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Preview: Sea to Summit Alpha Series Cookware || Remarkably thoughtful

The Pivot-Lock handle is among the most thoughtful feature of a generally thoughtful product. It serves as a sturdy pot grip and keeps the lid secured to the pot during storage.

So much thought went into the new Alpha Series Cookware from Sea to Summit that I feel compelled to write about it. The retail prices and weights are very good, but I was most impressed with the attention to detail and the willingness to look with fresh eyes at an otherwise tired category.

The Cookware will be available through REI in Mach 2018 as standalone pots and as cookset systems.

Alpha Series Pots

The series consists of four pots:

All are made of hard anodized aluminum, which is slightly heavier and less durable than titanium of comparable thickness, but notably less expensive. Aluminum also better conducts and distributes heat. Per Sea to Summit, “The hard anodization of the Alpha Pots has a thickness greater than 50 microns and a hardness greater than Rockwell C 50 — and is thus thicker and harder than other similar cookware on the market.” The pots do not have a non-stick finish.

Pot specs (in metric):

There is also an 8- and 10-inch fry pan, for $35 and $40. Both have a non-stick Halo-branded PTFE finish, which according to independent testing is substantially more durable than ceramic coatings. If you’re nervous about compounds being released from the finish — which requires the pan to be heated in excess of 660 degree F, which is beyond the range of normal backcountry stoves — there are other options available, including the Sea to Summit 8-inch X-Pan.

Attached to each pot and pan is a non-removable Pivot-Lock (TM) handle, which serves as a sturdy pot grip and which keeps the pot lid in place during storage. The system is probably heavier than a standalone grip or conventional pivoting handle, but many will consider the convenience and functionality worthwhile. It locks in place centrally on the lid, or can be further rotated (as shown in these images).

The thoughtfulness extends to the pot lid, which has a steam port, water strainer, and siliconized rubber piece that serves as a three-finger grip on one side and a pot tab on the other. The lid rests inside the rim of the pot, to eliminate tension or friction between the two pieces.

The lid has a steam port, strainer, and a siliconized rubber tab that doubles as a gripper and a pot rester.

Alpha Series Cooksets

I found the cooksets even more entertaining. They are packaged as:

  • Cookset 1.1 ($45), with the 1.2L pot and one setting;
  • Cookset 2.1 ($65), with the 1.9L pot and two settings;
  • Cookset 2.2 ($90), with the 1.9L and 2.7L pots, plus two settings; and,
  • Cookset 4.2 ($120), with the 2.7L and 3.7L pots, plus four settings.

Each setting includes a:

  • Mug, with a cozy and insulated cap; and, a
  • Plastic eating bowl, with shallow corners for easier calorie-scraping.

The 1.2L pot is accompanied by a 1-person setting.

The sizes of the eating bowls in the multi-person settings are graduated, so that they nest completely inside of each other. Also, the bowls and mugs come in different colors, so that “his” and “hers” are easy to differentiate.

A 2-person cookset, with nesting eating bowls and color-coded mugs.

Questions about the Alpha Series Cookware? Leave a comment. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll get it from Sea to Summit.


Disclosure. I strive to offer field-tested and trustworthy information, insights, and advice. I have no financial affiliations with or interests in any brands or products, and I do not publish sponsored content

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24 Comments

  1. Michael Ray on January 26, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Minor correction: the 4.2 cookset comes with 2.7 and 3.7L pots.

    • Andrew Skurka on January 26, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Fixed, thank you.

  2. Mark on January 27, 2018 at 5:16 am

    It’s refreshing to have reviews that consider features every bit as important as weight. Thanks Andrew!

    • Andrew Skurka on January 27, 2018 at 10:20 am

      This is not a review, just a preview. But, yes, I don’t put weight as high on on my priority list as many others do. My experience is that the “light but not the lightest” products are the best combination of performance, durability, and cost, while really not weighing you down.

  3. Edward on January 27, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Pot sets, including vents and handles, appear similar to MSR’s Alpinist 2 and Quick 2 offerings, excepting colors.

    On the MSR units, the handle flips to the center of the top of the lid for holding in place, whereas the Sea To Summitt appears to flip to slightly off center.

    As always, thanks for the articles, your outdoors writings keep us overworked office types going.

  4. Richard Williams on January 27, 2018 at 11:59 am

    aluminum? i’ll suffer the weight penalty and stick with stainless steel.

    • Andrew Skurka on January 27, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      It’s hard anodized and very durable. Not quite as good as titanium, but plenty good.

  5. Joe S on January 28, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Thanks for sharing a preview of these pots. I’ve been looking forward to these as they seem to fit my requirements when announced at a recent outdoor show.

    Does the pot weight include the weight of the lid?
    What are the dimensions of the pots?
    When will these become available?

    Also, the pot sets are no longer available on REI.

    • Andrew Skurka on January 28, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      1. Yes, the weights include the lid.

