FLATTERWARE CUP, BOWL AND PLATE COMBO
TEST SERIES BY DON TAYLOR
INITIAL REPORT - April 22, 2010
FIELD REPORT - July 13, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - September 09, 2010
anfhiker AT yahoo DOT com
Youngstown, Ohio USA
5' 7" (1.70 m)
185 lb (83.90 kg)
For the past 13 years I have been camping/backpacking primarily in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia with the Allegheny National Forest as the most frequented location. My trips are generally long weekends and I try to camp or hike at least once in all 4 seasons with the fall being my favorite. My backpacking trips usually consist of 15 mile (24 km) days and a group of 2-3 other hikers in forested, moderately hilly areas. I consider myself a lightweight, slow and steady hiker. The winter hikes often involve heavy snow and freezing temperatures.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: Not Listed
Manufacturer's Website: www.flatterware.com
MSRP: Not Listed
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: Cup 3.3 oz (94 g) Bowl 7.3 oz (207 g)
Capacity: Cup 12 fl. oz (355 ml) Bowl 25 fl. oz (725 ml)
Pack Size: Cup- Diameter 3 3/14 in (9.5 cm) Height 1 1/4 in (3 cm) Plate/Bowl -Diameter 7 in (9.5 cm) Height 1 1/4 in (3 cm)
Made In China
The collapsible bowl and cup consist of plastic bases with flexible plastic making up the actual cup and bowl. The manufacturer describes the cup and bowl as helical structures that spring open and closed.
The product is re-usable and is designed to be used for many various activities such as hiking, traveling, picnics, boating and working at the office. The cup and bowl are capable of holding both cold and hot contents and they are designed to prevent leaking when they are returned to the collapsed positions.
My initial impressions of the cup and bowl combo were that they were both very compact. They are easy to open and close and appear to hold enough volume to be useful. The product is what I expected after viewing the manufacturer's website, which I found to be very simple and easy to navigate.
The construction of these pieces if very simple with helical, flexible plastic connected at the base of the bowl and cup.
|Out of the Box|
One concern I have is that the product did not come labeled as BPA free. Number 7 is the recycling number that is listed on the base of the cup. The bowl does not have any number listed on it. A quick internet search revealed that plastics labeled number 7 can, but not always, contain BPA. The manufacturer does list the product as Phlalate free.
The material seems to be heavy enough to resist tears and holes. I will be interested to see how well the connection between the bases of the bowl and cup hold up after continued use.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions explain that before use, the cup and bowl need to be washed with soap and hot water to activate the spring memory.
To open the cup, simply twist it. To close, twist while pushing it back onto its base, listening for a click. The bowl and plate can be opened by separating the plate from the base by pulling the plate from the bowl. To close, press the plate back onto the base to snap it shut.
The instructions also explain that the product is safe for food, re-usable, dishwasher safe and freezer safe to -25 F (-32 C).
TRYING IT OUT
Following the instructions I washed the cup with soap and hot water. After I dried it off, I did not notice any change with the cup's spring memory. It seems to be the same as it was right out of the package. I then put a very small amount of water into the bottom of the cup and closed it to test out the manufacturer's claim that the product can be dropped back into my bag without leaking. While this is only one try, I found that water leaked out rather easily from the cup. This is something I will be looking into further. I also found that with wet hands the cup was very difficult to open.
Just as with the cup, I washed the bowl with soap and hot water and I did not notice any difference with how it functioned. I left a small amount of water in the bottom of the bowl and sealed it back into its closed position. I did not notice any of the water leaking out.
In summary, I like how small the cup and bowl collapse down which will help save space in my pack. The product is very simple and straight forward to use. The volume of the cup and bowl both seem to be adequate. I also like that they are dishwasher safe.
I am concerned about the lack of information concerning the product containing BPA. The cups is marked as number 7 plastic, which does not necessarily mean it contains BPA but it doesn't rule it out as many products made from a number 7 plastic do contain the chemical.
My second concern to this point is that the cup appears to leak out any remaining fluid that is left in it despite the manufacturer's claim that it is leak free.
