Dining outdoors? Don't forget your spork. After researching over 30 models we purchased the top 8 and subjected them to months of use and abuse. This review flushes out the surprising nuances and highlights the best uses of these hybrid utensils. Whether you are planning to use one for your weekday lunch, an ultralight backpacking trip, or wolfing down a snack at the crag, the right utensil for the job needs to match certain criteria. How well each competitor helped us cook and consume food was out top interest, but we also investigated breakability and the ease of cleaning. This review will help you find the perfect on-the-go utensil no matter where you plan to break your bread in 2019.
The Best Sporks of 2019
|Price||$9.95 at REI|
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|$9.94 at Amazon||$7.95 at Amazon|
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|$2.95 at REI|
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|$11.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Familiar feel, long lasting, versatile||Super lightweight, quality material, comfortable to eat with||Great for JetBoils and dehydrated food bags, lightweight||Durable plastic, excellent value||Transforms into multiple utensils, durable metal|
|Cons||Too short for deep pots||Doesn’t reach the bottom of dehydrated food bags, pricey||Awkward shape for eating, doesn’t pack well||Uncomfortable to hold, not very sanitary||Heavy, poor ergonomics|
|Bottom Line||This model is a utilitarian, familiar, and practically indestructible on-the-go utensil, earning it our Editors' Choice Award.||This is our favorite model for long distance backpacking due to its durability despite a very minimal weight.||This extra long utensil is the perfect tool for camp cooking but not without a minor sacrifices in comfort.||This durable plastic utensil performed well across the board and boasts an inexpensive price tag, earning it our Best Buy Award.||This spoon-fork-chopstick hybrid is sure to amuse while its bulky design renders it best for front-country fun.|
|Rating Categories||Snow Peak Titanium Spork||Vargo Titanium ULV||AlphaLight Spork - Long||humangear GoBites Uno||Glacier Stainless Kung Foon|
|Specs||Snow Peak Titanium...||Vargo Titanium ULV||AlphaLight Spork -...||humangear GoBites...||Glacier Stainless...|
|Material||Titanium||Titanium||Aluminium alloy||High-temp nylon||Stainless steel, wood|
|Measured weight (oz)||0.6 oz||0.3 oz||0.42 oz||0.53 oz||1.82 oz|
|Dishwasher safe?||Yes||Yes||No||Yes - Top Rack||Yes|
Snow Peak Titanium Spork
Providing top-notch comfort alongside quality construction, the Snow Peak Titanium has the desired versatility of a spork but handles like a normal utensil. It's easy to forget you are using an oddly shaped piece of silverware, allowing you to enjoy your meal whether on the trail or during a work day's lunch. Its boawl and tines have an ergonomic feel, and it performs well as a multi-utensil. Whether scooping, stirring, spreading, cutting, or stabbing, this model is extremely durable and holds up to regular use. It's also easy to clean, and the titanium resists scratches.
The many pros outweigh messy fingers, but this spork does come up short when trying to reach the bottom of a dehydrated food bag or a JetBoil backpacking stove. Its small bowl size also makes it a mediocre soup spoon. For the majority of meals, however, this competitor shines and will keep you fed for years and adventures to come. After digging into your first meal, it is easy to see why the Snow Peak Titanium takes the cake.
Read review: Snow Peak Titanium
Best Bang For Your Buck
humangear GoBites Uno
The humangear GoBites Uno provides a low price point without forfeiting durability. Of all the plastic versions we tested, it was by far the strongest model. Its thick design not only lends to its strength but also improves the comfort of the bowl and tines when eating. The material makes it easy to wipe clean when you are on the trail, and the large bowl holds a solid bite of soup or stew.
The main drawback to this competitor is the double-ended design. With a spoon on one end and a fork on the other, holding it is far from natural. Discomfort aside, you lose some of the versatility of a true spork and have to pick either the spoon side or the fork side. Once your choice is made you're either committed or willing to swap ends and risk contamination from dirty hands. Overall, this model is great for the price and may be well suited for children with its rounded edges, resistance to breaking, and low price tag.
