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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cook Sets > Sea to Summit Delta Series Kitchen Kit > Test Report by Larry Kirschner

Sea to Summit Delta Series Kitchen Items

TEST SERIES BY LARRY KIRSCHNER

Sea to Summit Delta Set


INITIAL REPORT - November 6, 2011
FIELD REPORT - February 4, 2012
LONG-TERM REPORT - April 1, 2012



TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Larry Kirschner
EMAIL: asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Columbus, OH
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90 kg)

I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but now that my kids are avid Boy Scouts, I've caught the backpacking bug. I typically do 8-10 weekend hikes per year, and have spent time over the past few years backpacking the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and canoeing the Canadian wilderness. I like to travel "in comfort", but I've shrunk to medium weight, and continue to work toward going lighter and longer. With all of my investment into these ventures, I expect my wife and I will continue to trek long after the kids are gone…


INITIAL REPORT
November 6, 2011

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Country of Manufacture: China
Manufacturer's Website: www.seatosummit.com/
MSRP: N/A for any of the items


ITEM DESCRIPTION

The Sea to Summit Delta kitchen products are a group of plastic eating ware aimed at the backpacking set. The Delta set consists of the following items, which are each sold separately:

Delta Plate
Delta Bowl
Delta Mug
Delta Insul-Mug
Delta Spoon with Serrated Knife
Delta Spork with Serrated Knife

All of the items in this product line are made from glass-reinforced Nylon 66, which is touted as a lightweight and durable plastic which is manufactured using BPA-free methodology. The plastic is odor and stain resistant. The material is also resistant to high and low temperatures and can be washed in a dishwasher. However, it is not suitable for the microwave. Although I don't think this will be an issue on the trail, I will keep it in mind if I should use the Delta set at home.

Each of the items with a flat bottom (i.e., the bowl, plate, and mugs) have a Protex ™ base, which is an interlocking pattern of hexagonal indentations designed to reduce surface heat and make the items "never too hot to handle" from the bottom. I show the bottom of the plate here as an example:

Protex bottom

The plate and bowl have a small extension which is designed the items to be hooked on a carabiner. The insulated mug has a string in its top which could serve the same purpose. Each piece comes in a choice of yellow, blue, green, or gray. In the photos in this report, the bowl is yellow, the mug and spork are blue, the insulated mug is green (although with a gray insulating cover) and the spoon and plate are gray.

Details on each piece are provided below:


Delta Plate
Delta plate

Reported diameter:
9 in/23 cm
Measured diameter:
8.75 in plus 1.125 in for carabiner hook (22.2 + 2.9 cm)
Measured depth:
1.25 in/3.2 cm


Reported weight
118 g/4.1 oz (according to attached packaging. Website indicates weight as 104 g)
Measured weight
118 g/4.1 oz


Reported capacity
1 liter/33.8 oz
Measured capacity
1 liter/33.8 oz

Notes about the plate: Although the plate will hold 1 l (33.8 oz) of volume, this completely fills it, such that I could not move the plate without spilling. Thus, the functional volume of the plate is somewhat lower.


Delta Bowl
Reported diameter:
6.5 in/16.5 cm
Measured diameter:
6.25 in plus 1.125 in for carabiner hook (15.9 + 2.9 cm)
Measured depth:
2 in/5.1 cm


Reported weight
86 g/3 oz
Measured weight
88 g/3.1 oz


Reported capacity
750 ml/25.4 oz
Measured capacity
850 ml/28.7 oz

Notes about the bowl: The bowl has marking on its inside at 250, 500, and 750 ml. The mark at 750 is not at the bowl's lip, so it can actually hold an extra 100 ml (3.4 oz). I checked the accuracy of the marks using a measuring cup, the measurements were reasonably accurate, certainly within acceptable error while backpacking!


Delta Mug
Reported diameter:
N/A
Measured diameter:
3.5 in/8.8 cm
Measured depth:
4.125 in/10.5 cm


Reported weight
62 g/2.2 oz
Measured weight
66 g/2.3 oz


Reported capacity
473 ml/16 oz
Measured capacity
473 ml/16 oz

Notes about the mug: The cup has a "cool-grip rim", which is an extra layer of plastic at the top that folds back and provides an insulating lip. More importantly, the cup also has volume measurements on its inside, both in ml and ounces. The accuracy of these markings were also verified.

inside of the delta mug


Delta InsulMug
Reported diameter:
N/A
Measured diameter:
3.5 in/8.8 cm
Measured depth:
4.25 in plus 0.125 in extra lip for string attachment (10.8 + 0.3 cm)


Reported weight
125 g/4.4 oz
Measured weight
117 g/4.1 oz


Reported capacity
473 ml/16 oz
Measured capacity
473 ml/16 oz

Notes about the insulated mug: Like the uninsulated mug, this cup also has volume markings. The top of the mug fits tightly and doesn't leak, at least when I tested it with water. It is well designed, with a large sipping hold on one end of the top, and a small air hole on the other end. The lid also has its own string, which could be used to hold the whole mug on a carabiner, or at least hang the lid so I don't lose it.


