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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > Guyot Designs Squishy Bowl Set > Test Report by Edwin L. Morse

GUYOTDESIGNS SQUISHY BOWLS
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - April 02, 2009
FIELD REPORT - June 04, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - August 04, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 71
LOCATION: Grawn, Michigan USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lbs (32 kg) with food but no water. Since that first time I have made one and two week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Late last summer I did a 2 week hike on Isle Royale. My starting pack weight was 32 lbs (14.5 kg), including 10 days of food and 3 qt (2.8 l) of water. I am slowly learning what lighter gear works for me.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Guyot Designs
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.guyotdesigns.com/
MSRP: US$ 15.95
Listed Weight:
Bowl: 3.3 oz (93 g)
Cup: 1.7 oz (48 g)
Listed Volume:
Bowl: 16 oz (500 ml)
Cup: 6 oz (200 ml)

Measured Weight:
Bowl: 2.7 oz (77 g)
Cup: 1.6 oz (45 g)
Measured Volume:
Bowl: 20 oz (600 ml)
Cup: 9 oz (275 ml)
I'm not at all sure of my volume measurements. The bowl and cup have a line or ridge about half an inch (13 mm) below the top. I filled each with water and, separately, poured the water into a 4 cup measuring cup. The measuring cup is graduated in both cups (1/4 increments) and cubic centimeters (50 cc intervals). I estimated the cup as half way between 250 ml and 300 ml or about 275 ml (9 oz). When I poured the water from the bowl into the measuring cup the water came right to the 600 ml (20 oz) mark.
Other details:
Available colors: Tahoe Blue, Tomato (dark red), Celery (light green), Slate, Tangerine (bright orange)
I'm testing the Tangerine color

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The bowl and cup came in a light weight box with a statement on the top inviting me to "Squish me!". Here is a picture of the cup in the bowl in the box in which they arrived.
Squishy Bowls in box
Squishy Bowls in box

The Squishy bowl and cup really are very squishy. My first thought was how can I possibly eat or drink out of something so flimsy. I guess that will be a big part of the testing procedure. Both cup and bowl are very smooth inside with a rougher texture on the outside. Following is a picture of the bowl in which I tried to show the smooth inside and more rough exterior.
smooth inside
smooth inside and rough outside

Here is another picture of the bowl and cup together. The cup is on top of the box and the bowl is in front of the box.
Cup and Bowl
Cup and Bowl

It seems to me that the smooth inside surface should make cleaning much easier. This thought is reinforced with my experience with silicone utensils I use in the kitchen. I wonder now if the cup and bowl would be easier to slip into small spaces in my pack if they are turned inside out. It is not at all difficult to turn both inside out.

The bowl and cup are made of "food grade silicone ethically manufactured in China" as stated on the bottom of the bowl. It also stated on the bottom of the bowl that it is freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe. It also gives the volume and a temperature range of -40 F (-40 C) to 500 F (260 C).



READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The nearest to instructions is a statement on the bottom of the box which states: "Collapsible for easy packing, yet made to retain its shape,
the bowl & cup set is perfect for hot and cold foods on-the-go. Made of flexible food grade silicone. Temperature resistant to 400 F.
Easy clean-up - hand wash using soap and water. Not for use over flame or direct heat."

TRYING IT OUT

While attempting to measure the volume of the bowl and cup I poured water from each (separately) into a measuring cup. The squishy design makes pouring liquid very easy.

Since it is stated that the bowl is "microwave safe" I cooked my supper (in the microwave) in the bowl and then ate right out of the bowl. I finished by washing the bowl and spoon in hot soapy water. The outside of the bowl was too hot to hold in my bare hands when I took it out of the microwave. The bowl was easy to clean with hot water and soap. It was also easier to dry than most utensils I've used backpacking. The next morning I cooked oatmeal (again, in the microwave) in the Squishy bowl and ate out of the bowl. Then I drank my morning coffee out of the cup. I found that by squeezing the cup I could drink from a narrow "pour spout". Both cup and bowl cleaned easily with a little soap and hot water.

I can see that I will be doing some experimenting with my cooking and eating methods in the next few months. I'm looking forward to some real testing out on the trails.

SUMMARY

This section was completed on April 2, 2009.

This will be an interesting spring and summer while I learn how many ways I can use this cup and bowl. The cup is smaller than what I usually use for drinking my coffee. The squishy flexibility makes the cup just a little difficult to drink from at the first attempt. The smooth and nearly spherical shape of the bowl make it easy to get all the food out with a spoon.

This concludes my Initial Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've had just two hikes with the Squishy Bowl Set. The first was a nearby overnight hike. The second totaled over two weeks of walking.