Read review: humangear GoBites Uno
Best for Ultralight Backpacking
Vargo Titanium ULV
If you're looking to save on weight without sacrificing function, material, or longevity, the Vargo Titanium ULV is the spork for you. This model received high marks across the board in all of our tests. Its low weight and strong material make it ideal for backpacking but comfortable enough to double as your everyday on-the-go utensil. Whether tossed in your backpack, purse, or lunchbox, you will forget it's even there until it's time to eat.
Although this utensil meets the weight standards for ultralight backpacking, it's average length does lead to challenges if you're planning to rely heavily on dehydrated food bags. Its thin construction also feels a little unusual in hand, but we found nothing uncomfortable about eating with this model. Unlike the more common plastic ultralight options, it's made of pure grade titanium, but be prepared to spend an extra buck or two for the upgraded material. Coming in as one of the lightest and most durable models we tested made it our favorite for heading deep into the backcountry, but also like it well enough for regular use.
Read review: Vargo Titanium ULV
Why You Should Trust Us
Author Leslie Yedor is well-versed in consuming food far from the traditional dinner table and can confidently say she has consumed at least a third of all her meals using a spork for the last 5 years. Such dedication to this unusual utensil stems from necessity and her love of practicality. Leslie's both a doctor and an avid outdoorswoman, both of which require frequent eating on-the-go. Whether it's in the pocket of her white coat in a hospital or stashed in her pack on a Sierra summit, you can bet one of these hybrid utensils is never far from her reach. She also spent multiple seasons living at the Yosemite Search and Rescue site in Camp 4 where running water and cutlery drawers are frankly non-existent. Plus, her private medical practices put a huge emphasis on healthy eating. To remove some of the user bias, Leslie also enlisted a crew of friends, family, and co-workers to help with the testing.
Coming from a background in research and evidence-based medicine, the conclusions in this review were made as objectively as possible. We scoured the market with a fine-toothed comb before finally selecting the top 8 competitors. Over the next 3 months, we cooked and ate dozens of meals in a wide variety of environments. From backcountry to sidecountry to front country, we used these sporks at home for breakfast, for work-week lunches, for car camping dinners, and as our everything utensils while trekking, backpacking, and ski touring. We also put them through specific tests to evaluate their comfort while eating, how useful they are for cooking, how simple they are to clean, and how likely they are to break. The result is a comprehensive review that will help you find the perfect piece of cutlery to match your unconventional eating needs.
Related: How We Tested Sporks
Analysis and Test Results
Following countless meals and pinpointed assessments, our group of testers compiled notes and scored each product across the same identical performance metrics. Each metric is detailed below. We also highlight top performers within each metric. While overall scores are useful, we recommend that you focus on the metrics you care about most when deciding which utensil to bring on your next adventure.
Reusable sporks cost money, even if it's only a little. Our testers believe the money is worth reducing our use of disposable plastic cutlery. Think of the sea turtles! But, even if you're not upset by plastic replacing sand on the world's beaches, these reusable products offer superior utility and durability than their flimsy fast-food cousins.
Our Best Buy, the humangear GoBites Uno was inexpensive and scored above average across the board giving it our best price-to-performance ratio. On the far right, you can see that the Editors' Choice, the Snow Peak Titanium and the Vargo Titanium ULV, were the two highest performing models, but they come with heftier price-tags.
The primary function of any utensil is to serve as a vehicle for transporting food from your plate to your mouth. In kitchens all around the world, you will find multiple utensils for the job. Spoons are for scooping while forks (or chopsticks) are for picking up more solid morsels. The spork is the one-man-band of utensils. It provides the functionality of both a spoon and a fork, which, theoretically, makes it the perfect utensil for a multitude of food types when you are on-the-go and space is limited. We tested our products with a multitude of meals and specifically evaluated their ability to handle ramen noodles and stab meat. Fashion may often be sacrificed for function, but comfort should only be abandoned as a last resort. After all, your food should be the star of the meal, not your utensil. How comfortable the model was to use, how well it handled different food types, and how much liquid the bowl could hold all factored into our eating metric which contributed 35% to the overall product score.
