Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Ultralight, Zero Cost, Trail Running Cup

About a month ago, I was nearing the end of a trail run and started getting thirsty. Our runs haven't been long enough to justify carrying water, so I knew I'd just have to suck it up. Still, I was running adjacent to a stream and I got to thinking: just how bad would it be if I hopped over and took a drink? Heck, some folks hike the entire Appalachian trail and never treat the water.

In the end, I played it safe and just kept running. But it got me thinking: what if I carried a small cup in my pocket and used it opportunistically to grab a drink? Said cup would need to be pretty compact to justify carrying it on a run. The Sea to Summit folding cup looks intriguing, but is overkill for this half-baked experiment.

While running last night, I hit on an alternate plan: what if made an origami drinking cup from aluminum foil or parchment paper, and then coated the sucker in duct tape to make it more durable? The result would be a free, super light, stick-in-your-back-pocket cup, right?


Check out this set of instructions for making a cup from paper. The results are gorgeous. Then cringe at what I created:

(I need to get my Sister-in-Law on the case; she'd made me a flawless one, I'm sure.)

Both the aluminum foil and parchment paper versions were water tight, or at least water tight enough to hold a cup of water for a minute or so. And the duct tape means that these shouldn't be all that fragile. And who cares if they last more than one use, as I can always create more.

So now I need to bring one on my next run and find a clean looking stream, an go for it, right? What could possibly go wrong with that plan?


  1. This is a neat idea for runners! If I am able to find a decent pet friendly new hampshire hotel, I'll be visiting this summer and hitting some of the beautiful trails there. Can't wait!

  2. Now I don't know if this is exactly 'food-safe' but you could also go this route for a long lasting durable version instead of the ducttape option:

  3. Nick - Plastic dip. Interesting. Let's see if my duct tape version gets any use.