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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cook Sets > Sea to Summit Delta Series Kitchen Kit > Test Report by Michael Mosack

SEA TO SUMMIT DELTA SERIES KITCHEN ITEMS
TEST SERIES BY MIKE MOSACK
LONG-TERM REPORT
March 26, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack@earthlink.net
AGE: 48
LOCATION: San Diego, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing solo and group trips, with and without kids. I do day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons and in various locations within the USA, to include my favorites being Yosemite and Sierra Nevadas, California. I also have worked in Afghanistan for 4 years and rely on my backpacking equipment constantly. I go lighter whenever possible. Quality and reliability of items I carry are paramount to me over price and weight.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Sea to Summit
IMAGE 1
Actual items being tested

Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: www.seatosummit.com
MSRP: is not available

Size and/or Weight of items:
Delta Bowl: Diameter - 6.5 in (16 cm) and Volume - 25 oz (750 ml)
Listed weight - 2.8 oz (79 g)
Measured weight - 2.8 oz (80 g)

Delta Plate: Diameter - 9 inches (22 cm) Volume - 33 oz (1000 ml)
Listed Weight - 4.6 oz (130 g)
Measured Weight - 4.6 oz (130 g)

Delta Insul-Mug: Volume - 16 oz (473 ml)
Listed Weight - 4.4 oz (125 g)
Measured weight with lid - 4.5 oz (125 g)
Insul-Mug lid only: Measured Weight - 1 oz (29 g)

Delta Mug: Volume - 16 oz (473 ml)
Listed Weight - 2.2 oz (62 g)
Measured Weight - 2.2 oz (61 g)

Spoon: Listed weight - 0.5 oz (15 g)
Measured weight - 0.5 oz (15 g)

Spork: Listed weight - 0.5 oz (15 g)
Measured weight - 0.5 oz (15 g)

Other details:
Colors available for Delta Bowl, Delta Plate, and Delta Mug are orange, blue, green and grey. I am testing the orange bowl, the blue plate and grey mug. The Insul-Mug is two-tone with grey and available colors as above. I am testing the grey and blue version. The manufacturer's website also shows the only color for the Spork as orange and blue for the Spoon, but I have the Spork in blue and the Spoon in grey.

All of the tested items are constructed with "Food grade Nylon 66, BPA-free" materials.
The website states all of these items are dishwasher safe except that there is no mention of this for the Insul-Mug. I take that to mean that this particular item is not dishwasher safe.
The website has links available to retailers that sell the Sea to Summit products.

Website states that Delta products should not be used in a microwave although some early production versions incorrectly had a microwave-safe symbol.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Sea to Summit website states, " designers have created the ultimate in expedition and outdoor dinnerware. Lightweight, practical and made from durable, odor resistant, BPA-free food-grade Nylon 66 can withstand high heat and cold."

IMAGE 3
Holding the bowl



Both the bowl and plate feature the patented Protex™ hex pattern base which according to the manufacturer, reduces weight and lessens the surface temperature so they can be held comfortably with hot foods or liquids inside. They are odor and stain resistant. Both the bowl and plate have easy hold thumb loops for convenient grip and for attaching/hanging. The Delta Bowl has measurement increments inside.

IMAGE 2
Lid fits both cups



The manufacturer states, "The lightweight Delta Mug features an ergonomic rim for a easy sipping. The Nylon 66 material is doubled up along the top edge forming a hollow gap between the cup and the rim so fingers are protected from hot liquids. Also has our unique hex pattern base which reduces weight and is cool to touch."

IMAGE 4
Pattern on product bottom



Additional features include hard wearing materials that are stain resistant, will withstand high heat and cold so it won’t crack and has a patent-pending Protex™ hex pattern base.

The Insul-Mug features are the same as the Mug above and have an additional molded EVA sleeve that the manufacturer states actually insulates the liquid inside the mug, unlike double-walled mugs which only protect [my] hands but don’t necessarily keep [my] beverages hot or cold. Well designed leak-proof sipping lid has an ergonomic rolled edge and thumb grip with a hang loop. Excess liquid flows back into the sipping hole because of the concave design of the leak proof sipping lid and fits both the Insul-Mug and Mug above.

IMAGE 7
Spoon and Spork



The Delta Spoon and Spork have an integrated spreader knife with a cutting edge. The spoon and spork profiles have been shaped to fit the inside curves of the Delta Bowl and Delta Plate and are ergonomically designed for comfort, according to the manufacturer.

IMAGE 5
Spoon fits inside curve of bowl

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions state that Nylon 66 is a very strong plastic that will withstand extremes of heat and cold common in the backcountry, and they are dishwasher safe. However they should not be used in a microwave.

