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Reviews > Cook Gear > Utensils > Flatterware Cup Bowl and Plate Combo > Test Report by David Wyman

Flatterware Cup and Plate/Bowl Combo
Test Series by David Wyman

Picture from website
(image from website)




Test Phases:

Initial Report - April 28, 2010

Field Report - July 17, 2010

Long Term Report - September 21, 2010



Tester Information

NAME David Wyman
EMAIL wyman(AT)wymanhq(DOT)com
AGE 31
LOCATION Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
GENDER Male
HEIGHT 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT 175 lb (79.40 kg)


While I've been camping for years, I've only been backpacking for a short time. I'm trying to find the right equipment, alternating between tent and hammock. My dog usually comes along on the longer hikes, and my wife and toddler join me on the shorter ones. I tend to carry more gear than I need resulting in a heavier pack, but I'm working on that. When I hike with my dog and/or my wife and son, we take it a bit slower, stopping frequently to enjoy the forest. I rarely hike fast unless I'm trying to make up time.



Initial Report - April 28, 2010

Product Information

Manufacturer Flatterware
Website http://www.flatterware.com/
Product Flatterware Cup and Plate/Bowl Combo
Year of manufacture 2010
MSRP N/A
   
Features
(from website)
* BPA Free
* Float in water
 
Weight:  
   Listed: N/A
   Measured: Cup - 3.3 oz (94 g)
Plate/Bowl - 7.3 oz (207 g)
Size:  
   Listed: N/A
   Measured: Cup: Closed: 4" x 1.25" (10.16 cm x 3.17 cm)
       Open: 4" x 4.5" (10.16 cm x 11.43 cm)
Bowl: Closed: 7" x 1.25" (17.78 cm x 3.17 cm)
         Open: 7" x 2.5" (17.78 cm x 6.35 cm)
Volume:  
   Listed: Bowl: 25 oz (739 ml)
Cup: 12 oz (355 ml)
   Measured: Bowl: 24 oz (710 ml)
Cup: 13 oz (384 ml)
 
Color Tested: Blue
Other Colors: Black, Red, Green


Initial Impressions

When collapsed, both the cup and plate/bowl seem pretty solid. The ABS plastic exterior is very rigid and the top and bottom have a ridge along the inside that clip together to keep them from unintentionally expanding. Following the instructions on the packaging, expanding the cup and bowl was as simple as twisting it a bit until the notches in the ridges line up and it pops open. Both the cup and the bowl opened easily immediately after unpacking. Closing them was also easy - just push and twist until they snap together. After following the instruction to wash it in hot water to activate the spring memory, I didn't notice any difference in how easily it opened or closed.

Trying Them Out

Using the cup was very simple - twisting a bit to open and then fill with a beverage. I was a little hesitant the first time I tried drinking from the cup since I didn't want to squeeze too solidly as the sides of the cup are soft plastic and seemed like they would collapse with any sort of pressure. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that they were stronger than they seemed and drinking from the cup was a very normal process.

Using the plate/bowl combo was also very straightforward. Getting them to snap closed was a little more difficult due to the size. Hopefully they will break in after a bit of use. The plate has three notches in the edge which seemed odd at first. After holding it though, they made for a very easy and natural way to hold the plate. The bowl is attached to a base that is as wide as the plate. This allows the bowl to collapse down and the plate to lock it together. This also means that the bowl can be held by the base rather than the bowl itself which will hopefully allow it to be used with hot, as well as cold, foods.




Field Report - July 17, 2010 Trips Taken

This has been a pretty slow start to my summer and I've only been out for one short, overnight trip to Raccoon Creek State Park. The trip was a pleasant one with temps in the 80s F (upper 20s C) during the day and the 50s F (10s C) at night and no rain at all. In addition to the overnight, the Flatterware has accompanied me and my family on five or six day hikes in local parks with weather conditions perfect for hiking: temps in the 70s F (lowers 20s C), mostly sunny, and little wind or rain.

Thoughts and Impressions

I've been pleasantly surprised by the Flatterware set. I had expected it to be awkward to use in the field, but it has proven to be a useful addition to my pack. It's been especially useful when I've had my family with me. My son loves the cup and it's light and small enough for him to carry it in his own tiny backpack. The plate and bowl come in handy for preparing and serving trail-side snacks such as instant oatmeal, slicing cheese and pepperoni, making mini fruit salads, and holding trail mix and sandwiches.