Hike April 24 & 25, 2009
My first over-night hike with the Guyot Squishy Bowl Set was in the Manistee National Forest in northwest Lower Michigan. This hike was partly on the North Country Trail (NCT) and partly on the Manistee River Trail (MRT). The terrain is rolling and slightly hilly covered with oak and pine forest. The NCT side is on higher and dryer ground. The MRT side has lower but steeper hills and frequent muddy and wet areas. The weather changed from a relatively warm and sunny 60 F (16 C) the first day to a cool high of 45 F (7 C) and hard rain the next morning. I had my pack loaded with 40 lb (18 kg) to prepare for the May hike in northern Minnesota. I started walking at 9:15 AM with a temperature of 52 F (11 C). I stopped a few times to mark trail work that needed to be done since my hike included the five mile (eight km) section of trail I maintain. I also stopped for a short lunch about noon. I stopped to camp at 3:30 after hiking a distance of 10.8 miles (17 km). The total distance for this over night was 22 miles (35 km) and 11 hours of walking, which included lunch and note taking breaks the first day.


Hike May 8 through May 24, 2009
This hike was in northern Minnesota and included part of the Superior Hiking Trail, all the Border Route Trail and all the Kekekabec Trail. The elevations ranged from about 900 feet (274 m) up to 1800 feet (550 m). The low areas were often wet, muddy and or rocky while the higher sections were generally less wet and sometimes even had sections of relatively level trail. Between the low and higher were usually steep climbs or descents. The forest is mostly spruce with aspen (poplar) throughout the area. We had many blow downs to work our way through, over or around. The weather was a little below freezing nights, 27 F (-3 C) was the lowest I recorded, with daytime temperatures from 40 F (4 C) up to 68 F (20 C) the last few days. We had several rainy nights and days. One night the rain changed to freezing rain and then to snow. We had snow with high winds all the next day. It was just typical north country spring weather.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Hike April 24 & 25, 2009
I set up my "kitchen" about 100 feet (30 m) from the tent and just above the creek. I got my water started heating and then dumped my dried soup into the large Squishy bowl. When the water started to boil I turned off the stove and poured hot water into the dried soup. Then I carefully set the Squishy bowl in a bubble wrap sack and sealed it closed. While the soup was re-hydrating I refilled the kettle and turned the stove back on. In the picture below I'm ready to eat. I set up the camera and tripod while the soup was rehydrating.
EATING MY DINNER
EATING MY DINNER

After I ate my soup I put in a drop of soap and filled the bowl with hot water. I washed the bowl and spoon and rinsed with the remainder of the hot water. I then put all food, bowls and kettles in the food bag and hung it from a tree for the night.


Hike May 8 through 24, 2009
The second hike was in northern Minnesota where four of us hiked five days on the Superior Hiking Trail, five days on the Border Route Trail and another five days on the Kekekabec Trail. Another BGT tester and Moderator, Kurt Papke, joined us for the last five days.

This hike was very different from any backpacking I've done before. We had our own camp chef and our own paramedic. We never needed the services of the paramedic but the camp chef was appreciated every day. The two women carried a wood fueled stove and all the cooking gear. The other guy (Lyle) and I split the food and each carried our own eating utensils. Lyle also carried a small alcohol stove for morning hot coffee. I carried the Squishy Bowl set, a Lexan spoon and a cup with a lid from a GSI Solo Cook set. I used the small bowl once to eat a salad for lunch. I used the extra cup just once for coffee. All our hot meals were cooked on either the wood stove or an open fire. The chef's preference was to use an open fire whenever it was safe to do so.

When we got to the first cache at lunch time on day five (my Jeep) I left the extra coffee cup in addition to a few other gear changes. I did continue to carry both Squishy Bowls. After that I used the large Squishy Bowl for all my eating and drinking.

In my opinion, the Small Squishy Bowl is just too small to be much good. It could be half again or even twice the size, still fit in the big bowl, and it would be much more useful.

The big Squishy works very well for this type of trip in which the food is cooked in a pot and then scooped into the eating dishes. I ate the main course, scraped the bowl as clean as I could and then ate desert from the same bowl.
eating on a cold afternoon
eating on a cold afternoon

Then I either washed the bowl with a small bit of water or turned it inside out and licked it clean.
CLEANING THE BOWL
CLEANING THE BOWL

Then we all had hot drinks and I used the big Squishy bowl for my cup. I had to use a glove or a bandanna to hold the bowl when it was poured full of boiling water. Just drinking from a solid bowl that big could be a problem. I could squeeze the sides of the Squishy bowl and had a very good small spout to drink from. I carry the two bowls (squished nearly flat) and my spoon in a Ziploc bag in an outside pocket of my pack, either beside my tent poles or beside the alcohol bottle. Before I could eat the first meal the two women had to feel the Squishy bowls and turn them inside out. The other hikers started calling my bowl the big orange or sometimes the little pumpkin.

