Kuksa, the traditional wooden cup.
Typically, Kuksa is a hand carved, wooden cup with a holder. Most of them have a string from where you can hang the cup from your belt or rucksack. Kuksa is always a personal cup, supposed to be carried along and since it is made of wood, it should not be washed. The idea is to keep the wood healthy and not to let it dry (soap has a drying effect), otherwise it might split. After use it can be rinsed with water or if it needs disinfection, you may drink some vodka out of it. It also leaves a nice taste to your next coffee.
Kuksa used to be carved from gnarl, a sort of a tumor looking mutation growing underneath the bark on a side of a tree trunk. Why gnarl? Because the tree material is extremely hard on the mutation part of the tree and it can be sawn away without having to cut down the entire tree. Back in the days the hunters and fishermen used to carve their own kuksas from gnarls, so each kuksa looked different, very much like its owner.
Today it’s considered almost like a ritual of becoming a real wilderness man if you manage to carve your own kuksa. But being completely honest with you, I think the handmade ones are not that pretty and nowadays cost a fortune too. If you prefer a nice kitchenware and something to hang on your backpack, pick a wooden, machine made kuksa cup from the souvenir shop but remember to check that it is made in Finland or it has a sticker of a blue key with Finnish flag. This indicates a certification of 100 % made in Finland.
If you are looking at dish washable outdoor cups, plates and cutlery, we at Safartica can warmly recommend Kupilka dishware. Kupilkas are made of biomaterial of natural fibers, pressed into shape, dishwasher friendly, easy to use and ecological. You can find Kupilka in most souvenir shops or online. It is also a Finnish invention and has the blue key flag -sticker! https://kupilka.fi/en/