Okay, normally the only utensils I use when camping are the knife at my belt and a spork of one incarnation or another. I have to say though that when I saw the To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set at REI I was smitten. I have a fondness for all things bamboo.
I’m not especially greenie, but I do like the fact that it’s a fast growing renewable resource. I like the fact that its light weight and durable even more, and I find the color and grain attractive. Plus, bamboo utensils (and bowls) have a homey, primitive feel to them that seems right at home in the woods. So, I added the utensil set to my Christmas list last year and ended up with a set from the family in my stocking. I’ve had a chance to use the set on a couple of camping trips now and figured that it was time to share the joy of bamboo with our Woods Monkey readers.
The To-Go Ware Bamboo set is pretty neat. It consists of a spoon (not a spork!), a fork, a knife, and a set of chopsticks. It all comes in what is described as a “RePEaT“ holder which is made out of recycled PET plastic, the stuff from recyclable plastic water bottles. It feels like a lightweight nylon material and seems pretty sturdy. It snaps closed and comes with a lightweight aluminum carabiner clip so you can clip it to your backpack if you like. Mine came in a teal sort of color that REI lists as “Agave” but they also list a black and green color that they call “Hijiki”. The utensils themselves are nicely hand-finished and coated with natural, food-safe wood oil. They say that bamboo wood doesn’t stain or absorb flavors and this reflects my past experience with the material as well. The weight of the whole package is a feathery 1.6 ounces and the size is 8.5 x 1.6 x 1 inches, so its light enough and small enough to pack just about anywhere.
In use the utensils operate just how you’d expect they would. The chopsticks are neat, especially when you’re eating Ramen. The fork has sturdy tines and works well for stabbing meat and shoveling in backpacker meals. The spoon works great on oatmeal and for stirring stuff, but is a little shallow for soup. In fairness though it works as well as many other camping spoons I’ve used and better than a lot of sporks. The knife has an odd bend to the blade so that it nests with the spoon better. Initially I was unsure if this was deliberate or if mine had warped somehow but I think it’s deliberate. It doesn’t really affect the use much and it still works just fine for such arduous tasks as spreading peanut butter and squeeze cheese from the MRE packets. Another bonus with the bamboo is that it doesn’t scratch the finish on non-stick pans. I had forgotten about that initially but it’s actually a reason we had gotten some bamboo utensils for cooking with in the kitchen at home. Lastly, the utensils clean up easily and seem to be about as easy to care for as their plastic counterparts.
If you want something a bit more traditional than a plastic or Titanium spork or spoon, and like the idea of using a natural, renewable material then the To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set is right up your alley. Even if all you’re after is light weight and the versatility of having a whole utensil set available then the set is still definitely worth checking out. At only $12.95 it’s also a great bargain!
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