The instructions further state, "Boiling water will not damage Delta products. When eating hot foods (particularly liquids such as soup) from the bowl or plate, hold the plate using your thumb in the hanging loop on the side and your fingers spread out on the honeycomb-patterned base. This pattern will disperse heat and prevent you from burning your fingers."
Note - I have shown the described holding method for the plate and bowl in the above image of the orange bowl.

Further tips on use and maintenance can be found on the Sea to Summit "Ask Baz" blog and they provide another website address.

IMAGE 6
Spork fits curve inside bowl

TRYING IT OUT

So far, the individual items seem to be well constructed and easy to use and hold onto. I am initially impressed and look forward to testing each of these items.

SUMMARY

I am impressed by these products. They seem lightweight in my hand and appear to be well constructed. I have already found that the only apparent difference between the mug and the Insul-Mug is that the latter has a thin slip on type "cozy" to provide it the insulating value. I am able to easily switch the cozy to either with ease. For this test however, I will keep the cozy on the same blue-colored Insul-Mug it came on.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this testing phase, I have been in Nangarhar Province, located in eastern Afghanistan for the majority of the past two months. I have since spent 9 days with 2 over night trips with 3 nights in the field with my Delta items during this phase. Additionally I have used them daily while back at base camp.

The terrain is a harsh desert environment where temperatures have ranged from highs over 80 F (27 C) to night time lows of 25 F (-4 C). Winter is coming in quickly in this area of Afghanistan. The weather has been mostly clear skies but occasionally there has been rain and even snow at elevation. The terrain is a mix of rocky mountains to sand and very fine dusty areas and the elevations have ranged from approximately 1700 ft (518 m) to over 6000 ft (1830 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The individual items have been working well for me so far.

The blue plate is a little large in my opinion for backpacking and I would normally prefer to use this back at camp or maybe on a picnic. I like its design. It is sturdy and the curved edge inside make it easy to eat from and clean up after.

The orange bowl is more of a size I find appealing when backpacking. It holds plenty of food for a single meal, is also sturdy and has the same characteristics as the plate. This bowl has become my favorite item so far. I don't hang either my plate or bowl usually, preferring instead to pack them inside my pack, but both can be hung if I desire.

IMAGE 8
Bowl and Spoon


The Spoon and the Spork both have a textured feel to them. This becomes more obvious when placed in the mouth. I tend to use my lips to clean off my utensils when I pull them out of my mouth. Both of these items seem to feel as if they grip my lips. It is not really a bad thing, but one that caught me by surprise and took a little getting used to. The texture feels a lot like eating from a dry wooden spoon.

As stated in my Initial Report, the only apparent differences between the mug and the Insul-Mug is that the latter has a thin slip on type "cozy" to provide it the insulating value, is two-toned in color, and has a lid. I am able to easily switch both the cozy and lid to either mug with ease. I will continue to keep the cozy and lid on the same blue-colored Insul-Mug they came on. My backpacking style normally utilizes cups/mugs like these back at base camp or car camping rather than backpacking. I would normally use my water bottle for drinking any liquids rather than carrying an additional mug. Having said that, both the mug and Insul-Mug are well made, not overly heavy for their size and pack well. I like the sipping lid and cozy on the Insul-Mug figuring that if I am drinking a hot drink, I'd prefer to use this.

With each of the items having the waffle pattern on the bottom (plate, bowl, mug, and Insul-Mug), the heat is dispersed enough that I do not get uncomfortable holding them when having hot food or drinks.

SUMMARY

So far, I like these individual items. They all are well made, relatively light weight and it is obvious that the designers took their time to ensure that the utensils worked well with the plate and bowl. They are all easy to clean and seem to survive well in my pack. The temperature is dropping here in this area of Afghanistan so I am curious how the Nylon 66 material will handle the freezing cold and if it remains flexible or becomes brittle. I should be able to answer this and more in my Long Term Report which can be found here in approximately two months (March 2012).


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During this testing phase, I have been in Nangarhar Province, located in eastern Afghanistan for the entirety of the past two months. I have since spent 21 days with 5 overnights in the field with my Delta Kitchen items during this phase.

The terrain is a harsh desert environment where temperatures have ranged from highs over 60 F (15 C) to night time lows of 32 F (0 C). Winter in Afghanistan is pretty short. The weather has been mostly clear skies but occasionally there has been rain and even snow at elevation. The terrain is a mix of rocky mountains to sand and very fine dusty areas and the elevations have ranged from approximately 1700 ft (518 m) to over 6000 ft (1830 m).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I have used all of my Delta items thoughout this test period. I have separated the items so that I can report on each of them below.

