Gear Review: Kupilka 21 Cup

Posted on 30 August 2010

For some time I’m looking for a traditional cup made of wood like a Kuksa or something else. At the OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen I found something. It isn’t a traditional Kuksa made with wood, but it also an very interesting cup. The manufacturer of this cup is Kupilka from Finland. I didn’t know this company yet. Kupilka is a young and small company at the outdoor market.

All Kupilka products are made of a Biomaterial. It is a Thermoplastic Natural Composites material consisting of 50% wood fiber and 50% polypropene. Both components are heated up and pressed under pressure in form. If you compare it to plastic, the benefits of Natural Fiber Composites are a better heat endurance and a higher durability thanks to the stiff structure and if you compare it to wood, the benefits of Natural Fiber Composites are that it doesn’t require maintenance, doesn’t “absorb” smells and is insensitive to humidity. It is also possible to clean the Kupilka products in your dishwasher. Another important point is that all Kupilka products recyclable. The products can be grinded and casted again into new products or can be burned.

I have used my Kupilka 21 on several day trips and I trink my daily good morning coffee out of it and I’m very satisfied with this cup. It is not really the lightest on the market but the cup is very comfortable to hold and you can warm your hands on the drink. The handle of the cup has a hole to secure it on your pack or something else. Here are some technical details of my Kupilka 21 cup. It weighs 80g on my scale and has a volume of 210ml.

If you want to buy one of these Kupilka products you can find them at the German Outdoor Shop Bergzeit.de.


  • john

    hm, i think the cups are nice, but i wouldn’t call them “traditional”. Sure, the design is but the material & the production process isn’t. I prefer the “traditional” 100% Wood cups:) http://tinyurl.com/2vcszah for example

  • http://thunderinthenight.blogspot.com/ Joe

    Hmmm, interesting item but I’m still not sure of the advantage over a traditional wooden one. Personally I don’t mind the odd whiff of coffee from my kuksa and don’t feel the need to put it in the dishwasher.

    I know kuksas weigh slightly more than plastic cups but I’m sure they are safer to drink from and I no longer carry a water bottle (preferring to ‘tank up’ at suitable water sources) so the weight increase is negligible.

  • http://backpackingnorth.blogspot.com/ Mark Roberts

    Yeah, I agree with John and Joe. You can’t get much more biodegradable than 100% wood, and for me one of the points of a real Kuksa is precisely that it does add a little flavour to drinks. Sip a few whiskies from it, then savour the hints of scotch and birch oils in your morning coffee. And you only need to rinse it out with cold water.

  • http://stick13.wordpress.com/ Chad

    Very interesting. I haven’t thought of using cups like this. I will have to look into them some more. Just curious though, would these be available in the US?

  • Fu

    I think some of the claims are dubious. If the cup is 50% wood fiber, why doesn’t it doesn’t “absorb” smells and how is insensitive to humidity? Call me cynical, but I suspect this product is mainly an attempt to make a cup that appears to be made of wood, but is cheaper to produce.

  • hrxxlight

    @John
    They’re looking a little bit like a traditional, but nothing else

    @Joe
    there’s is no advantage over a traditonal Kuksa made with wood and I would never put my kupilka in a dishwasher. The Kupilka is an temporary solution until I find a suitable Kuksa.

    @Mark
    This is what I want, the flavour which the Kuksa gives to the different drinks. I really hate it to drink my whisky out of this titanium pots.

    @Chad
    sorry they are not available in the USA.

  • http://www.kupilka-products.com Michael

    Hey guys,

    I work for Kupilka in Finland and thought I could help Benjamin to answer a few questions.

    @Benjamin
    It was nice to meet you at the Out Door Show. Also, thank you for the blog post. I’m glad to hear that you like Kupilka and I wish you many years of use for your in and outdoor activities.

    @John
    Kupilka is a high tech product. I wouldn’t really compare it with a traditional Kuksa.

    There are many industrial Kuksas on the market such as the one from the link that you have posted. These are mostly made from other woods such as Oakwood (Eichenholz) and probably mashine assisted and only hand finished.

    A Kuksas is a traditional Sami product from Lapland and is carved from birch burl. If you want to buy an original Kuksa, I recommend this link: http://www.kuksaekoivumaa.fi/index.html . The price for a Kuksa is between 60 – 80€ (75$ – 100$)

    @Joe @Mark
    Buying a Kupilka doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use a Kuksa. We have been through this period with our customers in Finland for many years and the situation has changed two, three years ago. Basically, the people have understood that they can use Kupilka on a daily basis just like any other plastic or steel dishware. Other than that many restaurants, schools, companies, event agencies use our Kupilka in Finland. That is also why our engineers have managed to make the product dishwasher safe (recommended temperature -30C to + 100C).

    As I mentioned before we use 50% wood fibers and 50% polypropylene. Our plastics are free from Phthalates and Bisphenol and meet EU standards, which are very high. If you compare the hygiene between our products and a traditional Kuksa, then you are very safe with Kupilka. Kuksa products can only be rinsed with water when cleaning and need treatment (plier, oil, brine, brandy treatment etc). Some people recommend that a Kuksa should only be used by the same person. I’m not sure about that.

    @Chad
    Thanks. We have no distributor in the US, yet but we are working on it. You can contact me. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    @FU
    The material was developed by the European Forest Institution between 1998 -2001. Our supplier and us have gained much experience over the years. Let me explain the production process in two sentences: we have developed a process in which an exact amount of short fibers, long fibers and polypropylene are mixed together by using energy (heat) and injected into a mold. The result is a new material with the following characteristics:

    Natural look + feeling
    Better heat endurance compared with plastic
    Higher durability compared with plastic
    Stiff structure
    Doesn’t absorb smell and taste
    Insensitive to humidity
    Hygiene factor
    Light weight

    If you take a look at Benjamin’s Kupilka for example, you will see a swirled structure on the cup with darker and lighter spots. The lighter spots are the wood fibers and the darker spots are Polypropylene (Plastic).

    I recommend trying one of our cups. It would be great to hear from you afterwards. The price for one cup is 18.95€ in Europe. If you order directly from here, you can customize your cups with your name or logo for additionally 0.60 cents.

    Michael

    twitter @Kupilka
    Or on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ylamylly-Finland/KUPILKA-Adventurers-Great-Companion-/143481752458

  • http://www.sanderaartsma.nl Sander

    Guys,

    Take this advice from an outdoorspecialist: just try Kupilka, the best way to experience if it suits your needs. (you won’t regret it)
    Okay, the materials are quite heavy, but the durability is great. (a nice reward after a long trip in the wilderniss.)

    Enjoy outdoors!

    Sander
    A huge Kupilka fan.

  • hrxxlight

    @Michael

    thx for that detailed answer

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