Chipping away at your base weight doesn't always mean dropping a ton of cash on the latest equipment or investing in space age materials. Sometimes knowing what to carry and what not to carry makes all the difference.
My first time out backpacking, I carried several dishes and a full set of cutlery including a spatula. It didn’t take long to learn that less is more and all I really need is a cookpot and a trusty spork.
A solid spork is invaluable. Some function like the Leatherman of the kitchen and adapt to a multitude of tasks. Some struggle to function at all. There are versions to suit every hiker’s personal priorities, from lowest weight or most compact to longest reach. Whatever your primary concern, you are sure to find the perfect instrument among the six ultralight options examined here.
The Light My Fire Original is 6.6 inches long and 0.38 ounces.
Pros: Separate spoon and fork sides, serrated edge, compact, BPA free, inexpensive, ambidextrous.
Cons: Awkwardly angled, breakable plastic, short reach.
As the lightest option on this list, the Light My Fire spork is a classic. Putting the spoon end opposite the fork side avoids the pitfalls of a true spork where the tined spoon combo can lead to messy drips.
One of the fork prongs is slightly more heavy duty and sawtoothed to act like a knife. The 6.6-inch length straddles the line between highly packable and long enough to reach the bottom of a meal in a bag. The curvature makes it comfortable and functional when using the spoon, but that same ark makes it tricky to hold when utilizing the fork side. Its materials make it inexpensive and light but that also means it could become brittle from the sun, potentially snapping in a tightly packed backpack. Although it is cheap enough to replace, I’d hate to be on a trip and break my one and only eating device.
The Most Multipurpose
The Morsel Spork Mini is 7.5 inches long and 0.6 ounces.
Pros: Separate spoon and fork sides, serrated edge, compact, highly functional, rubberized edges, reduces wasted food, assists in cleaning dishes.
Cons: Retains flavors, not great at cutting foods
Similar to the Light My Fire design, the Morsel spork offers big improvements for little extra
weight. It capitalizes on the same two-pronged design used by Light My Fire, with a full-size spoon on one end and a full-size fork on the other. Additional unique and functional design features include: slightly serrated tines on both of the fork’s outer edges, a hole to drain liquids, and a rubberized edge around the spoon and up one side of the utensil.
This edge gives the tool spatula-like functionality and means there is an efficient surface for scraping food from any container no matter the shape or size. The user can shovel more food into their face and leave less to clean up when finished. This unique feature makes the Morsel the best scraper on the list.
The Best for Eating Right out of the Bag
The Sea to Summit AlphaLight™ Long Spork is 8.5 inches long and 0.4 ounces.
Pros: Longest reach, super lightweight, carabiner attachment, durability.
Cons: Leaky with liquids, inefficient stirring, no edge for cutting.
Constructed of hard-anodized aluminum alloy, the AlphaLight™ Long provides extra-long reach without extra weight. It’s the only spork on this list that will get to the bottom of a meal bag with ease. It’s extremely durable and unlikely to fail mid-adventure.
The spork does have some drawbacks. It doesn’t stir powders into liquids very well — protein mixes and instant coffees are left a little clumpy — and there isn’t an edge for slicing.
Regardless, the Sea to Summit’s ability to keep my dirty hands out of my dinner, and its ability to slide right into a bear can for storage, make this spork my personal favorite.
The Most Compact (a two-way tie)
The Toaks Titanium Folding Spork is 6.5 inches long extended, 3.75 inches folded and 0.6 ounces.
The GSI Outdoors Folding Foon is 6.1 inches long extended, 3.7 inches folded and 0.6 ounces.
Pros: The most packable, fits anywhere, saves space.
Cons: Short reach, limited function, more components that can fail, uncomfortable to hold.
If saving space is the highest priority, folding sporks are the answer. Both of these collapsible sporks prioritize compactness, folding down into half-size versions of themselves.
They both function better as spoons than as forks. And the hinge mechanisms are a bit problematic. The Toaks option has pointy bits sticking out right where I grip the handle, and when the slide designed to lock the handle is fully retracted, the unit can come apart into two pieces. The GSI hinge is much more secure but the plastic components make it more fragile. Both varieties are not very ergonomic to hold or use.
The Strongest and Best for Frontcountry
The Vargo Titanium Scork is 6.2 in long and 0.4 ounces.
Pros: Durability, strength-to-weight ratio, comfort, equipped with a bottle opener.
Cons: Short with a sharp edge that could damage UL gear.
Heavy duty without being heavy, the Vargo Scork is a workhorse. This compact item gets the job done. The bottle opener on one end makes it perfect for car camping with coolers full of cold beer, and gives you the option to open canned goods as well. But that same feature makes me hesitant to pack such a pointed item in my backpacking kit, next to my costly ultralight materials. Best stored inside a bear can or used for car trips this durable scork won’t ever snap or fail.
At the end of the day, no matter what your priorities are, each of these items will transport food into your face hole. Since they all excel in different areas, I sincerely hope this breakdown helps you find the best option to suit your particular style. Happy trails.
Mandy Esch is an international pro skater turned avid outdoorswoman who enjoys backpacking, camping, fly fishing, cliff diving and passing on what she learns along the way. In her backpacking blog, Mandy shares video trail reviews and trip planning guides. Follow her adventures at www.backcountrydirtbag.com.