      2. I don’t know the exact dimensions. But they are squatty, not fall. Maybe not as squatty as the Evernew pots, but pretty close.

      3. Availability should be anyway. What’s funny is that when I created the REI links, I thought they had inventory. So either they sold out very quickly, or they were pulled down temporarily for some reason. Sea to Summit is pretty excited about this product, and I would imagine that availability will improve soon, since retailers will start closing out winter stuff and receiving spring/summer product.

    • PS on January 28, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      The dimensions are here under specifications:
      http://seatosummit.com/product/alpha-pot/
      The site seems a bit jumpy.

      vol 1.2L
      depth 9.6 CM
      dia 14.4 CM
      weight. 187 G

  6. David Nelsen on January 28, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Any idea about the non-stick coating material, Andrew? Ceramic or something else?

    • Andrew Skurka on January 28, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Yes, ceramic.

    • 205guy on January 29, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      “Ceramic” is such a marketing word. It’s supposed to make you think of thick iron pots with enamel coating, but it’s really just another chemical coating like teflon. I personally avoid non-stick cookware in my kitchen, but especially on the trail. The pans are light and thin, and so easy to overheat, and then the fumes are toxic and the coating comes off (into nature) when you scrub the pan. Plus, if I didn’t cook with oil, where would half the calories in my trail food come from? So I’ll stick to my bare metal titanium pot and pot grabber, and scrub with sand whenever I need to–it’s lasted 10 years and looks like I’ll get another 10 out of it.

  7. Mike Snodgrass on February 1, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Is there a release date for these pots? I noticed on their website they have the 1.2L Pot but not the larger sizes or the cook sets? Thanks

    • Andrew Skurka on February 1, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      March 2018, REI to start

  8. Doug K on April 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    excellent, thank you.. I particularly like the strainer holes in the lid, many times I have grovelled up spilt pasta and enjoyed my evening pasta with a side of forest floor sweepings.
    That feature alone might spur replacement of my faithful MSR Blacklite.

  9. Meriel on June 17, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    These look like reasonable competition for the GSI Outdoors Halulite Boilers, but one thing that has me concerned is that the 1.1 litre Halulite weighs in at 8.6 oz (244 g), while the 1.2 litre Alpha weighs in at just 6.6 oz (187 g).

    That’s a *huge* difference, and makes me worry that the Alpha pots will not be very durable. Since both the Alpha and the Halulite use steel handles, that 57 g difference has to be mostly in the aluminium. I honestly don’t understand why these companies insist on steel handles, instead of none or aluminium. My separate MSR potlifter has never let me down in the past.

    I’m also not fond of the holes in the lid, since the whole point of the lid is to keep the heat in. I couldn’t care less about using the lid to drain pasta. What a waste of precious water and fuel! Of course, the Alpha is wider and shorter than the Halulite, so that might be a bonus for some people.

  10. Kevin B on July 10, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Hey andrew. I’m a beginner-ish backpacker and will be doing most of my hiking next few years with my girlfriend or friend, ie not by myself. I’m trying to figure out the best gear and process for cooking for 2 in the backcountry. I was just wondering if best way would be to double this recipe in a 2L pot and have my gf use a bowl or should we both have our own 900 ml pot and share the stove. Sorry if this is a stupid question

  11. Kevin B on July 10, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Awesome thanks man!

  12. David Walton on October 7, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    I am disappointed with the 1.9L pot due to the sharp edges on the lid. These sharp edges put multiple holes through a dry bag in a single weekend hike. I wish the lid had rolled edges.
    Does not seem much point having a light pot, if you have to wrap it in something heavy to protect other items in the pack.

  13. Wade on June 14, 2019 at 9:43 am

    I stumbled across this pot in my search for a 2 person HAA pot. I have two questions i hope you can answer.

    1. with 1.5 L of water or more, is the handle sturdy enough to not spill?
    2. I looked at Evernew titanium and that is my choice but the ultralight does not come in a big enough size, i would have to get the one with non-stick coating. Is the S2S pot ok with regard to cleaning?
    3. Another reader noted sharp edges. Any comment on that?

    i am buying a new pot next week and trying to make up my mind but there are so many questions and trade offs on these.

    • Andrew Skurka on June 16, 2019 at 12:29 am

      Sturdy handle

      The pot is as easy to clean as any other. Just don’t scorch stuff to it and you’ll be fine.

      Yes, kid of sharp edges around the rim. You’ll want it in a stuff sack, and that will take care of it.

      It’s a pot, don’t overthink it too much.

      • David Walton on June 16, 2019 at 3:36 pm

        The handle is good to use. Once the handle is locked in place, it is sturdy.
        Putting it in a dry bag did not help me. As I said before, I ended up with multiple holes through the dry bag in the first hike with it.
        I have since made a cosie out of a car sunshade. i put this on over the top (upside down) when hiking and so far this is protecting everything from the edges well.

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