Despite what might come to mind upon hearing the name, it is not something Goldilocks might have found in her kitchen after Papa, Mama & Baby Bear left! The Bear Bowl is an extremely innovative cooking “pot” designed by Corey Santiago of Spokane, Washington. Corey’s interest in inventing practical items for camping and hiking started when he was young. He and his brother, Robby, played a game called “Pick.” Heading for a deserted location, they were each able to pick five items to carry with them. Corey was always trying to figure out what might be the most useful in ensuring survival in wilderness settings.
Through the years, Corey came up with different ideas about products that might be made more useful to serious hikers and outdoorsmen, but he eventually focused on the fact that no one had come up with a new approach to cooking utensils. Traditional cooking sets made specifically for wilderness use were bulky and heavy. The only improvements came from making the pots smaller, but they still added weight and took up a fair amount of space. While these factors are not extremely critical for a day hike or picnic, anyone going on a serious wilderness trek has to make every inch of space and ounce of weight in a backpack count.
By early 2017, Corey had created a satisfactory prototype and began his first funding campaign through Indiegogo. Initiated on March 16, 2017, this effort drew over 200 backers and raised $6,807.
Encouraged by this response, a Kickstarter campaign began on April 17, 2017, with a modest goal of $1,000. The response was overwhelming, with the initial goal being reached within 10 hours. By April 24, 2017, $5,000 had been contributed by 100 backers and by May 8, 2017, an additional 400 backers and a total of $24,000 was reached. At the end of the campaign, on May 16, 2017, the Bear Bowl had 805 backers and a total raised of $41,451.
The Bear Bowl is made of food grade PTFE coated fiberglass, with an aluminum base plate, and is compatible with all controlled flame camp stoves. After use they are easy to clean, simply needing to be wiped before folding. The Bear Bowl comes in three sizes, appropriately named Baby Bear, Mama Bear and Papa Bear. The smallest size folds flat into a compact 4.5” x 5” x 1” and weighs 7 ounces, yet holds 32 ounces of liquid. The Mama Bear holds 64 ounces, and the Papa Bear 128 ounces. The bowls come with either a plain handle, or one enhanced 12 feet of blue 7-strand 550 Survival Paracord.
The initial 3,000 bowls were made in the Santiago household, with Corey’s wife and partner, Heidi, and two of their children, Jordan and Leilani, providing much of the labor and support. The product is currently being made in China, but one of the goals the Santiagos hope to achieve is to have the product manufactured in the United States.