Plates and bowls are great to have for meal time when you are out camping. The problem, however, comes when you try to pack those camping bowls and plates in to your backpack. They are awkwardly shaped and always require a certain level of careful planning to get them in to your backpack without taking up a whole bunch of room. Collapsible bowls for camping, however, are an elegant solution to this problem.
Collapsible Bowls - Camping
A few things to look for when looking for collapsible camping bowls.
Lightweight - As with most camping gear, weight matters, especially if you have to actually load your camping gear in to a backpack, rather than a vehicle. There is no reason to carry a heavy collapsible camping bowl when there are lighter collapsible camping bowls for camping available.
Size - Some collapsible camping bowls are fairly small, the reason being that they are too collapsible, and the bigger they get the more unstable they become. Make sure you get a proper sized bowl, so that you don't end up having to eat your meal in stages.
Best Collapsible Bowls - Camping
The best of the best when it comes to collapsible camping bowls.
Guyot Designs Squishy Bowl - There aren't too many choices when it comes to collapsible bowls, and the Squishy Bowl is a fairly clear winner. It won a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award back in 2007. It's actually a set, which includes a 6 oz cup and a 16 oz bowl. 16 oz isn't huge, but it's not tiny either. The cup weighs 1.7 ounces, or 48 grams, while the bowl weighs 3.3 ounces, or 93 grams.
Sea to Summit X-Bowl - The X-Bowl is a different kind of collapsible. Whereas the Squishy bowl quite literally squishes down, the X-Bowl has sides that collapse down, like an accordion, which leave you with a flat sort of frisbee, which is a lot easier to pack than a bowl. The bowl weighs 2.8 ounces, or 80 grams, and holds 22 ounces of liquid.
Alternatives to Collapsible Camping Bowls
There are also a few viable alternatives to a collapsing bowl. Most camping plates actually have fairly high sides, and work well as bowls. The MSR DeepDish, for instance, is 1.7 inches deep, and would work well as a bowl in most instances.
Sea to Summit also makes a plate with collapsible sides, called the X-plate. If you want a collapsible bowl / plate combo unit, it is ideal.