TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
March 06, 2021
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
126 lb (57.20 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with a co-ed scout group which made a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since college in Pennsylvania. I have hiked 1/4 of the Appalachian Trail and 2/3 of the Pacific Crest Trail. My typical trip is in the Sierra Nevada from a few days to a few weeks long. My base weight is lightweight at 15 lb (6.8 kg) while still using a tent, stove and quilt. Longer mileage summer trips are now stoveless.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2020
Manufacturer's Website: http://gosun.co
MSRP: $39 US
Listed Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
Measured Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
Case: 3.3 in x 2 in x 0.15 in (84 mm x 51 mm x 4 mm)
Each Utensil: 6 in x 1 in x 0.1 in (152 mm x 25 mm x 4 mm)
Case: 3-3/8 in x 2-3/16 in x 5/16 in (86 mm x 56 mm x 7.9 mm)
Fork: 5-3/16 in x 1 in x 1/8 in (132 mm x 25 mm x 3.2 mm)
Spoon: 5-9/16 in x 1 in x 1/8 in (141 mm x 25 mm x 3.2 mm)
Made in China
The GoSun Flatware set is a reusable cutlery set that fits into a case the size of four credit cards. The utensils consist of a spoon and fork made of 304 stainless steel. The spoon has a serrated edge to provide some knife-like utility. The case is made of dishwasher safe PE (polyethylene).
Both utensils fit into a small thin case and snap to hold them in place. When in the case, the business ends of the utensils are securely hidden inside the utensils handles so they aren't exposed. The utensils snap out from the case and then can be opened by sliding them out to provide a full-sized fork and spoon. When fully open, the utensils lock into place to keep them from sliding back in accidentally.
The utensils are dishwasher-safe and reusable. The idea is that we won't need to use so many single-use disposable plastic utensils by having our own set. This keeps plastic out of the landfill. GoSun claims that on average we use 322 single-use utensils per year. Wow! That is a lot.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
My initial impression was how small the package was that this set arrived in... just a flat mailer envelope. The case truly is the size of 3 or 4 credit cards stacked up.
My next impression was how nicely the utensils snap in and out of the case. They are secure but still easy to remove. Next, I tried to slide out the business end of the fork and spoon from their handle portion. When they are fully extended there are two wire detents that snap out to hold the utensil in the open position. This is a great touch so that they don't collapse while eating.
I had to use two hands to slide the utensils out into the ready to eat position and to slide them back into the collapsed position. I'll have to play around with that more, but I'm wondering how well that will work when my hands are dirty and I don't want to touch the eating surface of a utensil or when the utensil is dirty and I want to collapse it for storage before washing.
I used the utensils to eat some breakfast cereal where I found the depth of the spoon to be a little shallow for getting much milk with my bite of cereal. I used the fork to each some fruit chunks and found it to work great for stabbing the fruit. The fruit stayed secure on the tines. I tried to use the serrated edge to cut the fruit but it was a little too squishy. I'll experiment more with that.
I then tried to operate the utensils one-handed and was able to do it with some effort. Overall, the set is really a great idea and pretty functional. I'm excited to get more use on them both for camping and backpacking along with eating take-out.
There was also an instruction sheet included along with the set being packaged in a brown paperboard wrapper which has information on the outside along with being perforated so that the inside tears into 6 awareness cards stating that each day enough plastic utensils are thrown away to fill 3,000 garbage trucks.
While the set is small enough to fit in my wallet, I won't be likely to store it there. I'll see what works best to ensure that I have it with me. My list for leaving the house is getting longer: wallet, phone, keys, mask and now utensil set!
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The included instructions say to remove the utensils out of their case, slide the utensil out until it clicks into place. Then to put them away, unlock the side tabs by pressing them inwards and collapse the utensil back into its sheath.
The GoSun Flatware cutlery set is a reusable set of stainless-steel utensils that fit into a small case so they can go anywhere.
Using less single-use plasticware
Small size fits in a wallet or pocket
Stainless steel construction
Snap securely into the case
Snap securely into open position
Don't slide easily into open position
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I used the GoSun Flatware on a regular basis for backpacking, camping, hiking and biking. Thanks to COVID, I also used the set for lots of take-out. Some examples are below.
Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah: 2 days; 17 mi (27 km); 5,048 to 5,645 ft (1,539 to 1,721 m) elevation; 32 to 65 F (0 to 18 C); varied from calm with warm sun, to rain, snow and high winds
White Rim 4WD Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, 5 days; 103 mi (166 km) drive; 3,920 to 6,170 ft (1,195 to 1,881 m) elevation; 30 to 45 F (-1 to 7C); mostly clear
Two hikes in Coldstream Valley, Northern Sierra Nevada, California: 4.8 mi (7.7 km) each day; 5,935 to 6,236 ft (1,809 to 1,901 m) elevation; 32 to 35 F (0 to 2 C); mostly sunny
Blodgett Experimental Forest, Sierra Nevada, California: 2.1 mi (3.4 km); 4,080 to 4,200 ft (1,244 to 1,280 m) elevation; 38 F (3 C); clear, sunny conditions; 4 ft (1.2 m) of fresh snow so lots of post-holing
Little Zion, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada: 7 mi (11 km); 5,500 to 6,300 ft (1,676 to 1,920 m) elevation; 52 F (11 C); partly cloudy conditions; off-trail
Dam to Phoneline Trails, Sabino Canyon, Arizona: 6 mi (10 km); 2,680 to 3,234 ft (817 to 986 m) elevation
Two rides of 11 mi (18 km) each on Coastal Trail / Haul Road, Fort Bragg, California: nearly sea level; 56 to 62 F (13 to 17 C); mostly clear
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I typically kept the GoSun Flatware set in my favorite daypack. That way it was always with me for any meals while hiking, biking or snowshoeing. I carry this particular daypack as my airline carryon also, so I basically had this pack (and hence the GoSun set) with me most times outside of the house. Speaking of the airlines, I only got stopped one time going through airport security (the last of many flights, actually). I certainly can see the concern, but it hadn't even occurred to me prior to being stopped. It was no issue though since they were only looking for a hidden blade which this set doesn't have. Funny enough, once the security guy saw what it was, he commented that he wanted one!
Overall I found the set to be quite useful. I absolutely love the idea of not getting plasticware every time I order take-out. That wouldn't normally be a big deal, but with COVID it was frequent. Between attempting to support local restaurants and continuing to travel safely, takeout was a big part of our lives where it never had been before.
I didn't ever carry the set in my pocket or wallet. It is just too thick and I'm not a fan of carrying anything in my pockets. My phone, very-thin wallet and now mask are plenty to have to carry with me all of the time. For backpacking and camping the GoSun fit easily in my cook pot. Otherwise, it was always in my daypack.
The spoon worked well for thicker foods like oatmeal, chili or stews. It is basically a spatula with little depth so it doesn't work for soups, cereal or anything with liquid. It worked well for spreading peanut butter (a trail staple). The spoon was also a good stirrer for adding cream or sweetener to hot beverages. The spoon has a slightly serrated edge on it which wasn't quite sharp enough to do any cutting. If it was sharper, I probably wouldn't feel safe with it in my mouth when using it as a spoon. So, I didn't find any use for the serrated edge. Plus, I usually have a sharp knife with me on the trail anyway.
The fork worked well for foods that held together but could be stabbed easily like chunks of meat, baked potato or al dente vegetables but not for salads, beans or rice. I found the fork to be much less useful than the spoon although neither functioned as a typical fork or spoon.
Spoon versus fork isn't marked on the flat exposed side of the utensils so when they're in the case, I don't know which one I'm picking. Needless to say, it's usually not the one I want. I'm thinking of using a permanent marker or etcher to indicate each once the test is completed and I can alter the product.
I liked that the case stores the utensils face-down which keeps the business end of the spoon and fork protected. That design goes a long way towards keeping the utensils clean.
The durability of the utensils has been very good. I got over my initial difficulty with sliding them open and closed. It wasn't a big issue at all. The stainless shows no sign of wear and the spring detents are working just fine. The utensils still click in and out of the case with no problem.
Overall, I absolutely loved the IDEA of this utensil set. The execution left something to be desired in my opinion since neither the spoon nor fork work as well as those pesky plastic utensils. I ended up keeping a plastic set on hand too...just one.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.
Case keeps utensils protected and clean
Neither utensil functions like a true fork or spoon
This concludes my Long-Term Report and this test series. Thanks to GoSun and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test out this innovative product.
Read more reviews of GoSun gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith