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Reviews > Cook Gear > Utensils > Fozzils Solo Pack > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Fozzil Ultralight Soloist Pack - Bowl/Cup/Spoon
Initial Report
 
Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 48
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
Date: 22 April 2009
 
Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last two years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for eleven years and I have kayak/canoe camped for four years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Tennessee and Missouri. I moved to South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my fifteen year-old son.
 
Product Information
Manufacturer:  Fozzil
Year of Manufacture:  2009
URL:  www.fozzils.com     
Listed Manufacturer's measurements on packaging:  No measurements given on packaging or website.
Actual measurements: FLAT: Packaging – 10.25 in (260 mm) x 10.5 in (267 mm), Bowl – 9 in (229 mm) x 10 in (254 mm), Cup – 9 in (229 mm) x 10 in (254 mm), Spoon 3.375 in (86 mm) x 5.75 in (146 mm).  ASSEMBLED:  Bowl – 5.5 in (140 mm) wide x 6 in (152 mm) deep x 3.5 in (89 mm) tall, Cup – 3.25 in (83 mm) wide x 4.5 in (114 mm) deep x 3.75 in (95 mm) tall, Spoon – 1.75 in (44.5 mm) wide x 5.5 in (140 mm) long x .5 in (12.7 mm) tall.
Listed Volume on packaging:  Cup 12.24 fl. oz. (360 ml), Bowl 20.4 fl. oz. (600 ml)
Actual Volume: Cup 12 fl. oz. (355 ml), Bowl 22 fl. oz. (651 ml).

Listed weights on packaging: Bowl: 1.3 oz (37 g).  Cup: 1.25 oz. (36 g).  Spoon: .2 oz. (6 g).
Weight as delivered: Bowl: 1.3 oz (37 g).  Cup: 1.25 oz. (36 g).  Spoon: .2 oz. (6 g).
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: not available

Product description
This  three piece set came packed absolutely flat in its reusable packaging, which also snaps just like the products.  This particular Soloist set comes with a bowl, cup and spoon.  The instructions for folding and snapping are printed on the back of the packaging. The spoon also comes with instructions on a sticker on the item.
 
myset             set packed Packed
 
Initial Impressions
Concept:
This product looks so cool, like origami, and what a great idea to pack it flat. However, I wonder how practical it will be. The packaging/case is big and cumbersome, though somewhat flexible, but would have to be packed vertically in a pack.  It seems to me to be primarily a camping/hiking product only because there are no statements about microwaving or dishwashing on the packaging, although there are some on the FAQ on the website: "We don't recommend microwave use as some of you may superheat your meals. Unless your dishwasher puts out more than 110 degrees C (which is unlikely as water boils at 100 degrees C), your Fozzils will be fine in the dishwasher." I plan to try both later in the trial period in case the products melt.
 
 
instructionInstructions:
The assembly instructions printed on the back of the package are a little confusing because they are diagrams only.  The general instructions, on the other hand, give safety instructions that should be apparent to most users, such as: "Properly assemble products before using - Do not unsnap/unfold when using."  The instructions state not to place the liquid level above the snaps because it may leak. The instructions also state that "hot foods or liquids will soften product.


Assembling:
I was able to snap and correctly assemble the bowl and cup, even without the instructions. The spoon took three of us to correctly assemble it even with the instructions. The bowl and the cup fold easily, the spoon is a little more complicated, but all pieces will unfold to almost flat.  Once the pieces were folded, then unfolded, they do not unfold completely flat.  When I put them back into the packaging case, the case tended to flatten them out somewhat.
 
Initial Trial:  I measured how much water I could get into the cup and the bowl without it spilling. It came to a little more than Fozzil advertises (see measurements above).  I tried to fill it to above the snaps to see if it would leak, but the way that the cup, especially, is cut, I had to tilt the cup in order to make the water cover a snap.  It did not leak with tilting, but I only tilted it for a couple of seconds.  I also heated water in a measuring cup and then poured it into the cup and bowl.  Hot liquids do indeed "soften the product" and make it a little hard to handle, as the product becomes very flexible.  I could also feel the heat through the product, and if liquid was too hot, it would have burned me.  So, couple that with the product being rather flexible when cold, it concerns me.  I will test for more heat issues later.
 
 


Summary 
Positive
    Very cool design
    Ultralight
 
Negatives
    Seems cumbersome
    Softens when I poured heated water in it

Field Report
20 July 2009

Field Conditions and Trips
I have used this set on a variety of trips.  I  used it to eat lunch in several times at work.  It performed fairly well with cold foods. However, the bowl broke before I left for the big Texas/Mexico/Belize trip.  Below find trips that I made specific notes about:

5/15-17 Asheville, North Carolina. Used the cup as drinking utensil. Used it with cold liquids, wine, water, cold tea. Also used it with a drink mix and hot water.  Again, looks cool, cleans well, but is cumbersome in the backpack.