The top dog in this category was the Editors' Choice Award winner, the Snow Peak Titanium, but the Vargo Titanium ULV came in at a close second. The Snow Peak model takes the cake with its familiar design. It feels normal in your hand which makes it easy to forget you are using an unconventional utensil. The bowl is a similar shape to a standard spoon which makes it comfortable in your mouth and the tines offer a smaller imitation of your classic fork. The Vargo Titanium ULV is not your typical piece of cutlery with its thin metal design to reduce its overall weight. Even though it doesn't exactly feel normal, it's enjoyable to eat with and easy to overlook the difference.
One of the best things about a hybridized spoon and fork is its unique ability to deliver the broth and the hearty bits at the same time when you're eating soup. All of the models with a single-ended combination design excelled with ramen. In fact, if you are a die-hard lover of ramen and either lacking in chopstick skills or just trying to streamline your ramen eating experience, sporks belong in your cutlery drawer. If you are a ramen traditionalist and chopsticks are a must, get the best of both worlds with the GSI Outdoors Kung Foon spork and chopstick combination.
When it comes to stabbing dense food, like meat, the metal products with larger tines handle more like a conventional fork. The Snow Peak Titanium and the Vargo Titanium ULV performed this function well, as did the Sea to Summit AlphaLight.
To determine just how much liquid each product can hold, we used a syringe to fill each model's bowl with water until the surface tension broke. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the greatest volume was held by a double-ended model with a true spoon on one end. The Light My Fire Original held an astounding 8.5 cc's, followed by the Vargo model with 5.75 ccs and the humangear GoBites Uno with 4.5 ccs.
By combining multiple utensils into one, these products inherently act as multi-tools, but if you plan to use yours on a backpacking trip, it also needs to boost the added utility of just about every culinary gadget except the kitchen sink. We used each of the competitors to prepare and cook multiple meals with a backpacking stove to evaluate their ability to spread, slice, and stir.
The back of the bowl works great to spread things like nut butter, and all of the models did well at this task. Slicing is best accomplished by using the thin wall of the bowl of the metal products like the Vargo Titanium ULV, the Snow Peak Titanium, and the Sea to Summit AlphaLight. The thicker metal and plastic models caused our block of cheddar cheese to crumble.
Stirring may sound like a simple task, but the depth of the pot plays a considerable role. Your typical silverware, as well as the majority of these products, measure 6.5" from tip to tines. This length is perfect for eating but leaves your fingers barely above the surface when stirring a pot of soup. Fortunately, none of the handles became hot with normal use, but try to reach the bottom of a dehydrated food bag or a JetBoil stove, and you can forget about keeping your fingers out of the meal. This is the unfortunate case for all of our competitors save one. Enter the Sea to Summit AlphaLight Spork - Long. It's 8.5" profile provides just the right amount of bonus length to make it eclipse all of the other models in this category of testing. It also features an angled bowl that is deliberately designed to facilitate scooping and stirring. The Sea to Summit does sacrifice some comfort for its practicality, but if it's going to be your everything utensil on a backpacking trip and you plan to live on dehydrated food bags, its functionality makes it worth it.