insulating mug with top



Delta Spoon with Knife
Delta Spoon/Knife
Measured length:
7.25 in/18.4 cm


Reported weight
19.5 g/0.69 oz (website indicates 0.5 oz/15 g)
Measured weight
12 g/0.42 oz


Delta Spork with Knife
Delta Spork/Knife
Measured length:
7.25 in/18.4 cm


Reported weight
19.5 g/0.69 oz (website indicates 15 g/0.5 oz)
Measured weight
12 g/0.42 oz

Notes about the spoon and spork: The curvature of the spoon and spork are designed to match the sides of the plate and bowl, meaning there shouldn't be any problem with getting food out of the 'corners' of the dishes. The serrated knife feels reasonably sharp and should serve to cut trail food. As I would expect, it is not sharp enough to cut my finger if I should slip.


Lastly, I wanted to comment that although I will be testing a bowl and a plate, both of these have a fairly low profile, as shown below. The can of soda is included as a size standard:

delta set--side view


INSTRUCTIONS and WARRANTY

Each piece of the Delta kitchen set came with its own attached packaging, consisting of a single plastic sheet of instructions printed in English, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese. Mostly, the instructions provide basic information about each product piece. The information for the mugs and utensils indicate the items are made of food-grade plastic and are dishwasher safe. Although the plate and bowl do not include this information, these items have the symbols for "food grade plastic" and "dishwasher safe" stamped onto their bottom. At least, I believe that is what the symbols mean. No warranty information is provided, and I was unable to find any after a short search on the Sea to Summit website.


INITIAL IMPRESSIONS and TRYING THEM OUT

I haven't taken these items on the trail yet, although I stuffed them in the back of the daypack I use for work so I could use the scale there. From what I can tell, the Delta items did not suffer from being mashed by a stack of journals and papers. They seem very lightweight and sturdy. The hexagonal printing on the bottom is unusual, and I'm interested to see if this works to make it easier to hold hot food.


EXPECTATIONS for the Delta Series kitchen items:

I expect to enjoy a variety of meals and hot beverages over the upcoming winter, and I'll see how each of the Delta products holds up.


THE STORY SO FAR
    Impressive
  • Very lightweight
  • Pieces seem sturdy
  • Well-designed with useful features
    Concerns
  • None at the moment
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FIELD REPORT

February 4, 2012


FIELD CONDITIONS

During the Field Report, I used the Sea to Summit Delta Kitchen set on two weekend camping trips. In November, I was cabin camping in Newark, Ohio. The weather outside was cloudy, with a low temperature around 30 F (-1 C) and high around 60 F (15.5 C). However, the cabin had electric heat, and was toasty all the time. The other weekend was the last weekend in January, when I was camping in Rock Creek, Ohio, near Cleveland. Low temperature was about 25 F (-4 C) with a high of 35 F (2 C) and snowy weather. I stayed in a rustic cabin with a wood stove for heat. The cabin was comfortable during the day, but it got chilly at night, particularly the first night when the stove went out overnight.


FIELD EXPERIENCE

On both weekend trips, I brought all of the Sea to Summit eating items, although this is far more that I would bring had I been backpacking. I tried to split up my usage of the items to get some experience with all the various Delta Kitchen pieces.

In November, we had eggs and sausage for breakfast (bowl, spork), soup and a sandwich for lunch (bowl, spoon), and Dutch oven chicken parmigiana and spaghetti for dinner (plate, spork and spoon). I also tried to make cookies using a trail oven; unfortunately, it didn't work so well, so we had delicious cookie dough soup (bowl, spoon). Breakfast the second day was my usual oatmeal (bowl, spoon) before leaving for home. During the weekend, I used the cup for cold water as well as the mug for hot tea.

After using the Sea to Summit items for the weekend, I came away with a few impressions. First, I really liked the plate and bowl. They are very sturdy. The fact that the plate has a lip means that food does not easily fall off the edge. With both the hot food and the hot drinks, I tested to see if the Protex patterning on the base of the Delta items protected my hands from burning. I was pleasantly surprised that this was the case. I could easily hold a plate of hot food or hot drink in my hands without burning them. I had some minor quibbles with the silverware. First, the knife edge of both the spork and the spoon mean that the utensils don't fit like a normal fork or spoon in my hand. Also, although I used the knife edge to cut my food, I wasn't sure what to do next since I now had a spoon that was dirty on the back (holding) edge. This wasn't a problem when I used the spoon solely as a knife, but might be trouble if I only had one of the utensils. Finally, because the plastic is so smooth, it is a snap to clean up.

For the January trip, we had pancakes and sausage for breakfast (plate, spoon). I used the spoon and the plate, which easily held two large pancakes and a couple of sausage links. As shown in the photo, the rounded edges of the plate also held plenty of syrup!

Pancakes!

Lunch was chicken and green beans and dinner was salad, lasagna and more green beans. I used the plate for each of these meals. For breakfast, we had oatmeal, so I used the bowl for that meal.

My impressions after this last trip were similarly favorable to the first one. Because it was much colder outside, I drank more tea. I can attest to the fact that the insulated mug keeps beverages warm a long time. Even thought I did not put the lid on the mug, my tea stayed hot for 2 hours, and was still reasonably warm at about 3 hours when I finally had time to drink. This was even somewhat of a drawback, as I needed to add cold water to the mug to enable the tea to cool to a drinkable temperature! Although I'm not a huge spork fan, I must say that the tines of the spork worked well, at least for eating green beans. I also wanted to comment on the fit between the bowl/plate and the utensils. As noted in the IR, the curve of the items matches so that the bowl/plate can be easily scraped. I found this to work well in practice. Although I was not able to completely scrape out all the liquid from my bowl after oatmeal, I was able to get all of the solid parts out, making clean up a snap.

Oatmeal all gone :(

WEAR AND TEAR

I have put the Delta items in the dishwasher after returning home from both trips described above. Aside from the fact that the insulated sleeve came off the mug on the second wash, the items otherwise came out fine. I just slipped the sleeve back on the mug and it is good to go again.


FIELD IMPRESSIONS

To date, I really like the Sea to Summit Delta kitchen pieces. They are lightweight but sturdy. They are well designed and also big enough to fit any type of food, meaning that I get to laugh at my partner who tries to eat all of his meals from a mug.



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LONG-TERM REPORT
April 1, 2012

FIELD CONDITIONS AND EXPERIENCE

Over the past 2 months, I took the Summit kitchen items on one other weekend trip to Yellow Springs, Ohio. I was cabin camping, but it was VERY rustic. In other words, we had no patching or caulking to keep the wind out, and only a wood-burning stove for heat. It got down to 20 F/-6 C outside, and was about 35 F/2 C inside. Chilly! As on my prior trips during the test, I brought all 6 pieces of the set with me (plate, bowl, cup, mug, spoon-knife, and spork-knife) although this was significant overkill. I only ended up using the bowl, the spork-knife, and the mug for the weekend.

My impressions from the LTR didn't change much from the prior two months. Basically, this stuff is dynamite! The plastic is light but sturdy, and I had no problems after cramming it in my backpack for the trips during this report. The plate and bowl are plenty large for eating and they are easy to clean. I generally only use a bowl when backpacking, and the Delta Bowl is definitely an upgrade over my prior version.

The silverware pieces are functional but maybe overly complicated. My maxim while backpacking is "if it needs a knife, it's not done cooking," so I actually prefer a spoon/spork with a straight handle to the knife-handle of the Delta pieces, but this is certainly an issue of personal preference. I was pleasantly surprised at how functional the tines of the spork were for picking up noodles and the like. The cup and mug are a little bulky, and the differences are only that the mug has a top and an insulating sleeve which can be slipped on and off. Both work well, but the mug is notably fantastic for keeping hot beverages hot. It also works well for a few hours as a hand-warmer when filled with hot water or tea! The patterned bottom of the mug/cup and the plate and bowl actually made a noticeable difference in allowing me to hold them in my hands when holding hot, steaming food or beverages. My only complaint is that it would be nice to have a hook or something that I could use to attach the lid to the mug. Although the lid has a string loop on it, there is nothing on the mug to which this can be tethered. This means there is a decent chance of me leaving the top somewhere unless I am especially diligent.

Finally, I like the fact that when I get off the trail I can just throw these items in the dishwasher. They tolerate this with no trouble whatsoever, and are ready for my next trip.

SUMMARY

Overall, I found the Sea to Summit Delta Kitchen items to be outstanding pieces of gear. They are everything I want in my eating gear on the trail-light, sturdy, big enough, and easy to clean. I plan on continuing to take them with me on my future trips, although I won't take the whole set. The mug and bowl will be plenty. Unless meat is on the menu (ha!), I'll probably also leave the spoon-knife and spork-knife home in favor of my trusty old spoon.

Things I liked about the Sea to Summit Delta Series Items:
  • Light and sturdy
  • Perfect trail size and shape that matches the spoon/spork
  • Easy to clean on the trail and at home
  • Hex pattern on bottom provides good insulation from hot foods
  • Mug really keeps things warm
Things I disliked about the Delta Kitchen items:
  • Don't care for the knife on the utensil handles
  • Cup/mug a little bulky if space is tight.



Thanks to Sea to Summit for providing these items for testing, and to BackpackGearTest.org for giving me the chance to participate in the evaluation process.


-larry kirschner

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