Finally, I will be watching how well the connections between the bases and the bowl and cup hold up to continued use.
Please check back in two months to see the progress of this test.
Thank you to Flatterware and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have carried the bowl and cup on a few long weekend trips to Southern Ohio and the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. My longest trip was a four day hike in the Allegheny National Forest along the
North Country Trail at the end of May. Temperatures on these trips ranged anywhere from 22 F (-6 C) on one really chilly April night to 85 F (29 C) on my recent May trip so the pieces did experience freezing temperatures.
|Cup and Bowl In Action|
I would estimate that I have used the bowl and cup 15 to 20 times to this point. The cup has seen both hot and cold liquids and the bowl/plate have been used for a wide variety of foods. Field cleaning was done with a little bit of water and a rag. I used my dishwasher each time I returned home to give them a good sterilization.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Both the bowl and cup have held up very well. The connections at the bases of each have not shown any sign of wear.
The cup has continued to leak out any remaining liquids when it is closed, however this is easily fixed with a quick pass of a dry rag. Cleaning food out of the bowl is very easy because nothing seems to really stick to rubberized plastic.
The biggest issue I have run into is opening the cup when my fingers are cold or wet. The cap seems to bind up with the base when is below freezing. On one very frustrating morning, it took 5 minutes of struggling with my gloveless, freezing fingers to get the cup open to pour in my coffee. The plate does not have this issue as it is more of a pull open design rather than twist open.
I used the plate to cut up a steak with my pocketknife and fork and it held up very well with only small cut marks.
As for pack-ability, the cup and bowl do a good job of staying closed while they are in my pack. I have been storing them at the bottom of my pack which so far is working ok. To this point, I have found that the cup is much more useful than the bowl for hiking trips. While the bowl has held up well, it is not very practical for backpacking because I can't use it to boil water. This makes it an extra piece of gear as I usually boil water and eat from the same pot. The cup on the other hand has been a decent replacement for my metal coffee cup that I usually strap to the outside of my pack.
Both the bowl and cup have not shown any issues from being washed in the dishwasher, even though I use the sanitize mode on high heat.
In summary, on the positive side, I am pleased with how well the pieces have held up even with being run through the dishwasher on high temperatures. The plate shows minimal signs of wear after cutting food on it and both the cup and bowl continue to spring into place just as they did when they were new. The bottoms of the cup and bowl are still securely mounted to their bases.
The only negative to this point is how difficult the cup is to open during cold weather. The cup seems to bind up when it is below freezing.
Please check back in two months to read my long term report.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I was able to get out to the Zaleski State Forest in southern Ohio for a 2 day, 24 mile (39 km) hike for the final stage of the test. The terrain was generally very rough and often covered with rocks or roots which created many ankle and knee twisting opportunities. The elevation varied from 500 ft (152 m) to 1100 ft (335 m) with several steep ascents and descents. The weather was great with temperatures ranging from 45 F (7C) at night to 75 F (24 C) during the days.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The cup and bowl have continued to perform well. The connections at the bases do not show any signs of separating and I have not found any leaking. The plate still looks to be in good shape even after it has been used as a simple cutting board.
The combo has still been easy to pack if I load it at the bottom. I usually pack the bowl vertically against the back of the pack with the cup lying on the bottom. This arrangement has worked well and has not caused any issues.
As I stated during the last phase of the test, the cup still is the more useful of the two. It continues to hold both hot and cold liquids without issue and it has taken the place of my standard metal hiking cup for the test. I still feel that the bowl does not really have a place in my pack since I boil water and eat from the same pot.
Overall I feel that the combo holds up to use and washing well. It packs easily and the cup has proved to be useful for backpacking trips.
On the negative side, the cup can be very difficult to open during rainy or cold conditions when my fingers aren't working so great. The cup can also be leaky if I do not completely dry it out before closing it.
I expect to use the cup in the future however I do not plan on using the bowl for backpacking. It is practical for car camping however for me it is an extra piece of gear that I really don't need for my hiking trips.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Thank you to Flatterware and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this cup and bowl combo.
Read more reviews of Flatterware gear
Read more gear reviews by Don Taylor