TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
INITIAL REPORT - April 13, 2010
FIELD REPORT - June 11, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - August 11, 2010
ed dot morse at charter dot net
Grawn, Michigan USA
5' 8" (1.73 m)
145 lb (65.80 kg)
I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lbs (32 kg) with food but no water. Since that first time I have made one and two week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Last May I did a 2 week hike in Northern Minnesota. My starting pack weight was 35 lbs (16 kg), including 10 days of food and 2 qt (2 l) of water. I am slowly learning what lighter gear works for me.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.fozzils.com
MSRP: US$ N/A
Listed Weight: Cup 1.1 oz (32 g), Bowl: 1.3 oz (37 g), Dish: 1.4 oz (39 g), Spoon: 0.3 oz (8 g)
Listed Volume: Cup 11.8 fl oz (350 ml), Bowl: 20.4 fl oz (600 ml)
Measured Weight: Cup 1.1 oz (32 g), Bowl: 1.3 oz (37 g), Dish: 1.4 oz (39 g), Spoon: 0.3 oz (8 g)
Measured Weight: total in carrying case; 11.7 oz (332 g)
Copied from the website FAQs: "Can the products be used in a microwave? Dishwasher?
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."
My first impression was that this looks like a great item to keep in the car when traveling. The three uses suggested on the carry package are trek, picnic and travel.
Copied from the Fozzils website: "Fozzils are made from a high quality, recyclable, polypropylene."
My wife immediately wanted to know how they went together so I pulled out the orange set and started folding and snapping. I accidentally did the first piece right. When I started on the second piece I saw the note "this side out". Other than which side should be on the outside no directions were needed. I thought assembly was as intuitive as possible. Below is a picture of the orange set just as I first put it together - very easy.
|orange set assembled
The Fozzils Duet came in a flat carrying case which was folded and snapped shut. The following picture is what it looked like when I took it out of the mailing envelope.
|both sets in case
When unsnapped the case unfolds and each set is in its own pocket. Here is a picture of the carrying case open. The blue set has not been taken from the pocket yet. The orange set has been assembled, then flattened and returned to the pocket.
Below is a picture of both sets. The orange set has been assembled and below each piece is the blue sheet that will fold and snap into the same size and shape.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Who needs (or reads) instructions?
Actually there are brief instructions on the spoons. There is a small note on one side of the Cup, Bowl and Dish that says "This side out". There is also a small sheet of paper in the carrying case labeled Fozzils User Tips.
1 Pre-folding the creases will make first time assembly easier.
2 The Fozzils logo should be on the OUTSIDE when folding.
3 Do not microwave
My aging eyes had a hard time discerning which side the logo is on. My best clue was the small note "This side out". I had to put on my glasses to read the small print note.
TRYING IT OUT
My experience, at this time, consists of assembling the orange set, taking pictures and washing both sets of dishes. Since I will mostly be using the set when solo backpacking I also checked to see which Ziploc bag would hold one set. The gallon size Ziploc easily holds a four piece set when all pieces are flat. One set, in the gallon Ziploc, weighs 4.6 oz (130 g).
My son and his daughter will be backpacking with me a few times this summer. When they do we will carry and use the complete set of dishes.
The Fozzil Duet is a set of light weight folding dishes. They are easy to wash although I don't know yet how easily sticky food will come off with hot water and a small amount of soap. The flat pieces will easily fit in even my smallest pack. There are several places the Fozzil Duet will fit in the bigger pack I'm testing.
So far I think the Fozzil Duet is light weight, easy to assemble, easy to pack and easy to wash.
This concludes my Initial Report.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've only been on two short backpacking outings in the last two months. Both hikes were in the Manistee National Forest (MNF). The overnight hike on May 14 & 15, 2010 was my first since I started having severe leg pains which were diagnosed as caused by a ruptured disk in my back. The first one was about 10 miles (16 km) southwest of the village of Mesick, Michigan. This is a very hilly area so I was hiking much slower than before to protect my legs and back. When I started hiking it was very windy with a temperature of 54 F (12 C). The wind died down during the night but the temperature fell to a cool 34 F (1 C).
The second overnight hike was on June 5 & 6, 2010 about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the village of Baldwin, Michigan. The local chapter of the North Country Trail Association is building a boardwalk through Sterling Marsh. After the work day was finished I parked off the access road and hiked into the red pine forest. This area is not hilly at all. It was a cloudy 68 F (20 C) when I found a place to camp. I was fortunately using a hammock on this outing. I just got the tarp up and it started to rain. The rain continued nearly all night but the tarp gave me a dry area to fix and eat my supper. By the time I was ready for bed the temperature had dropped to 54 F (12 C). When I woke in the morning the wind and rain had stopped and the temperature had only dropped to 50 F (10 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
At night on the first trip I set up the Tri Ti set, with 750 ml pot, to boil about 2 cups (0.5 l) of water. This trip I was using the alcohol stove. While the water was heating I snapped the Fozzils bowl together and poured in the dry chili I had made and dehydrated several months earlier. When the water boiled I poured most of the hot water into the Fozzils bowl. Then I covered the bowl with a light weight stretchy plastic cover and slid it into a bubble wrap envelope. Then I wrapped the whole thing in a large camp towel and set it on my sit-pad for more insulation from the ground. I let it set and rehydrate for 20 minutes. My chili was hot and very good, as well as completely rehydrated.
It was hard (impossible) to get all the small bits of food out of the corners and folds of the bowl. The spoon is not easy for me to use but it was easy to clean. On the other hand, the bowl was easy to use and wash clean. With the triple layer at the folded corners I could hold the bowl with hot contents in my bare hand. After eating I unsnapped the folds and first licked off all the food bits. Then I poured on hot water and rubbed to be sure it was clean, then rinsed with more hot water. Then I wiped it dry with the camp towel. Both dishes and remaining food then went into the food bag to be hung for the night.
The next morning I got the food bag down and set up the Tri-Ti to heat water. I snapped both the Fozzils bowl and cup into shape while the water was heating. I poured my oatmeal mix into the bowl and instant coffee into the cup. The first pot of water was enough for both oatmeal and coffee. I didn't insulate the bowl as well this time. I put the stretchy cover on and put the bowl in the bubble wrap then just laid the camp towel over it all. I started another pot of water heating while I drank the first cup of coffee. When the water boiled I had a second cup of coffee.
When I finished the second cup of coffee the oatmeal had been sitting for 20 minutes and I thought it should be cooked. It was hot but just barely cooked. I think the problem was that I had not insulated the bowl enough or protected it from the ground. After eating I washed the bowl, cup and spoon in the remaining hot water and dried them with the camp towel. I could not get all the little bits of food out of the bowl with the spoon. Although the spoon is cleverly designed to make packing easier, the folded shape of the spoon makes it impossible to use the side to pick up small bits of food. A bigger part of the problem are the folds in which small bits of food get caught. These are easy to get out by unsnapping the folds. I prefer to lick all the food bits off rather than washing and dumping on the ground. The bowl, cup and spoon are easy to wash and dry when unfolded.
I store and pack one Fozzils set in a gallon size Ziploc bag. This system is easier to pack than any combination of bowl, cup and spoon I've used over the years. I can get everything else in then just slide the Fozzils set inside the front of the pack.
On the second trip, as soon as I got the hammock and tarp up I was thinking about food. I set my stove up under a corner of the tarp and fixed supper. I set my camera up on a branch about 15 ft (5 m) away. This is one of the nice things about using a hammock and large tarp, there is lots of room to do things and stay dry. The camera was out in the rain but a little rain doesn't bother a waterproof camera. I used the Fozzils bowl to re-hydrate my soup, again using a bubble wrap envelope and a towel to insulate the soup. I followed the same general procedure I had on the first outing. Then I used the Fozzils spoon for eating. The bowl and spoon work OK but it is hard to get the small bits of food out of the corners of the bowl. The spoon does not work very well for scooping up the last bits of soup. Here is the best of the pictures I took that night. The black blob behind me is my hammock. I was sitting under the tarp to stay dry.
I woke about 6 AM when it was getting light. I retrieved the food bag and started fixing breakfast. While my water was getting hot I set up the camera in about the same place as the night before. I got up a few times to take pictures while I was eating breakfast. I had to take several pictures to get the view I wanted.
|hot cereal and coffee
I was eating hot cereal with the bowl and spoon with hot coffee in the cup beside me.
So far I've only used one set of the Fozzils Duet and I haven't yet found a use for the dish. The set is easy to pack and seems to take very little room since I just slide it inside the pack at the front. The cup works well for drinking hot coffee. I can hold the full cup with my bare hand, with a little care. The bowl works well but the only way I can get the last bits of food is to unsnap the corners and lick it off. Then it is easy to wash by pouring hot water on the flat surface.
I am sure I can find ways to use the dish while I do more backpacking in the next two months.
This concludes my Field Report.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've been on four short backpacking hikes during the Long Term Testing period.
1. June 19 & 20, 2010 this hike was in the Manistee National Forest about 40 miles (64 km) south of Traverse City, Michigan. The terrain is hilly and covered with a mix of pine, oak and maple. It was a sunny 80 F (27 C) when I started at 1 PM a Forest Road crossed by the North Country Trail. I hiked just under five miles (8 km) to one of my favorite campsites in a stand of red pine.
2. July 2 & 3, 2010 this even shorter hike was in the Pere Marquette State Forest east of Traverse City, Michigan. The terrain was easy hiking with a few hills, mostly down to the river and back up and down to the lake where we camped. The forest was mostly oak with stands of cedar along the river and pine near the lake. This was my first family backpacking in nearly 15 years, the first backpacking for my daughter in law and my granddaughter. My son had said his daughter could only do about three miles (5 km) and his wife asked for a lake. I planned an easy hike of just less than four miles (6 km) from the trail head to Dollar Lake. It was a sunny 83 F (28 C) when we started hiking. Since it was a short hike to a lake I also carried a packraft and two PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices or life jackets).
3. July 16 & 17 & 18, 2010 I planned to push myself to see what I could do while (hopefully) recovering from a herniated disk. The hike was in the Manistee National Forest with mostly hilly terrain covered with hardwood forest. I combined the very popular Manistee River Trail with the North Country Trail for a loop hike. I extended the loop by adding miles to the south end. I hiked 10 miles (16 km) the first day, 15 miles (24 km) the second day and only five miles (8 km) the third day. The first two days were sunny and warm with a high of 85 F (29 C). The third day was dark and threatening and a cool 52 F (11 C) when I woke. The rain started as I was taking down my tent. It was a steady downpour by the time I started hiking.
4. August 3 & 4 & 5, 2010 this was a group hike planned and led by the man who laid out the route and led the trail building crew. We were mostly strangers until we met for dinner the first night. The days were sunny and warm with highs of about 85 F (29 C) and lows in early mornings of 64 F (18 C). The terrain was glacial moraine mostly covered with hardwood and stands of pine in the Brule State Forest south of the small town of Brule, Wisconsin. The first day was a short 0.8 mile (1.3 km), the second day was 10.7 miles (17.2 km) and the third day was 11.5 miles (18.5 km).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I generally use just the bowl, cup and spoon. In the evening I re-hydrate my soup in the bowl and eat with the spoon. I often have Tang or Gator Aid with added flavor in the cup. When I finish eating I pour a little hot water in the bowl and scrape the food bits with the spoon. Then I drink the flavored water and wash the bowl and spoon with more hot water. I half fill the cup with cold water to brush my teeth. Then I wash the cup (unsnapped and flat) with more hot water. In warm weather my breakfast is just a Clif Bar and, of course, coffee in the cup. I carry the Fozzils set in a gallon Ziploc which is hung in my food bag at night and slides easily inside the front of my pack during the day. This works very well for me.
When we did the family hike my granddaughter used the blue Fozzils set and I used the orange set.
|family supper at camp
Tara used the blue Fozzils dish to eat her freeze dried spaghetti and the cup to drink Gator Aid. In the above picture she is holding the dish on her PFD because the spaghetti is very hot. These dishes do transmit the heat of hot food. I have to use the bubble wrap or a towel to hold my bowl with hot soup. I can drink hot coffee from the cup by carefully holding it at the corners. My orange bowl of soup is still re-hydrating in bubble wrap wrapped in the blue towel while I was taking pictures. After I ate my soup I used the orange dish to finish Tara's spaghetti. I could have eaten it from the foil package or from the bowl I had already used. I thought I should use the dish and it made Tara happy that I used the same kind of dish that she did. The dishes are so easy to clean that getting them all dirty was no big deal and we had plenty of hot water.
In addition to the above backpacking trips I used the Fozzils once to eat scrambled eggs on the deck at home. I was experimenting with cooking eggs without a fry pan. I cracked two eggs in a Ziploc freezer bag then put the sealed bag in my kettle and filled the kettle with cold water. I lit the alcohol stove and set the Tri-Ti cone and kettle over the stove. When the fire went out I opened the Ziploc and dumped the eggs in the Fozzils dish. The dish worked very well but the cooking method needs some refinement.
I have no complaints about the Fozzils Duet. While it can be a little difficult to get all the bits of soup out of the bowl with the spoon it is easy to unsnap the sides and lick the bowl clean. I then pour hot water on to finish the cleaning. The set is easy to pack and almost as easy to put in the food bag to hang at night. Since I hike solo most of the time I use just one set. The Duet is handy when someone does not have all their own gear. My granddaughter was along last month. My youngest son will be visiting later this month and he will use my extra gear.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
I intend to continue using the Fozzils dishes. I will probably just carry the bowl, cup and spoon when backpacking solo.
This concludes my testing of the Fozzils Duet.
My thanks to Fozzil and Backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to evaluate and test this interesting set of dishes.
Read more reviews of Fozzils gear
Read more gear reviews by Edwin L. Morse