Strange and immediately eye-catching, Henry and I were intrigued by the unique design of the Stainless Spork and Sticks and decided to reach out to GSI who were kind enough to send a sample.
Although we were initially a little skeptical given our devotion to certain spork designs that we know and love, we put our reservations behind us and brought the Spork and Sticks on board our bikes as we peddled out into the mountains for an overnight trip.
- Combined weight with bag: 1.94 ounces.
- Combined weight without bag: 1.75 ounces.
- Combined length: 12.25 inches.
- Length of Spork: 6.5 inches.
- Length of Sticks: 8.75 inches (As they just barely fit into the bag, this is the minimum length for storage).
Although the GSI website claims that the Glacier Spork and Sticks weigh in at a whopping 4.64 ounces, our actual weight measurement without the bag was only 1.75 ounces. Although this still counts as a hefty item likely unsuitable for those who are looking to trim the fat off of a lightweight system, Henry and I found it fully acceptable for our bikes and in our opinion it falls well within the bounds of a front country or weekend backpacking weight limit.
The minimum length for storage is 8.75 inches, as that is the length of the chopsticks which remain the longest item when stored in the bag. This again lands on the bulkier end of the spectrum for packability, yet we found that for such a long item it seemed surprisingly small and fit well in our personal adventure arrangements.
Assembly and eating.
As for assembly, the GSI Glacier Spork and Sticks is as easy as it gets. Just slide the sticks into the alternating eyelets located on the spork and it becomes a sturdy, long-handle scooping/stirring tool. We did notice that the hard steel of the spork quickly wears into the soft wood of the sticks. Though, as the sticks ultimately use simple tension to remain in place, it is likely more an issue of cosmetics than it is functionality, with the exception of very extended use where this may eventually wear deep grooves into the sticks.
For eating we mainly focused on their compatibility with dehydrated food, as the long handle is ideal for eating from deep bags that often leave short spooned users saucy at the knuckles.
The top of an opened bag of Food For the Sole is 8.5 inches, and with a fully assembled extension of over 12 inches, the Spork and Sticks easily clears not only our tested food bags but also those of most other brands. This is one of the main advantages of the Spork and Sticks as this length is longer than necessary for most other applications but is extremely useful in regard to reaching into deeper food containers.
We especially liked how the chopsticks acted as a nice clip for the side of our bag of Ratatouille With Nutty Quinoa Pilaf.
The long handle also fares well for stirring pots of food. Where most sporks don’t measure more than 6 inches, the 12.5 inch Glacier Spork and Sticks is an easy choice as a camp kitchen utensil, especially where the weight and bulk of pots are already included accessories of a particular outing. However it does fall short of the ability to vigorously stir or scrape. Although fully sturdy for most cooking, a non-stick pot with food clinging to the bottom would simply out match the integrity of the chopstick handle.
The spork portion of The Spork and Sticks also has sharp and effective prongs. The exterior two prongs include a serrated inner edge for more effective hooking of chunks of food and noodles, and the concave portion of the spork is plenty deep for sauce and works well enough for soups.
Where the spork portion may be effective, the really standout quality is in the ability to remove the chopsticks. This is where the utensil will really hit home for those who love chopsticks. I was able to eat my Food for The Sole and immediately afterward remove the chopsticks for eating a tin of sardines of which a regular spork would have squished it into mush trying to remove. This was by far the most fun and most functional part of our experience.
Cleaning.For Henry and I, we remain slightly, let's say, “nonchalant” toward the thorough cleaning of our utensils while out on the trail. For us personally, we carry a couple extra small towels that we use to rub down our cutlery after licking them clean, as this saves both time and water in a situation where you may be limited on both. In this way, the Glacier Spork and Sticks are an easy clean (most things are actually). For more thorough cleaning, we tested that as well, and where the Spork portion made for a smooth and easy clean, the chopsticks behaved as wood does, and it remained slightly more laborious to remove small bits of food that like to adhere to wet wood.
With slightly more effort than steel, the wood can still be easily polished with a towel and fully cleaned, the one troublesome portion being the two tiny holes at the top (for lashing them together) of which you may need a paper clip to clear if food gets in there, or in the least a quick blow out before you put them away (although it is worth noting this far end rarely encounters food).
Where the GSI Spork and Sticks may fall under a less “serious” category or eating utensil, we personally loved the execution of an idea that was likely formed by a fellow lover of functional novelties.
What we appreciated most was the ability to use the chopsticks in one eating session, and then in another to use the long handle to easily and cleanly reach into dehydrated food bags- a task not easily accomplished by other eating tools.
Overall, we feel that the combination of spork and chopsticks is a little bit bulky for extended trips where ounces count. However, for those who regularly use chopsticks and find them to be their eating tool of choice, the added spork attachment is a handy addition. This, in conjunction with its length, also makes for an ideal dehydrated food bag utensil, something we here at Food For The Sole see as a serious benefit.
We like to think that the Spork and Sticks is a fine example of when east meets west, and we also agree that we will be using them on our future adventures. We also wonder: what potential would we unlock by attaching a second spork to the opposite end?