Lets face it, when we hit the woods we aren’t likely planning on eating many 6 course meals. Generally things are kept pretty simple, and you don’t want to have to bring an 8 piece formal place setting with you to eat your backpacker meal or your oatmeal in the morning. Traditional camping silverware sets and army mess kit sets typically consisted of a stainless steel knife, spoon and fork. There’s nothing wrong with this set up, but when start getting a little weight conscious this can add up a bit. Especially when you think about how much you really use each item. Do you really need a fork and a spoon? Not always, but which one would you pick if you had to leave one behind? Neither if you go with a spork! Our old friend the spork, made famous by the millions of shoddy fast food chain versions we used as a kid, has steadily gained in popularity in camping and backpacking circles over recent years. You can now find quality versions made of various polymers and even titanium. Part spoon, part fork, the spork is the do it all solution to carrying a set of silverware into the wild. Perhaps my favorite version of the venerable spoon/fork alliance is the one that comes with the Guyot Designs “Utensils” set and “Microbites” set.
Guyot Designs has a reputation for solid, environmentally friendly, designs made with outdoors folks in mind. The Utensils set consist of a 9 ½ long spatula and an 8.6 inch long Spork whose handles snap together so that they can be carried as one unit. The Utensils are made of a “high-temperature, nylon polymer” that can withstand up to 450°F. They’re tough enough to handle anything a set of normal silverware would, but without the weight of steel. Total weight of both pieces is only 1.8 ounces. The Spatula/Spreader is serrated on one side and strong enough to easily cut through most foods, even meat. It’s broad spatula blade works great for spreading peanut butter or humus on a bagel or on pita bread. It’s handy if you need that sort of thing, but honestly, I leave that one behind most of the time since I always have a knife on me anyway. The Spork however is a different matter….
With the Spork, I think Guyot may well have achieved the perfect balance of soup sipping and food spearing goodness. I’ve tried many a spork over the years and most have left me wanting in some way or another. Usually the tines are too short to really spear meat and potatoes out of a meal, or the bowls are so shallow that its difficult to eat soup with the. Some have handles so gimmicky that they’re almost unusable, or at least can be a pain to clean after use. Guyot seems to have found the perfect balance of tine length and bowl depth because the Guyot Spork picks up chunks of beef stroganoff and can twirl pasta, yet still scoops up breakfast cereal or dives into a mug of Cup of Soup with ease. But wait, there’s more! Not only does the Guyot Spork actually work well at both tasks, it’s actually long enough to fit down inside an MRE pouch, backpacker meal bag, or a Jetboil pot too! I’ve long looked for a long spoon for trail use that would let me finish a meal without ending up covered in goo, or having to stop to trim down meal bags part way through my dinner. The Guyot’s 8.6 inch length is plenty good for just about any container you’re likely to be eating out of on the go. The Spork alone is only 0.9 ounces too, so it isn’t exactly going to weigh you down, even as large as it is.
Still, there are some folks for whom that still might be a little much, and Guyot is looking out for you all too. They came out with the Microbites set just in case the wonderfully large Utensils were just a bit too much for you. The Microbites use the same basic pattern as the Utensils, but they shrivel them down to only 6 inches in length. The whole set weighs less than an ounce. They have the same great design and functionality as their big brothers, just in a smaller size and at about half the weight. They work just as well too. In fact, I actually like the smaller Spatula/Spreader of the Microbites better than the big one in the Utensils set. It’s handier for me, and fits inside many jars easier. The diminutive Spork still works great and can fit into a shirt pocket. The only down side is that you do lose that great length that makes it so easy to get into packaged meals and tall pots. Still, if space or weight is at a premium, the Microbites are well worth checking out. Okay, I know I’m getting a little giddy over glorified plastic silverware, but these are items I’ve used extensively over the past year or so and which I’m really sold on.
I’ve used mine on car camping trips and lightweight backpacking trips alike. They’ve replaced most everything else in my camp kitchen cook set and have done just fine in that role. They’re easy to maintain and have been holding up great too. Whether it’s the rudimentary lick ‘em clean and stuff ‘em in your pocket, wash them properly in water boiled over the camp fire, or running them through the dishwasher when you get back home, I haven’t seen any problems with color fading, or degradation of the plastic. They seem to be holding up just fine and I expect them to continue serving for a long time to come. I have two sets of the Utensils, and one set of Microbites so far. I plan on getting a couple of more sets of Microbites for my kids soon and I couldn’t rule out another set for me as well. You see, they come in a variety of colors so you have the option on either matching them up with your other gear, or making sure everyone in the family has their own set identified by color! They also make a great companion to Guyot’s Squishy Bowl sets, which we reviewed here on Woods Monkey last year. If you want a good set of lightweight and sturdy camp utensils, and especially a Spork that actually works as well as its solitary fork and spoon counterparts, look no further than the Guyot Utensils and Microbites sets. At MSRP’s of only $7.95 for the Utensil set and $4.95 for the Microbites set you really can’t go wrong!