Vargo Bot Review: Bikepacking Cook kit for the Framebag
The Vargo BOT is an elegantly designed 1 liter titanium water bottle with a titanium screw lid that triples in versatility as a cooking pot and an excellent storage container.
I have generally found the cooking pot to be the most clumsy piece of gear in a minimalist-style kit, especially when it needs to be large enough to cook for two hungry cyclists. First of all, anything over 850ml gets fairly bulky. Secondly, the typical squat cylindrical shape just doesn’t logically fit anywhere in a seat pack, handlebar roll, or frame bag. There are a couple of pots on the market that are shaped longer and taller, such as GSI’s Halulite or Pinnacle Hiker, which we used in Africa. These usually fit well within an oversized fork-mounted cage such as the Anything cage. But, they are also a little too bulky and from my experience, get beat up, dinged, and bent out of shape.
I heard about the Bot when we were in Africa. Someone mentioned carrying this genius little bottle-pot combo strapped to an Anything cage. At 4″ in diameter and 6″ high, the Vargo BOT weighs in at 133 grams. Once I saw those specs, the first thing that came to mind was using it as a kitchen container that would slide in the frame bag to house the entire bikepacking cook kit. In my opinion, four inches is about the limit width of an object to go into a frame bag; anything bigger creates a little too much bulk and can get in the way of pedaling. Ultimately the Bot works perfectly for this application. It snugly fits a minimal kitchen that includes a titanium mug, can stove (or Trangia), spork, lighter, salt/pepper shaker, aluminum fire block, and dishrag.
By designing the BOT with a screw mount lid (that reverses as a pot lid), Vargo crafted a rigid vessel that won’t easily bend or dent. When screwed together, the precisely crafted titanium pieces fit snugly against a silicone ring and feel seemingly indestructible. This is a big selling point when used off-road stored in either the fork-mount cage, or the frame bag.
When it comes to making gear choices for bikepacking and bike touring, there is nothing more satisfying that finding things that can be used for multiple applications. In conclusion, I found the BOT to be nice versatile solution to an otherwise clunky piece of gear. It’s tough, ultralight, and fits as well in a frame bag as it does on an Anything cage… and it’s also a bottle.