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Reviews > Cook Gear > Utensils > GSI Outdoors Lexan Cutlery > Owner Review by Eric Olsen

GSI Outdoors TEKK™ Lexan® Cutlery Set
BY ERIC OLSEN
OWNER REVIEW
March 31, 2007

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Eric Olsen
EMAIL: eric.m.olsen at gmail dot com
AGE: 28
LOCATION: Provo, Utah, United States
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 180 lb (81.60 kg)

Backpacking Background: Grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska spending about 5-7 nights a year camping with my family. From age 12 until I was 18 I spent about 14 nights a year camping on my own or with other Boy Scouts, mostly in the summer. I have lived the last 10 years Utah and have spent about 10 nights a year in all seasons both hiking and camping with friends. These nights are split mostly between short ultralight and ultra-heavy car camping trip. I am a frugal consumer and like to get the most bang for my buck.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

IMAGE 1
Utensils on ring
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Manufacturer's Website: www.gsioutdoors.com
MSRP: US $2.50
Listed Weight: 0.7 oz (20 g)
Listed Size: 5.25 in (13 cm)
Measured Weight: Full Set = 0.8 oz (23 g). Fork = 0.2 oz (6 g). Knife = 0.3 oz (9 g). Spoon = 0.25 oz (7 g). O-ring = 0.05 oz (1 g).
Measured Size: Fork = 5.875 in (15 cm). Knife = 6.25 in (16 cm). Spoon = 5.875 in (15 cm). O-ring = 1.25 in (3 cm) diameter.
Other details: Color: Glacier Blue. Eggshell is also available.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The TEKK Ring Set is made of polycarbonate (also known as Lexan) and comes with 4 pieces (3 utensils and an o-ring to keep them together). The o-ring seems to be made of a different plastic but I am not sure what. The handles for each of the utensils are slightly oval in cross section making a comfortable grip. The knife is serrated. The fork has 4 tines. The spoon holds 1.25 tsp (6 ml). The fork and spoon have "GSI Outdoors" molded into the handles very lightly.

Please note: GSI Outdoors makes a variety of defferent polycarbonate utensils in both sets and individually and they come in different sizes. This set was harder to find to get the manufacturers specifications than some of the other sets. I can only comment on the set I have, which has the physical measurements that I listed in the product information, not any others.

FIELD INFORMATION

Though field conditions have had no noticeable effects on the performance of these utensils they are included for thoroughness. I have used the utensils in all seasons and in a variety of field conditions from forest to desert to rocky canyon and snow. Temperatures have ranged from 25 F (-4 C) to 100 F (38 C). Occasionally, some wind was encountered but had no effect on the function of the utensils as they are not too light so to be blown away in normal wind.

FIELD USE

I have used these utensils on several trips and outings. These trips include ultralight trips, car camping and picnics. They are used for eating and associated food preparation. They have not been used directly in fire, flame or coals.

The knife has been used for the typical things that a utensil knife is made for. This includes cutting meat, potatoes, and whatever else I have for dinner. The serrations help it cut pretty well, however cutting through some tougher foods, like meat that got a little overcooked and dry, required a little bit of sawing to get through. In short, most foods cooked right were not a problem for the knife. I have used the knife for about 8 meals (all dinner) and the serrations do not show any signs of wear. I have not abused the knife trying to cut things that it was not intended for like rope or wood or such things reserved for metal knives.

The spoon has been used more than the knife as it is used for almost every breakfast and also for a lot of lunches and dinners. I use it mostly for instant oatmeal and stirring up hot chocolate or other things. It can be used for scooping up scrambled eggs and such. The spoon is big enough for food that has a thicker consistency to it but is pretty small for soups. I find it fine for stews but small for soups. The spoon has been used mostly for individual use, not for dishing up food. It can be used for such but because of the small size I usually end up using it to help "pour" food out of a pot or pan.

The fork is used mainly when i have a more elaborate breakfasts (eggs, sausage, pancakes) than my norm (oatmeal) and also for dinners. It works well for both turning sausages in a pan, eating eggs, and stabbing the meat, potatoes and carrots in a tinfoil dinner. It does struggle a bit with the carrots in the foil dinner if they do not get cooked very well.

Overall the utensils have worked well in a variety of situations. They still show no signs of wear from use so I expect they will hold up for a long time to come.

THINGS I LIKE

IMAGE 2
4 separate pieces
Some of my favorite things about these utensils:
*Polycarbonate / Lexan is very strong. I have had no fear of breaking them. Also they will not melt in boiling water.
*They have a good feel to them. The rounded handles are comfortable.
*Super light - Under an ounce (28 g) is hard to beat without shifting to a "spork" or eliminating the knife but I like having my utensils separate.
*Cost - I like good products that are cheap. At under USD $3 they are about 1/3 the cost of titanium (the main other ultralight option)
*The plastic will not scratch pots.
*They are easy to clean. All edges except the serrated knife are rounded enough to keep much from sticking to them.
*The knife cuts well despite being made of plastic. The serration actually lets me cut better in some things than my non-serrated pocketknife.
*I like the color. Not a huge deal but I like it.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Very little to complain about here but a few things:
*They are on the smaller end of utensils. About the same size of cheap picnic-type utensils. GSI Outdoors does make virtually the same product in larger sizes.
* The included o-ring snaps shut but the snap mechanism only allows the utensils to be removed on one side of the ring.
* The utensils could nest a bit better with each other. I hesitate to mention this because it is 1)not a big deal at all and 2)I like the shape they are right now and making them nest better would have to change the shape.
* Although they do function well, (cutting, skewering, scooping) if meat is overcooked or vegetables undercooked they do struggle a bit. I do not blame them for this, just my cooking.

SUMMARY

Lexan / polycarbonate is a great material for utensils as it is super strong, very light, will not scratch cookware and is relatively inexpensive. Between the material and the overall design (shape, size, function) of these utensils I find these utensils very well suited for ultralight backpacking. If weight was not an issue I might go for a slightly larger set.

SIGNATURE

Eric Olsen
www.thearcticsummit.com

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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