Firstly, I’d like to address the elephant in the room. I know what you’re all thinking… “How do you write an article about a spoon?” Well, if the perfect spoon for backpacking fell into your lap on your first outing, then you’ve never experienced the struggle of using the not-perfect spoon. I am writing this for all you strugglers out there; even the ones who might not have known they were struggling (myself included)
Walk into any gear shop, or walk down the outdoor aisle of Wal-Mart or any other store and you’ll see a myriad of options for backpacking utensils. Set pieces that fold, bend, break in half, come on a key chain, or double sided to have a fork and spoon on either end of a single piece of material. All made of anything from fancy metals to high quality plastics, or even wood. Regardless of material, there are three major design options; sporks, spoons, and forks. Which are you? A sporker, a spooner, or a forker?
I, along with many other people used to be a die-hard sporker. The logic seemed undeniable; get the best of both worlds when it comes to scooping or impaling your foods. Case closed? Think again!
I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to realize it, but I never really utilized the impaling function of my spork while eating on trail. Even when there was a very rare occasion that I needed to actually impale my food on a fork…the spork prongs were so wholly inadequate, they might as well not have been there at all. What I did notice, however, was that when I went to scrape the bottom and sides of my bowl/pot to get every last morsel of food and sauce out… those little spork prongs did nothing but impede the progress and efficiency of my food scrap – calorie recovery process. It was like trying to bail out your sinking boat by scraping the water off the bottom with a colander.
This should be an easy fix, just switch to a regular spoon, right? Yes, but a regular spoon isn’t the perfect spoon. So what is? Observe the image below and allow me to expound.
Observe Firstly: The spoon is long, much longer than your average, “regular” spoon. This comes in handy for reaching the bottom of taller cooking pots or the bottom of freeze dried backpacking meal pouches without having to reach your hand or fingers in, subsequently spreading germs or getting them dirty with slimy food sauces. It also helps that you can rest the spoon inside the pot or bowl without fear of it shifting and sinking away beneath your meal into foody oblivion and needing to be fished out with your hands or some secondary tool you may or may not have. Just envision your spoon disappearing into your bowl of cereal as a child; or in my case, as an adult. All. The. Time. Shoot, I’d lose my spoon so badly, I’d forget there had ever been a spoon in there to begin with and get another one. Only realizing my hubris after getting past the top flotilla of whatever cereal nuggets I was eating. Shameful.
Secondly: The front of the spoon is more of a blunt and flattened edge, rather than the more pointed design of a more traditional spoon. This allows for better coverage and efficiency when scraping the bottom of your bowl or pot; whether you are scrounging up every last morsel, or trying to scrape it for cleanup.
Thirdly: The sides of the spoon are also of a more flat, blunter design than the traditionally more curved edge of spoons. So now you can scrape the bottom edge of your pot AND the sides at the same time with maximum efficiency. At the end of the day, what backpacking ultimately boils down to is a combination of ingenuity, adaptability, and trying to be as efficient as possible in every aspect of your gear and daily activities. When all of these things come together in harmony, you get… happiness.
There are actually quite a few backpacking spoons in the design and make of the one pictured above; all you have to do is look. While I do own and love that particular spoon, it’s main purpose in this article is to illustrate the qualities I personally have come to value in a backpacking spoon; metal, light, long, efficient, and affordable. You can click on the spoon above to browse that particular spoon and others like it!
Now go spoon with confident efficiency, my friends!
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