It seems every year; a new company seems to come out with a product that claims to solve a problem for Ultralight paddlers. This year, the product getting all the press is a set of lightweight dishware made from plastic that assemble like origami and fold flat for transport and storage. After examine all the products I decided to give the Fold Flat Bowl a go, and skip the Cup and Dish. (The Cup was too complicated to put together and the bowl can be used as a cup, and I carry water bottles anyway, and the Dish had snaps that seemed to spell certain problems in the field, such as breaking or getting jammed.)
To Be or Not to Be
The first question I asked myself was “Do I really need a bowl, when I can just eat out of the pot I cook food in?” I quickly answered the question with “maybe.” Although, I wouldn’t carry this item when solo, it shines when paddling with a friend. It actually saves having to carry a second and heavier pot or a lexan bowl for the second person. At 1.2 oz., it comes in 1.7 oz. lighter than the titanium pot I bring with me when a second person comes on the trip. When a third person is along for the ride, we generally bring a third pot, but on the trip I tested this out on, we carried both titanium pots and three Fold Flat Bowls for .7 oz more weight than our two person set up. This also allowed us to cook two menu item meals. For example, Mac and Cheese with Ham, and Cheesecake.
All that and More
Besides saving weight, the bowl has several other features going for it. The plastic it is made from is similar to a plastic that I have from a cutting board designed for camping. I’ve had this cutting board for over five years and although I don’t use it camping, I do use it weekly at home. After five years, it has held up perfectly, so I expect these bowls to do the same. Also, because the plastic is similar to my cutting board, I’ve decided to use the bowl as a cutting board for the woods, in addition to using it as a bowl. Also, if you’ve ever done any origami, you know how hard it can be, but this bowl is simple to set-up and stays set-up in use.
The Bad and the Not Really Ugly
The only downside that I found in use is that it is hard to clean. Food tends to get trapped in the folds if you leave it together and if you disassemble for cleaning, then water doesn’t stay in. It’s much easier just to clean a pot.
Should I Stay or Should I Go Now
But the added ability to cook multi-pot meals with little weight gain, the addition of a cutting board and cup, and the low cost combine to make this bowl a nice gem for multiple person trips. This gets a Nessmuking approval, but skip the cup and dish.
Orikaso Fold Flat Bowl
Date Reviewed: 7/25/05