5/22 - Kayaking Black Creek, South Carolina. Used the set to for lunch of cold food and drink. The spoon is very cool and useful. The bowl was stable and easy to assemble.

5/29 to 30- Backpacking on private land near Florence, South Carolina. Used the set with hot and cold food. 

6/18 - 7/18 - I took a month long backpacking trip through South Texas, Mexico City and Belize.  I stayed in homes, hostels, and campgrounds.  The day before my trip, I was showing someone the Fozzil set and when I tried to assemble the bowl, one of the snaps on the corner would not snap.  I tried several times with no success.  Without the corner snap, it was unusable, so I traveled only with the cup and spoon.  I found spoon and cup especially useful for breakfast cereals.

What I've Found So Far

This set has some definite benefits and drawbacks.

Durability - The bowl, which had only been used maybe a dozen times, was disappointing as it was not functional for my Mexico trip.  The other pieces took a beating, however, because they were shoved in my pack, and they proved to be fairly durable and very usable.  Once, in Mexico,  I shoved the unassembled cup in my pack and it accidently got bent almost in half.  It snapped back together, but the crease stayed in there for about an hour. As for the cup and spoon, the seams are intact. They don't leak at all.

Cleaning - This is one of the major benefits of the set, that it unfolds flat for very easy cleaning.  I used the cup with red wine, and the bowl and spoon with spaghetti sauce just to see if it would stain. Both cleaned very well. I also used the bowl with canned salmon and it did not retain that odor. On the Mexico/Belize trip the cup held soup, tea, cereal and milk, drink mix and ice cream.  

Heat - One of the main drawbacks that I have experienced is the use of this set with hot/warm foods. The cup especially seems to be the least stable of the three pieces. I could feel the heat of the tea through it. The plastic becomes very pliable when heated food or drink is used with it. I felt like I would spill it. I never did, but I was very careful. I felt like it wasn't very stable. The spoon is the most stable of the three pieces because it is so small.

Usability - When I mixed a powdered drink mix in the cup, some of the powder got stuck in the folds. I noticed it when I unfolded it to wash it. The cup is rather awkward to drink from because the most stable parts of the cup are the sides where it snaps, but I have to drink from the ends (where it doesn't snap). So to drink from it, I have to hold it in both hands. For Zen folks, drinking from the cup is a very "mindful" experience, especially if the liquid is hot.

Practicality - It is cumbersome to pack even though it is flat because it is large and not squishable. I'm not sure how practical this set really is. When I am cooking in camp, I usually eat whatever I cook out of the cookpot, so this is one more thing to pack. I usually even eat cold foods out of the cookpot so really wouldn't find a set like this necessary.  

Summary
What I Like

It cleans well.
It is very light weight.
 
What I Don't Like
It becomes pliable and unstable with hot foods.
It just isn't very practical for backpacking because of its size and I can't use it to cook in.
A snap on the bowl broke before I could really test it.


Long Term Report
12 September 2009

Field Conditions and Performance
Fozzil replaced the broken bowl as soon as I contacted them.  Going into this final report period, I was really not enthused about this product.  I tried it on a couple more kayaking and backpacking trips and found about the same information as I did in the field report section. I did not like to use it regularly because it was cumbersome to pack.

Then...I took the set to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada for a week. There, we lived in a base camp situation where we cooked for each other and shared meals in a communal outdoor kitchen (see picture below).  We were to bring our own cup, bowl/plate and utensils.  This set was PERFECT for that event! It worked especially well when I had to wash my dishes because it unfolds flat. Since we were in the desert, we had to carefully monitor our water usage, so we set up a 3 tub system to: wash, disinfect, and rinse. With the Soloist set unfolded flat, washing was a breeze.  Additionally, the playa dust did not seem to stick to the material once the set dried.  Amazing, as it stuck to everything else. I used the set twice a day for 7 days.  We had curries, spaghetti, and tuna casserole. The set never took on an odor or color.  I used the package as a cutting board to cut vegetables and it worked great.  It still softened with hot foods, however.  I also wished that the spoon was a spork, though I'm not sure how Fozzil would make the tines work.  There were times, like spaghetti night, when a fork/spork would have been helpful.  Most people in my camp commented on how ingenious the set was, as well as how cool it looked.

playa kitchen

Summary
I think this set performs best, even though it is ultralight, as a base camp set simply because of its size.  I guess it might work better for backpacking if I used only cold foods, but even in the summer, I really like at least one warm meal a day on my trips and it still would be bulky to pack.

Additional likes:
It works well in a base camp situation
Playa dust did not seem to stick to it as much as it did other campware

Additional dislikes:
I wish the spoon was a spork

I will use this set again at Burning Man next year, in base camp situations, and on camping trips where I can spare the room to bring additional equipment.

This concludes my Long Term Report.  I would like to thank Fozzil and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test the Soloist Pack.  



Read more reviews of Fozzils gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Cook Gear > Utensils > Fozzils Solo Pack > Test Report by Dawn Larsen



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