SUMMARY

This summary section was completed June 4, 2009
I just can't find much use for the small Squishy Bowl. On the other hand, I am very happy with the large Squishy Bowl. The biggest negative I see is that possession of this bowl will cause a change in my backpacking cooking and eating methods.

My thanks to BackpackGearTest and Guyot Designs for the opportunity to test the Squishy Bowl Set. This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be added in about two months. Please check back for more observations.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I've been on three trips, which totaled four nights out, since the Field Report. I've carried and used the Guyot Designs Squishy Bowl Set on each trip. I've altered my cooking and eating methods to take advantage of the Squishy Bowls.

The first was June 13 through June 15, 2009 on South Manitou Island. This island, part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is in Lake Michigan, about 7 miles (11 km) west of the nearest point of land in Michigan. During the first night we had a light rain for about an hour. All three days were bright, sunny and warm. The low temperature each morning was about 50 F (10 C) and the high each day was about 65 F (18 C). Our group camped in an open forest area about 1000 feet (300 m) from the shore. The terrain on the island varies from flat along the south and east shore to hilly forests inland to 300 foot (91 m) high dunes on the west side.

The second, June 30 and July 1, 2009, was an overnight hike in the Manistee National Forest in northwest Lower Michigan. The purpose of this hike was to get some exercise and more specifically to test some gear in rainy weather. The weather prognosticators predicted nearly constant rain for the next four days. I started hiking at 11:15 with a temperature of 50 F (10 C) and it dropped to 47 F (8 C) by the time I got to my chosen camping area. The rain quit for the last 2 miles (3 km) of my hike in and started again soon after I got the tent set up. I camped in a small stand of red pines in a low flat area known as Lietch Bayou. Except for the bayou, this area is the hilliest part of the Manistee National Forest. The rain started again during the night and did not quit until after I got home.

The third, July 16 & 17, 2009, was an overnight hike in the Pere Marquette State Forest, east of Traverse City, Michigan. The 9.5 mile (15.3 km) hike to where I camped was a little hilly with mostly sunny skies and pleasant temperature holding at 68 F (20 C). A light rain started during the night. It was 47 F (8 C) when I started hiking in the morning and did not change. Since rain was in the forecast I pitched a tarp near the tent so I would have a dry place for eating and packing. The weather on the day I hiked back alternated between hard rain and periods of just dark threatening clouds.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Squishy Bowls have done quite well for me. In the evening I use the large bowl for my hot soup. I still use freezer bags to pack my food. Now I pour the dehydrated soup into the large Squishy Bowl and pour in the hot water. Then I put a stretchy bowl cover over the top and slide the bowl into a bubble wrap sack. This may be just a little more fuss than eating out of the freezer bag but the bowls are easy to clean and now I wash the freezer bags when I get home and use them again later. This picture, from the Sand Lakes hike, was taken while I was eating my hot soup.
eating hot soup
hot soup

The bowls do transmit the heat so I have to use a bandana to hold a hot bowl.

I've been using the small bowl for hot cereal for morning breakfast and the big bowl for my coffee. When I finish my hot cereal I scrape the little bowl as clean as I can and then pour in a little hot water to finish getting it clean. When I finish my coffee I pour the still warm water from the small bowl into the big bowl, add more water and brush my teeth. Then I finish cleaning the bowl and wipe both dry.
Here is my kitchen set up at Sand Lakes. The rain is falling, the tent and sleeping gear is packed away. The tarp let me keep everything dry.
rainy morning
rainy morning

Then one last picture before I put the camera away so I can clean up and finish packing.
Sand Lakes kitchen
Sand Lakes kitchen


SUMMARY

I still think the small bowl is too small to be really useful and I will not be using it again. On the other hand I will continue to use the large bowl. I will order the Medium bowl to use instead of the small one. I was going to suggest that there should be a medium size bowl. Fortunately I checked the website before making the suggestion. I will order the medium size bowl soon. It seems that I have changed my "cooking" and eating style.


Positives:
* The Bowls are very easy to clean
* The Bowls are easy to pack
* The Bowls have changed my methods
* They are just fun to use
Negatives:
* The small bowl is too little to be useful
* I will not carry the small bowl again
* I can't think of any more negatives

My thanks to BackpackGearTest and Guyot Designs for the opportunity to test the Squishy Bowl Set.
This concludes my Long Term Report.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Guyot Designs gear
Read more gear reviews by Edwin L. Morse

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