Ultralight Cutlery:

How much can you say? I remember buying my first set of these (I guess) when I set about hitch-hiking to Cairns and back with a back-pack when I was about 13-14 years old. I had this, a home-made nylon sleeping bag cover, a billy and not much else. During the several cyclones I encountered on the way I found myself sleeping on school and church porches, covering myself with door mats to try and keep warm even though it was the middle of summer!

I was involved in a fatal car accident, the driver who I was with being killed outright (failure to give way to the right!) even though I did not receive a scratch, though I was mighty scared trapped in the car with him bleeding all over me and the smell of petrol everywhere. I camped on the side of the road near Armidale that night in pretty miserable conditions, waiting for my wet clothes that I had washed in a stream to dry. Of course I never told my mother as she might have forbidden further such adventures!

It was one of these type of sets (below) , and I was immensely proud of it. It no doubt resides yet in one of the many canoe drums I have secreted in the Victorian mountains against occasional deer hunting trips – hopefully not one of those which might have been destroyed by last summer’s wildfires. I still haven’t been out to check yet. Soon.


You can still buy them, or much fancier (and no doubt lighter sets) eg this titanium one from Esbit at 1.3 oz, (40 grams) which is not too bad for three pieces of cutlery actually eg from Bogong for A$39.95.

By the time Della and I traveled to NZ to live for a year in 1974 (my first time on a plane actually) I was impressed by the lightweight cutlery Qantas issued on their 747s – and ‘souveneered’ a couple of their light-weight tea spoons. A bit too small for a big appetite actually – though perhaps I should have reserved them myself for such rationing!

We journeyed all over NZ’s South Island on my Honda CB250 road bike with all our camping gear, sleeping under the stars in all sorts of improbable places. Our long love affair with NZ had begun. See eg: https://www.theultralighthiker.com/2018/01/17/south-coast-track-fiordland-nz-waitutu-to-westies/

I have tried out a variety of lightweight cutlery since: lexan, titanium etc. At the moment (and for a few years now) we are both using Sea to Summit’s Alpha Light line of spoons/sporks. These weigh a mere 9 grams each and are made of an aircraft alloy. They cost about A$8.50 from a variety of stores. So far I have not managed to break one – which I have done with every type of plastic cutlery (which is a nuisance in the wilds) or to lose one – which Della did to me somewhere in the wilds of the Franklin River Tasmania. She will not live this down. Then again it maybe taught me to do my own washing up! Since then I have carried a spare eating utensil. The lightest I have found is a takeaway Chinese soup spoon which weighs less than 2 grams.

Of course some people feel they need to have a longer spoon which weighs 12 grams – wholly unacceptable! – so that they can get at the last of the spag in the bottom of the pot without burning their fingers! I favour a spoon over a spork (even though the spork is better for eating fish!) because a spork tends to dribble into your beard when you are eating muesli/porridge in the morning making a smelly mess right under your nose unless you are down to the river right away for ablutions. I certainly will not stretch to carrying both utensils!

I can get away with just a single spoon for a journey lasting weeks. However, I always carry a fixed blade knife as well which is handy for cutting salami, spreading peanut butter, filleting fish and etc. Its most important use is for splitting wood to get at the dry ‘heart’ or shaving it to create excelsior when you need to light a fire in the wet. The Kabar Johnson River Piggyback is just about perfect. It weighs just about an ounce.



Some other lightweight cutlery ideas:

The KA-BAR Tactical Spork is a great idea if you need to fight off grizzly bears, rapists, etc. I don’t. So far. Though it weighs .1lb it might still be a good idea. it includes a knife:


The Light My Fire Titanium Spork at 20 grams solves the dilemma of whether to take a spoon or a spork – and if you love titanium, it is a must:

If you would rather eschew metal altogether – perhaps to avoid check-in luggage you might choose Gossamer Gear’s Bamboo Spoon. They even have a long-handled version. There are all sorts of compelling reasons why you should choose one. Read Korrin’s write-up!

If you really love Gerber gear which I do. I love their pocket knives and their machetes for example then you should try their Compleat:

If you really want something different (and to drive yourself mad eating with them), you could choose some Kizer Titanium Chopsticks – a must have for the well-heeled titanium set:

Happy Tramping!



2 thoughts on “Ultralight Cutlery:”

  1. Steve I still have mine locked in my camp kitchen gear.
    They are so handy.
    It is still safely kept in the hard plastic packaging.

    1. You need to pack them into your backpack and take them for a walk for a week or so Ross. Cheers, Steve.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *