Toaks Titanium Long Handle Spoon with Polished Bowl
My trusty Long Handle Titanium spoon is the only eating utensil that I need in the backcountry. It is simple and functional, and does a much better job than any spork.
- Long handle (8.5" total length)
- Lightweight (0.5 oz)
- Relatively inexpensive
- Easy to clean
- Flat edge to scrape/cut
- Easy to lose or get mixed up with other hikers' spoons.
Ease of Use: A good eating utensil should be one of the simplest pieces of gear. Done right, most backpackers will find that they only need one utensil for fast and effective food delivery. But this is a piece of gear that people often get wrong, IMHO. For years I had it wrong too. I fell into the trap of thinking a spork was the one, all-purpose utensil that I needed for the trail.
A sampling of all the utensils I have tried over the years.
Having used my long handle spoon for the past four years, I can no longer fathom why sporks have garnered such favor. They absolutely suck at being both a fork and a spoon. The ineffective tines can barely stab morsels of food but they make it so that you can't scrape a pot or bag of food, either. Other designs combining a fork and spoon or a knife and spoon at opposite ends of the handle have also come up short (literally and figuratively).
A revamp of the humble spoon was all that was needed, and this design is perfect for many reasons.
Features: The flat edge of this spoon is what makes it so useful. It is naturally great for scooping mouthfuls of food but also for scraping the bottom of a pot and even for slicing. I can cut slices of cheese and sausage, if needed.
Comparison of my used spoon and a brand new shiny one. The spoon comes with its own ditty bag (which I don't really use, but is nice if you care about that sort of thing).
The long handle is equally useful, especially for eating dehydrated meals out of a bag.
Some of the more common backpacking meals come in bags that are really long! Even this long handle spoon utilizes all 8.5 inches to make it to the bottom of the bag.
I like that there are no moving parts to the spoon. The handle does not fold or telescope...features that only add weight and make it harder to clean food off. To stow my spoon, I simply throw it in my food bag and it is ready to go for the next meal. There are no sharp edges to cut or stab the bag or other items.
Lastly, the polished bowl is a really nice feature. It makes it easy to clean and has a nice feel in my mouth. There is also a hole at the end of the handle for hanging or tying on a lanyard.
Construction & Durability: Because the spoon is made of titanium, it is about as durable as spoons come. It has been crammed into my pack thousands of times and has never bent. It is functionally the same today as when I bought it. I can't see how this spoon wouldn't last a lifetime...as long as I don't lose it.
The only difference between a new spoon and one that has seen thousands of miles it that some of the shine has worn off.
That brings me to the only downside: Because the spoon is small and rather drab in color, it is common to set the spoon down on a log while taking a break, forget it, and walk away. It is also one of the most ubiquitous pieces of gear that I have seen on the trail and therefore easy to mix up with someone else's. I tried to personalize my spoon by spray-painting the handle...most of the paint has since worn off but it is simple to repaint. I even write my name on it. I recommend using a neon color like florescent orange...something that will make your spoon stand out from the crowd and also against an outdoors backdrop. I have not lost one yet, but I have had several close-calls.
Conditions: I have used my spoon for about four years and on three long-distance thru-hikes. It has been in my pack for probably more than 6,000 miles. I like my spoon so much, I even use it at home. On the trail, I use it in combination with a Vargo Titanium Bot 700. These two items are the extent of my backpacking kitchen.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 11 USD
The best utensil I've ever used for freeze-dried meals.
- polished bowl
Right. So, Toaks versus Sea to Summit Alphalight. Both are extremely lightweight. Effectively the same length. Practically the same cost. The differences, though minor, are in fact major.
Toaks is titanium, whereas StS is aluminum. Titanium is tougher than aluminum; aluminum will bend where titanium won't. Now, titanium can *break*, but so can aluminum once it has been bent a few times. So that's something of a wash. A difference, yes, but not significant–except to say that my aluminum StS spoon has developed rather a jaunty angle right at the neck of the bowl after repeated trips into the bear vault. The titanium Toaks is as yet unmarred, depsite banging around for a couple years.
Toaks has a polished bowl, instead of an anodized surface. It therefore doesn't collect cheese in the same way that the Alphalight does, nor does it feel "funny" on my tongue when I'm licking up the last remnants of a tasty meal.
And Toaks has a slightly more square-shaped bowl, with a longer edge that gives it some sort of minor cutting utility.
And that's about it, really. Toaks is slightly more expensive than StS, but has a couple of bonuses that in my mind justify the slightly higher cost. The long handle makes digging into the bottom of just about any freeze-dried meal easy. It's excellent. There isn't much more to say. In future, if I have to replace my Alphalight, I'll grab another Toaks.
I've been hiking and backpacking for over 40 years. I've used everything from standard kitchen utensils to plastic sporks to fancy long-handled spoons. I've even used a shaved twig on one trip where I somehow forgot to pack utensils (not recommended). I've had the Toaks now for nearly two years (versus nearly three years for the Alphalight), after I decided to have a dedicated dayhike spoon versus a dedicated backpacking spoon to make swapping less of a hassle.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $11
Super light, nice length.
- Just right for digging deep
- None - maybe price?
Length is just right for digging deep into bags of freeze dried food or deep pots. The polished bowl is easy to deal with in eating and in cleaning. Comes with a little storage bag. Excellent.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $11
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Current Retail: $10.95
Historic Range: $8.95-$10.95
Reviewers Paid: $11.00
Titanium (no coating)
0.65 oz / 19 g
8 5/8 in / 220 mm