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Reviews > Knives > Multi-tools > Baladeo Outdoor Cutlery Set > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

BALADÉO OUTDOOR CUTLERY SET
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
November 5, 2012

Personal Details and Backpacking Background

Male, 66 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.91 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I've been backpacking for almost half a century, and regularly in the Rockies since 1986.  I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose a bit of extra weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.  Winter adventures are often on touring or telemark skis.  Summer backpacks often center on fly-fishing opportunities.

THE PRODUCT

The Baladéo Outdoor Cutlery Set (translation from the French Couverts de Randonée) is a multifunction tool with, according to its manufacturer, seven intended uses: knife, fork, spoon, can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew, and 2 mm flathead screwdriver.  This last attribute, which is achieved through a modification of the handle on the fork (easily identified on Baledéo's website), postdates my acquisition of the Set. 

All components are stainless steel. Also included is a black belt nylon (very similat to the webbing used in a belt) carrying case with a metal clasp for hooking the case on to my belt. Baladeo 3Baladeo 2Baladeo 4

The fork and spoon nest together and attach to the body of the Set by means of a small fastener.  To remove them, lift the handle on the opposite side (visible in the center and right photos) and twist it to the left; to replace them, after nesting push the handle toward the pieces and twist it to the right, allowing the cross pieces on the utensil side to rotate perpendicular to the length of the spoon.  After re-attaching the utensils the handle folds back into place.

The three-inch (7 cm) knife blade and the combination bottle opener/can opener sit inside the body, separated by a thin piece of stainless steel.  Each has a small groove for swiveling the tool out. (The grooves are visible below and to the left of the nested handle, at the bottom in the middle photo.)  Each of these tools locks into place for use.  Pressure on the small triangle on the opposite side of the body (to the left of the corkscrew in the middle photo) releases the knife lock.  The opener is trickier. After locking the opener into place the metal piece between the opener and knife blade slides over into the opener’s track.  Press it back toward the center (from the notch that exposes the opener’s groove) to release the lock, then re-nest the tool.  All very simple when one knows how to do it but not, in my opinion, intuitive, and fairly easy to forget if I haven’t used the Set for a spell.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Manufacturer: Baledéo
Website: http://www.baladeo.com
Listed weight: 214 g (7.6 oz)
Measured weight: Set only, 6.3 oz (179 g); with case 7.6 oz (214 g)
Listed dimensions: 12.5 x 3 x 1.8 cm (4.9 x 1.2 x 0.7 in)
Measured dimensions: Set only, 4.9 x 1.2 x 0.6 in (12.5 x 3 x 1.5 cm); in case, 5.25 x 1.8 x 1.0 in (5.25 x 4.6 x 2.5 cm)
Color: Green. The manufacturer offers the Set in several other colors.
MSRP: €24.50
Year acquired: 2009
Country of origin: France

FIELD CONDITIONS

Since receiving the Baladéo Outdoor Cutlery Set as a gift three years ago I have packed or carried it on every three-season overnight or longer camping trip I have taken, many day hikes, a spate of picnics, and a slew of fishing trips.  When a meal requiring knife and fork is planned, the Set is part of my kit.  I’m sure total use has exceeded one hundred field days, mostly but not entirely in the three warmer seasons.  That includes all weathers and temperatures from 0-100 F (-17 to 38 C).  Most often I store the Set in one of the hipbelt pockets on my pack, but sometimes it’s in my pocket or stored with other kitchen gear in my pack.

OBSERVATIONS

After frequent use over three years all pieces of the Set retain their original shape and all function as well as they did when the Set was new.  The knife remains really sharp and neither the fork nor spoon is even dented.  Being able to nest these utensils onto the tool’s body no doubt accounts for much of their longevity – no chance of their being bent or dented from other objects in my pack.  For the same reason a fork tine can’t pierce a food packet accidentally. Another benefit of these utensils locking onto the tool body is that I always know where they are.

The utensils I always wash after a trip, and I’ve swabbed the knife blade with oil a few times, but I cannot say I’ve been especially careful with the Set, yet at no time has any of the working pieces failed, any of the screws loosened, or any of the stainless steel acquired any rust or other deterioration.  I've given the knife a turn or two on a whetstone. 

I’m not sure just why, but the knife blade is just the right length for my most frequent camp duties: cutting food, gutting fish for cleaning, opening stubborn food packaging, and miscellaneous camp tasks.

The fork and spoon, though, are the reasons why this multitool is so often in my kit.  With a working end 1 x 1.5 inches (2.5 x 3.8 cm) in size, each is small, to be sure. But they are large enough for my backcountry purposes.  Most of my breakfasts include cereal, hot or cold, and most of my dinners are hot-water-in-the-packet freeze-dried or dehydrated meals.  Both spoon and fork work well enough for these.  Besides, when I’m hungry (and in the backcountry I am almost always hungry) the small utensils force me to moderate my wolf-it-down ways.

I use the corkscrew only when wine in a bottle is on the menu, a circumstance sadly rare on my backpacking journeys. It has worked just fine on the picnics and day hikes when I did put it into service.

The can opener gets even less use, as canned goods are rarely on my shopping list and even less frequently carried in my backpack.  When I look for canned snacks for hiking I make a point of seeking tins with pull-off tops.  I don’t remember the last time I used the can opener on the Baladéo. However I’ve used the bottle opener part of this piece to uncap a beer bottle or two on day hikes and fishing days.

The carrying case remains intact and fully functional, but I sometimes don’t bother with it.  As seen in the photo the clip for attaching to a belt does not encircle the belt but clips over the top.  That’s not the most secure fastener, and anyway I prefer my knife in a hipbelt pocket. Force of habit, I guess. I will say that I haven’t had the Set fall off my belt on the few occasions when I’ve carried it there.

In my opinion the Baladéo Outdoor Cutlery Set as a set is greater than the sum of its parts.  I certainly like it, and stopped shopping for or using alternatives soon after I acquired it. Compact, sturdy yet lightweight, durable, and functional, I have found many different uses for it on many trips for many different reasons.

WHAT I LIKE

One tool for several different kitchen and mealtime uses
Reliable
Sturdy and durable
Knife, fork, and spoon in one place

WHAT I’D CHANGE

I’d swap the can opener for a small scissors.
And trade the corkscrew for a Phillips screwdriver. (As noted Baladéo has already added a flathead screwdriver.) But I doubt that will happen from a manufacturer from a nation in which wine is an essential food group.












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