soaking the bowls for 15-20 minutes in hot water to get rid of the smell. This certainly did help, but it’s not a practical solution for day-to-day bike touring.

We’ve since talked with other cyclists and it seems we’re the only ones who had this problem, so are we just super sensitive, or did we get defective bowls?

If anyone has ideas we’d love to hear them, because otherwise these bowls are really great. We want to take them on our next bike tour but only if we can crack the smell problem.