The plate has withstood being used as a cutting board and the bowl balances very well on unstable ground because of the flat base. The bowl has also been very useful with soups and hot foods. The plate was used on almost every hike as a cutting board for slicing cheese, pepperoni, or fruit. The bowl was used on two of the day hikes for making instant oatmeal for my son to have as a snack and on the overnight hike for soup with dinner and for cold cereal at breakfast. The flat base stays cool and allows for the bowl to be held without contacting the hot portion. The cup doesn't work as easily with hot liquids as the base isn't very large and it isn't as easy to hold it.

I have noticed that none of the items is leak-proof when closed and they all need to be wiped down or shaken off before repacking. Also, closing the plate and bowl is still a little difficult but this hasn't been as big of an issue as I originally thought it would be. In the field, a rinse after every meal and quick wash with soap and water at the end of the day kept them clean enough for field use. Cleaning the cup, bowl and plate at home is very easy and they seem to hold up well in the dishwasher.




Long Term Report - September 21, 2010 Trips Taken

End of July was a bit hectic but two more day hikes found their way into the schedule. The first was in the southern portion of Pennsylvania in Ohiopyle State Park. This was a 5 mile (8 km) loop with the second half of the loop along the Youghiogheny River. My wife, three year old son, and one year old daughter came along on this hike. My daughter rode in a kid carrier pack on my wife's back. My son was a trooper and walked most of the hike on his own, with a few trips on my shoulders as well. The entire hike was under a very thick forest canopy which was a blessing as it kept the temperature down to around 80 F (27 C). It was a very humid hike though and, since I carried my son on my shoulders a few times, I was glad that I'd kept my pack down to about 15 lbs (7 kg) of gear - extra clothes, first aid kit, small stove, Flatterware, extra food and water. Stopped halfway for a light lunch - cooked up some oatmeal for the kids and served that, along with some juice, in the Flatterware bowl and cup.

The second end of the month hike was a 4 mile (6.4 km) portion of the backpacking loop in Raccoon Creek State Park. With temperatures in the mid-90s F (mid-30s C) and only sporadic canopy cover, this hike was a bear. I had just over 20 lbs (9 kg) of gear with me (I was hiking solo so I brought enough stuff in case I felt like staying over night and calling in "sick" to work the next day!) Used the Flatterware plate as a base to put my stove on since the ground wasn't very stable. Used the bowl to serve the rice and beans I cooked for lunch.

Despite work doing its best to keep me busy, I took advantage of a free weekend in August and did an overnight trip up in Allegheny National Forest. Hiked just over 3.5 miles (5.5 km) to the Hopewell campsite. Good news was the temperature didn't climb over 80 F (27 C) and didn't drop below 70 F (21 C) during the trip. Bad news was that it rained most of the hike into the site. I had planned for this and had everything in my pack inside a large dry sack so I didn't bother with a pack cover. After the rain stopped, I cooked dinner (Lipton noodle soup), sat on the beach eating dinner with my Flatterware bowl, and then relaxed in my hammock until I drifted off to sleep. The next morning was a nice sunny hike back to the car.

Bowl Cup
Bowl and cup in use


Thoughts and Impressions

I've been very happy with how well the Flatterware set has worked out for me. The plate/bowl combo has been very useful and, despite the slightly bulky size, I will continue to bring this with me on hikes and backpacking trips. The bowl works especially well due to the wide, flat base which makes it very easy to eat hot foods such as the rice and beans pictured above. The cup is nice and works fairly well but it's not as well insulated as I'd like so it doesn't work too well with the hot liquids, such as morning coffee, that I like to drink. It will probably only come along on car camping trips and day hikes.




Summary

Likes:
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Collapses easily
  • Bowl works well with hot foods
Dislikes:
  • Collapsed size is still a bit large
  • Not leak proof
  • Cup does not work very well with hot liquids


This concludes my Report on the Flatterware Cup and Plate/Bowl combo. Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Flatterware for this opportunity.


Read more reviews of Flatterware gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wyman

Reviews > Cook Gear > Utensils > Flatterware Cup Bowl and Plate Combo > Test Report by David Wyman



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