Guyot Designs MealGear “the Utensils”
By Raymond Estrella
June 28, 2006
Orange County, California, USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Manufacturer: Guyot Designs Inc.
Web site: www.guyotdesigns.com
Product: the Utensils
Piece tested: Spork
Year manufactured: 2005
MSRP: $ 7.95 (US)
Weight listed: 1.4 oz (39.7 g) Verified accurate
Weight of spork: 0.7 oz (19.8 g)
Length: 8.5 in (21.6 cm)
Warranty: (from hang tag), “Guyot Designs warrants that this product will be free of defects in materials and workmanship for as long as the original purchaser owns the product.”
The Guyot Designs, MealGear the Utensils cutlery set (hereafter referred to as the spork or spatula) is a very clever set of eating utensils.
It consists of two pieces of cutlery made of “high temperature Nylon Polymer, has a 450 F (232 C) melting point.” One is the main subject of this review, a red “spork”. (Spoon plus fork.) The other is a combination spatula/knife/spreader in the same color.
The 9.4 in (23.9 cm) spatula has a 3.3 in (8.4 cm) long, 2 in (5.1 cm) wide flat spreading/flipping surface at the business end. The handle is .75 in (1.9 cm) at the flat end, and widens to 1.35 in (3.4 cm) at the other end. One of the flat sides is injection molded with a serrated edged on it. The company claims that it can “cut bagels to sirloins”.
The shorter spork has the same shape to its handle, but goes from a narrow point of .5 in (1.3 cm) to 1.1 in (2.8 cm) at the “holding” end. The other end consists of a generous 1.7 in (4.3 cm) wide by 2.5 in (6.3 cm) long food shovel, (spoon) adorned with wickedly sharp .75 in (1.9 cm) long tines to give it the fork effect.
The two handles will snap together, locking quite securely. To keep them together more surely, they have holes in each that match up with the other that the company suggests could be attached by way of a carabineer.
I do not normally add company rhetoric to my reviews any more, but wanted to do it in this case as I feel a bit strongly about it. The following is quoted.
”Inventor Clint Slone has developed a unique and functional way to bring everything you need from your kitchen to the trail. The unique set is versatile enough to twirl your pasta, sip your soup and is surprisingly sharp enough to cut your toughest trail food. The Spreader/Spatula simplifies PB&Js on the run, and it all snaps together for the easiest of packaging.
It is specially designed to work well with deep stoves like JetBoil™, and it gets to the bottom of meals in a bag without getting your hands too involved.
The utensils are completely reclaimable. In an ongoing effort to make sustainable and ethical products for the outdoors, we have initiated a program whereby The Utensils can be reclaimed and turned into another great product. It is our goal at Guyot Designs to close the loop on production and waste while creating great products in the mean time.”
These utensils (and indeed all of their products) can be returned to the company for recycling. I find their attitude (along with other notable gear manufacturers with the same philosophy) to be quite refreshing. A thing that I found humorous was the following from the hang tag, “Ethically manufactured in China”. As much of a smart ass as I am, I will not speculate…
Let me touch quickly on the spatula. I do not use it. It sits in my gear room with the other lonely kitchen items that gather dust as I now am a freeze-dried, freezer-bag, organic-bar meal planner now.
But since I wanted to write about the Spork, and they came as a set, I tested the spatula in controlled situations.
It is very flexible. More so than the other two spatulas that I have. (Yes, I used to be a big eggs-in-the-morning guy.) And it is safe on Teflon and other coated cookware, which I have three types of. I am thinking about taking a Dremel tool and increasing the radius of the corner opposite the serrated edge to fit better in the shoulder of my hiking frying pan for when I want to cook breakfast for a group again. This weighs half of my next lightest spatula, and about a quarter of the other.
And the claim of cutting sirloin? I took a piece of “steak bites” from my food stocks (don’t ask) and tried the edge on it. No sweat. Then I opened a bag of Jack Links beef jerky. (Guess what I am munching on as I write this?) I got the thickest piece in the bag and cut through it against the grain in five places. The longest time/amount to saw through it was four back-and-forths. Most were two-and-a-half or three. And this is tough stuff. (My jaw hurts…)
OK, enough of the spatula, on to the reason I bought it. The Spork!
I have been in search of the perfect eating utensil for a long time. (Leonard Nimoy was not interested in this story. Hey, would that be Mr. Spork?) I was a very early adopter of freeze dried foods. I always hated having to take it out of the package and put it into a pot to cook, and eat it. As the idea of eating out of the bag itself was broached (at first that was not feasible, they were barely sealed well enough to hold air) I was all for this radical new idea. But a spoon that would work was always my bane. The following is a recent history of my search for the holy gruel scooper.
Pre A: The prehistoric ages of clip-together Army surplus stainless steel. Of course they matched the steel kitchen sets.
A: 1990 The first Polycarbonate Lexan spoons. These ushered in the modern age of hiking cutlery. They were so short that I needed to put everything in a bowl to eat it, but that was OK, I was carrying a 4 piece stainless steel set anyways.
B: Late 1990s The GSI “blue” Lexan spoon. It was longer! I can finally eat out of the freeze-dried bag, but will undoubtedly have stroganoff flavored fingers when I am done.
C: 2000 The McDonald’s McFlurry spoon. Super light weight and when another headless-handle (not shown) was inserted into the base of the whole model it was long enough to reach! Unfortunately the hollow handle and hole in it filled with food that was almost impossible to clean out. It also had a tiny scoop that could drive me to tears on a hungry cold winter eve.
D: 2004 The OR Serving Spoon. At last a spoon long enough to reach the deepest bag. But even my big mouth had trouble getting around it. I took this for a year and could get done with dinner before Dave had his third bite.
E: 2005/06 winter season. I found the MealGear spork. “Now this one is just right”, exclaimed Goldilocks as she devoured Baby Bear’s freeze-dried porridge. “And look. No oatmeal on my fingers”! I think I have found it.
Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Hallelu….iah!
I really like this spork. It is long enough to get to the bottom of my biggest Richmoor Natural High Tequila Chicken bag. And I don’t have to worry about my fingers attracting bears all night afterwards.
It has a large scoop, but not too big for comfort. A petite woman may feel differently though. (I guess in fairness I should say a petite man and a goldfish may notice it also.) It is perfect for me.
The tines are very long and sharp and have no problem spearing a chunk of stab-able material. Like meat, eggs, cheese, or my lip, the only stickable thing I tend to use it around.
In fact this is the only negative I have about this spork. The tines (which I don’t need) are so long that it makes it difficult to get those last scoops of broth out of the corner of the bag. It runs back out. I would love it if this were a spoon. If they ever release it as a 4-in-one (less fork) I will be all over it.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
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