As I stated in the Field Report above, I still believe that the blue colored Delta Plate is a little large in my opinion for backpacking and I would normally prefer to use this back at camp or maybe on a picnic. I have used this for both hot and cold meals. The waffle pattern on the underside of the Plate does seem to work well to help to disperse the heat of the food when holding the Plate. I like the design and features of the Plate. I would be interested in seeing a hard anodized aluminum or stainless version of this that could have a dual purpose as a deep frying pan, shallow pot or a plate to eat from. As it is currently, The plastic is not microwaveable and its use is limited to that of a serving dish/plate. While admittedly I do not carry a microwave with me backpacking, I would probably relegate this plate to RV camping where a microwave would be available if it was able to be used in one, but it isn't.

I'll also stand by what I previously said in the Field Report above, concerning the orange colored Delta Bowl. It is more of a size I find appealing when backpacking. It holds plenty of food for a single meal, is also sturdy and has the same characteristics as the plate. This Bowl is still my favorite item of the group. This item I would definitely like to see it offered in a hard anodized or stainless version so that I could cook with it. I think it would be perfectly designed for that if not made from plastic. I have used this for both hot and cold meals as well and I have the same likes as mentioned for the Plate above.

The Spoon and the Spork both have fared well throughout this test period. The knife end of each of the Spoon and Spork cuts meat and vegetables well enough that I do not need to pull out my real knife. It can also handle other minor cutting of soft items when needed, but I still rely on my regular knife (Leatherman multi-tool or similar) for normal cutting duties. I still have not really gotten used to the texture of the plastic feeling a lot like eating from a dry wooden spoon. The caveat is that the texture does help to grip the items even when it is wet outside. The specific design of the Spork is such that it is the closest to having a knife, fork and spoon all in one convenient tool. The Delta Spoon is a spoon/knife combo item only. Both the Spork and Spoon are larger than most commonly available sporks which made it easier to reach a little deeper into my pot or freezer bag.

I found that with regard to the Mug and the Insul-Mug I tend to prefer the Insul-Mug for its included cozy and lid. Having the extra insulating features do help with keeping drinks warmer or colder longer than the Mug is able to by comparison. My "uncalibrated finger" and taste test repeatedly proved to me that with the cozy, the Insul-Mug performed better. My preference is such that I still would leave these mugs at base camp, my RV, or at home and not take them backpacking. I like the sipping lid and did not have any issues with it leaking and it fits securely inside the Insul-Mug.

None of the Delta Kitchen items I tested gave off any odor or taste and I did not have any negative experiences with any of them.

IMAGE 9
Cleans easily


CLEANING

Clean up for each of the items is easy and quick. Foods have not stuck to the items and I have not had any staining of the plastic either. I do tend to clean up immediately after eating so that food particles do not have a chance to stick or dry to the dishes, which makes clean up easier. I have not attempted to wash any of these items in a dishwasher and can not comment on how they would handle that. I have only hand washed the items in both hot and cold water. My soap of choice has been the green colored Camp Soap commonly sold in camping stores due to it being eco-friendly and multipurpose. I either used my fingers, a bandana, or a micro-fiber towel, to "scrub" so as to not scratch the plastic of the items.

SUMMARY

I have enjoyed testing these items with positive results across the board. While I personally would not use some of these items (Bowl, Plate, Mug, and Insul-Mug) while backpacking, I would take the Spork first and the Spoon second. I think that all of the items tested do what they were designed for and all are well made. My style of backpacking is such that I would prefer to use the Bowl, Plate, Mug, and Insul-Mug at base camp or with my RV. If the Plate or Bowl were made of a hard anodized aluminum or stainless steel, I would definitely consider taking either backpacking because I could then cook with them as well. I'd love to see the manufacturer consider this idea in a future product.

Things I like -
1. The items are well designed and well made
2. The waffle pattern on the undersides of the Bowl, Plate, Mug, and Insul-Mug does perform as the manufacturer claims.
3. The Spork and Spoon are larger then standard sized sporks making it a little easier to get to the bottom of the freezer bag or pot. The knife ends on both do cut soft foods well enough.
4. All of the Delta Series Kitchen items I tested clean up nicely and show no signs of staining.

Things I don't -
1. The items are made of plastic rather than a hard anodized aluminum or stainless steel so use is limited to serving or eating from. I would prefer to be able to cook with them as well. They also are not microwaveable which I would have preferred for use at home or in an RV. I am all about items that are multipurpose whenever possible, especially when camping.
2. The items are not really backpacking friendly and I would prefer to leave them at base camp or at home where they seem they would be better suited.

This concludes my test report. I would like to thank Sea to Summit and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these items.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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