It’s not everyday that you almost get scalded by a product you’re reviewing.
The GSI Escape Pot is a collapsible pot with silicone sides, metal base, and a metal lid. It has a couple little handles for picking it up that also “lock” (I’ll use that word loosely) the lid closed when utilizing its built-in strainer. When the pot is collapsed, there is adequate room for a few small cooking utensils to be stored within.
“A collapsible pot that I’m about to pour scalding hot water into — what could go wrong?”
That was my first thought as I pulled out the groovy blue pot and prepared to make dinner. As the water boiled, I chopped up my onions, potatoes, carrots, and green beans in preparation to make a delicious vegetarian stew.
The water came to a rolling boil very quickly with a conductive heat sink on the bottom of the pot. I had to carefully pull the lid off (which was very hot). Actually, the whole pot felt hotter than anything in my Calphalon set. Frankly, it almost seemed like the silicone was going to melt. After adding my vegetables, I was able to sit back, let my stew simmer, and do some thinking about this little pot.
Even with my misgivings, the fact that it’s collapsible is pretty awesome. I can see it fitting well in an RV cupboard or a Duluth Pack store. For a piece of camping equipment that isn’t intended for everyday use, I think it will continue to stand up well and most people will enjoy using it.
However, I have several gripes regarding the lid.
First, I was a little disappointed with how it fit. The silicone sides became malleable and deformed when the pot was hot, which made it hard to get a good seal. It also made it difficult to use the strainer top comfortably. Just picking it up made me afraid of the sides collapsing and dumping scalding hot water on me.
Second, the plastic handles and silicone thumb pads are designed to lock together and seal the pot, but they become very hot and hard to handle when cooking. They also didn’t do a very good job staving off the heat; I definitely wanted a towel or oven mitts between myself and the lid before trying to drain excess water.
Finally, my least favorite thing about the lid was the fact that it was metal. I’m not sure how to fix that, but it got incredibly hot. There is a very small loop on the top for removing the lid (barely large enough for me to fit my index finger into) and it is made of metal with a plastic guard wrapped around…some…of it. After a couple minor burns, I wound up using a wooden chopstick to remove the lid.
For those wondering if it’s “dishwasher safe,” the answer is… kind of? According to GSI, “Dishwashers may prematurely age components.” Fortunately, the teflon coating on the metal combined with the silicone sides makes clean-up very easy. Most people won’t ever need to run this in the dishwasher. Good old soap and water would complete the job just fine.
Overall, this pot has many advantages. It is small, boils water fast, and cleans up easily. Its shortcomings can be forgiven, and after cooking with it a few times you’ll get used to the lid’s quirks. Some “serious” backpackers will likely bemoan the pot’s weight or the fact that you can’t use it over an open campfire — requiring you to bring a stove. On the other hand, for a family hitting up some state parks, the GSI Escape Pot will make an excellent travel companion.