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Light My Fire : Spork Original & Extreme

22 April 2014

Light My Fire Spork Original
throws a leftie, gets small, goes large &  boasts EXTREME.

titanium

As we reach cruising altitude the seatbelt lights go out, the pilot’s voice crackles its way out of the overhead speakers and the serving trollies start rumbling past our seats. Berni roots around in a bag and hands me a recyclable plastic tub, with vague exotic scents hinting at the pre-cooked Moroccan couscous crammed inside. It’s a habit we have now, and I’m already prepared having slipped my fork out of a small polythene freezer bag ready to plunge it into the cracked bulgur, durum wheat and roasted vegetables mix. There’s nothing like home-cooked food when you’re long on the travelling.

Except it’s not a fork that I’m holding, it’s a well made, food grade, plastic eating utensil, one of several I’ve been carrying since sometime after the 9/11 security measures forced me to leave my MSR titanium knife and fork at home. This one passes security with ease, and is strong and robust enough for most situations when I’m eating on the go; be it a plane, bus or train; camping, trekking, walking, mountaineering, bird-watch snacking, out on the boat, kayaking to the local islands, or just out, away from the crowds, for a simple pic-nic.

plastic

An Sporc ?

Well it might have been called that if it were Irish. But it’s actually made by Light-My-Fire a home grown Swedish company, succeeding at adding value to a limited source of raw material. Something small businesses are aiming to do here in Ireland. Now they call this tool a SPORK. And it’s a great example of the products conjured-up by their unique business mission; for Light-My-Fire specialize in outdoor accessories designed, they say, to be as practical in the city as they are in the wild; and to be of use to everyone from the backyard adventurer to the backwoods survivalist.

The plastic Spork certainly lives up to that objective; which is probably why by 15th of January 2014 they’d sold a whopping:

 20,985,148 Sporks

into 52 countries, and all made in their one factory (as are most of their products) in Västervik in Sweden.
(c) Google Maps

What if ?

But even this versatile little eating tool has it’s limits.  Whilst I’ve never tried to use one to remove a thorn from an elephants foot, I can’t imagine it would be strong enough; neither do I imagine it would prove very useful for  roughening the leather on your boots ready for a field repair, or  canvas tent fabric  before gluing… Neither can you use it in or close to a flame, say as a frying pan slice, or a solid fuel fire poker… it would just melt.  Now if it were made from Titanium…

package

Titanium material means it is:
lightweight
strong
sufficiently rigid

17 cms long means
comfortable to use
easy to stow

Soup spoon measuring bowl
10ml, or
2 teaspoons

Practical fork profile suitable for
stabbing food
scooping food

Serrated cutting edge
safe design,
cutting/chopping some foods
useful for gutting/abrading/scraping

Sharper edge?

As a regular user of the plastic Spork I’ve found the serrated “blade” running alongside the one side of the fork to be a surprisingly useful feature, well able to allow a cut/chop motion for dividing up piece of food as I’m eating. So I was a little disappointed when I encountered the same feature on the titanium version. I felt it could have been a little more “aggressive” in the way it was implemented. So I spoke to Light-My-Fire who were good enough to send me a new titanium sample that represented a well finished Spork. It was pretty much identical to those I already owned, so I asked them about this “blade”. When they explained their main concern, it made sense.

A serrated edge in the titanium Spork, with the same profile as the plastic edition, is going to deliver a far more serious tearing effect; and given that the fork end is designed for people to put in their mouth, and might end up in the hands of children, Light-My-Fire say they have taken pains to ensure that the titanium Spork is safe for the vast majority of users. Here’s the detail:

spork_bowl fork

cerrated edge

On the plane…

Regular flyers will be well aware of the vaugaries and inconsistencies of airport security.  I’ve never had a problem carrying on a plastic Spork.  And last year I travelled several times with my titanium spork stowed inside the chimney of my Kelly Kettle. I removed the kettle from my rucksack and placed it on the airport security conveyor belt to openly offer it for separate inspection. On the last occasions, as an example, airport staff handled the stove, removed it from its bag, dismantled the assembled parts, checked that there was no fuel in the stove, asked me various questions, but made no comment about the Spork. However, I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same experience.

Price ?

So how much for this paragon of adventuresome cullinary functionality? Some retailers seem to be asking around  €5 or €6 each, but you can find it for €3. Here are a couple of examples  from Alpine Sports and The Irish Scout Shop.

The titanium version seems to be available for as much as €24, but if you scout around (forgive the pun, ) you can find it for as little as €15 and at that price, and anything up to €18, it represents great value for the active outdoor enthusiast. I wouldn’t  be without mine. Here’s one from 53 Degrees North for €17.10

The Links…

History, origins and early designs…

 What the Wikipedia has to say about : The history and origins

 More about differing designs and their uses : sprork.org

Meafeic (Summary)

A simple but well designed, and well crafted single eating utensil. Originally manufactured and widely available in high grade food plastic, now also available in more durable titanium. Suitable for everything from a back garden pic-nic through to snacking on the side of a mountain; and as a cooking utensil when made in titanium. Really can’t imaging why everyone wouldn’t have one; which probably explains why 21 million have been sold to date.

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