Sauteed veggies with eggs is a fundamental camp meal - just poke your head around the Yosemite Search and Rescue camp, and you'll discover that this team is fueled by almost nothing else. While all of these products were successful at sauteing, we want to note a few caveats. First off, the thin plastic models, such as the LightMyFire Original and the MSR Folding, were prone to melting after many uses. No significant deformity occurred, but the edge of the bowl that touches the pan became blunted from the repeated contact with the hot pan. Second, if you're planning to use a non-stick pan, beware! All of the models we tested except one scratched our GSI Pinnacle Frypan's Teflon coating. The LightMyFire Original sparred the non-stick surface, but the other two plastic models left notable scratches. The GSI Outdoors Kung Foon consists of extra-thick stainless steel so expect some deep gouges if you let this product scrape a non-stick surface.
Cleaning options are limited when you are on-the-go, so we tested each product to determine how involved the cleaning process needed to be to keep it looking spick and span.
While not the most hygienic, the simplest means of removing food from your utensil is to wipe it clean. This action can be accomplished in a variety of ways depending on your standards, thus to accommodate even the dirtiest of dirtbags, we investigated each model's ability to be wiped clean by mouth and with a dry towel. Eggs and other proteins stuck a little more to the plastic models, but the titanium versions looked shiny and new after a thorough wiping. It's a useful technique, even in the front-country when you want to toss it in your bag before returning to work. It keeps your bag clean and lets you wait for the dishwasher to do the heavy cleaning once you're back at home. All of the models we tested are dishwasher safe except the Sea to Summit AlphaLight.
Dried sticky food can be a challenge to remove. We made up a pot of mac and cheese, dipped each product into the sauce, and let them sit out until the sauce formed a nice crust. We then set out to rinse them first with cold running water and no additional tools other than our fingers. The Snow Peak, the Vargo, the humangear, and the Sea to Summit were the easiest to get clean. The two folding models from Toaks and MSR required the addition of a sponge to get the folding joints free of gunk. The spork portion of the GSI Outdoor Kung Foon was quick and easy, but the chopsticks have tiny holes on the backend which were almost impossible to clean out entirely and required an unfolded paperclip.
The last thing you want when many miles into the backcountry is to be stranded without any reasonable way to cook your food and shovel it into your mouth. Entropy, the thermodynamic principle that all things undergo gradual progress towards disorder, is an unfortunate given in this world and everyday use speeds up the process. But, how quickly these utensils bend, deform, or break with normal use depends on the design and the material.
The Snow Peak Titanium is practically bombproof. One of our testers has had five years of adventure meals with this model and doesn't look any worse for wear than the day she bought it. The Vargo Titanium ULV showed no signs of bending or other weathering throughout our three month testing period. The humangear GoBites Uno showed surprising brawn for its plastic construction. It felt sturdy in hand and wasn't phased by any of the thick, sticky meals we threw at it. The other plastic models, however, were prone to bending while stirring and had an insubstantial feel with use. The LightMyFire Original snapped in half early in our testing period while being used to stir breakfast potatoes. Fortunately, it was our only in-use casualty.
To make sure these products were able to stand up to even the most robust culinary experience, we purposefully set out to test their limits. Using a c-clamp, we fixed the handle to a table just up from the bowl where your hand would normally grasp the handle. With the bowl hanging off into space, we hung a water jug filled with weighted amounts of water ranging from 1 lb to 10 lbs and watched for signs of warping.
The Snow Peak, humangear, and the GSI Outdoors models held up to 10 lbs with no signs of flexing. The Sea to Summit and the Vargo showed some give with 10 lbs, but when the water jug was removed, there was no visible change. The Toaks didn't break, but the folding joint released with just 1 lb of weight. The MSR showed no lingering signs of damage, but 5 lbs caused it to bow so severely, the water jug fell off.
Whether you are eating a summit snack at 10,000 ft or last night's leftovers in the office breakroom, a spork is your ideal on-the-go utensil. The versatile design of a spoon-fork hybrid maximizes eating efficiency, and the lightweight material makes them great for travel. Everyone's got to eat, and this technical piece of cutlery is an essential part of every adventurer's mealtime kit. From big walls to lunch boxes, these tools keep you fed and save your fingers for the more important things, like hand jams and puff paint.
— Leslie Yedor