Vote for my entry, please.
There's only one thing I hate more than carrying heavy stuff when backpacking; the cost of the light stuff. I also don't like having to buy things that I can make myself for darned near nothing.
There's a company called Arizona Beverage Company, ironically located on Long Island, New York, that makes a variety of sweet beverages sold in 20-ounce plastic bottles. Because they're rather robust, I use them backpacking. Once, while putting a neoprene koozie on a cold beverage, I noticed that the can I was holding and the Arizona Tea bottle were roughly the same circumference. So, being the curious little monkey I am, I tried to put the koozie on the bottle. Would you look at that -- fits like a tubular neoprene glove. Then, I figured if I cut down the bottle I'd have an insulated, ultralight, repurposed backpacking cup.
If you've seen my instructable, 'UL Backpacking Kitchen', you'll see I was right. Or, I guess if you saw the introduction picture you'd have figured it out, too. Moving on...
I'm also a big fan of things that serve more than one purpose. If you remove the koozie and put it on the open end, you have a padded carrying case for your headlamp, candle lantern, small electronics. or any little thing you want to keep isolated and secure.
Okay, here are the specs:
• Weight: 1.8 oz./50 grams
• Capacity: ~10 oz./.3 liters
• Cost: ~$4
Some people are concerned about chemicals leaching from PETE bottles. I'm not one of them.
Step 1: Materials
Here's what you'll need:
- A responsible adult, if you're not allowed to use a small, sharp knife or a lighter.
- A neoprene or foam koozie for 12 ounce cans.
- An Arizona Tea bottle, or, a strong-walled bottle of similar circumference.
- A disc of screen whose diameter is the same as the outside of the neck of the bottle.
- A small, sharp knife.
- A lighter.
Step 2: Make a Cup, Already...
Put the koozie on the bottle. On Arizona Tea bottles there are a series of ribs. One of them is just above the brim of the koozie. So, to get enough space above it, I cut just above that rib:
Start your cut by carefully inserting the knife blade where you want to make the cut and slowly work your way around. Don't worry too much about making it clean, but do make it straight. You can make a jig of some kind to make a mark around the bottle. I never needed to, though.
When you're done, remove the koozie. Then, take the lighter and just barely melt the edge of the plastic, being sure to melt down sharp stuff and make it smooth. Let it cool, replace the koozie, add your favorite hot or cold beverage and enjoy.
Step 3: But Wait! There's More...
Being one to try and not waste anything, I noticed that the top of the bottle, now cut off, might make a good... Um... Coffee maker/pre-filter/funnel!
Around the top of the bottle is a pattern in relief. Below that is a rib. If you do it right, you'll end up with a cut just below where the rib begins after burnishing. Now, remove the lid and the ring around the neck. Being real careful, cut a 3/4" hole in the center of the lid. Take the disc of screen and put it inside the lid, then replace the lid. Now you can fill it with coffee or tea, or you can fill it with charcoal and sand to make a particulate filter to get out the big stuff when making water potable.
For making solubles, you will have to pretty much constantly stir the bottom. Don't stir a particulate filter, that's something that should take plenty of time. You may have to run a few pints of water through it to get out whatever will make it through the screen. Remember, you've still got to filter the water for the small gut-busters. No use asking your filter to do all that heavy lifting with bits of carbon and sand, as well.
An added benefit of this little system is that it also serves to protect little bits of gear, as well, such as an mp3 player or your headlamp. I, however, use it to store Tang brand instant breakfast drink, (only the best, for me...) some sugar, coffee, and a spoon.
You could add a small bag of activated charcoal. Store in sturdy ziploc bags. You shouldn't need much, maybe a quarter cup.