With so little space in a backpacker’s portable closet, every item must be picked, purchased and stashed wisely. The right travel packing list is key to a light bag and a successful trip. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you’re prepared for the journey.
Foil yoghurt covers, when folded correctly, make adequate spoons. Bobby pins may bend into teeny chopsticks, and pointer fingers (if you’re not too concerned with personal hygiene) convert into exceptional knives. Contentious travelers can stock up on plastic untensils at McDonalds or carry a multi-faceted Swiss Army gadget.
But after a few months on the road, when all the plastic cutlery has broken at the bottom of your backpack and the ingenious Swiss blades are permanently sealed under layers of dried peanut butter, you wish for something more reliable.
Something simple, lightweight and efficient: like the all-purpose spork.
Spork fun facts:
- Also called a ‘foon’, the spoon + fork combination was first patented in 1847.
- However, fooddiggity.com research found references to the name ‘spork’ dating back to the early 1900s.
- Approximately 40 billion plastic utensils are thrown away every year; environmental group Shift The Climate suggests carrying and using a heavy-duty spork to help eliminate such waste!
Light My Fire, a Swedish brand commonly found in outdoor and camping stores, produces an assortment of tough and brightly colored camp dining equipment, such as the spork. Though they resemble a child’s toy, these utensils are heat resistant and dishwasher safe. Even if you rarely have access to a dishwasher on your travels, their streamlined shape and texture make them incredibly easy to wash and dry in any bathroom sink, running river or salty ocean shoreline.
Unfortunately, the spork is not invincible. I have packed two on every trip over the past five years, and had to replace them about every two years due to structural damage. If used frequently, they may snap in half under repeat pressure. Also, mine just recently melted while stirring a hobo’s stew on a gas-burning camp stove.
But when they retail for around $5.00, buying a new spork is just as easy as taking one with you on an extended vacation.