Oct 2, 2006 at 7:43 pm #1219785
I guess titanium spoons are nice, but at $18.00 I could buy 18 of my bamboo long handled spoons, weighing only 10 grams each. The bamboo is stronger than and doesn’t bend like plastic spoons, doesn’t feel cold in freezing weather, tastes good, has a soup-spoon-sized bowl, and has that friendly feeling of wood and is carved to fit smoothly in your hand. And it only costs a $1.00!Oct 2, 2006 at 7:54 pm #1364115
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
I’ll bite Miguel, where does one acquire one?Oct 2, 2006 at 8:01 pm #1364116
@pivvayLocale: Rocky Mountains
Or my DQ spoon. 3.3grams and free with any Blizzard treat ;) I’ve got quite a collection and take them on almost any trip. I’ve yet to break one but not too worried if I did.Oct 2, 2006 at 9:01 pm #1364124
@jbairdLocale: Deleware Watergap A_T
Yes!!! wood is goodOct 2, 2006 at 10:50 pm #1364130
It is a curry spoon, sold for 100 yen in Japan, maybe you can find them at a $1 store in the US. Along the lines of unconventional utensils, a set of bamboo chopsticks weighs maybe 10gm, and is very useful if you actually cook in ‘the field’.Oct 3, 2006 at 2:42 am #1364134
Yes, as Brett described, it’s a curry spoon (those Japanese characters on the handle say “curry spoon”). And also they can be bought in any ¥100 discount store in Japan. (not sure about $1.00 shops in the U.S., but you might want to try a Japanese or Asian food store).
I also carry a pair of bamboo chopsticks (or else just strip a pair of twigs of their bark) for eating ramen and such direct out of the pot. If you learn how to use chopsticks well and eat Japanese style by shoveling food out of the pot or a light bowl, you don’t even need a spoon. I recommend getting the dull-tipped chopsticks so it’s easier to pick up tiny morsels like rice grains.
And if you can’t find the spoons anywhere, it’s very easy to make them. Just carve a thick length of (dry) bamboo… Since gram for gram bamboo is stronger than steel you get something strong and light. And ecologically conscious!
I am now trying to learn more about bamboo basketry to see if I can construct a simple bamboo frame for a backpack. Traditional Japanese woodcutters and many different cultures around Asia have used bamboo packs for centuries. You can work it like steel or alumnium pipes, bend it like plastic, and weave it like fabric. I wonder if it would be appropriate for ultralight gear? I think I’m going to give it a try.Oct 3, 2006 at 4:06 am #1364135
@ianwrightLocale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
The disposable chopsticks in Japan are the easiest to use because they are square shaped and are not glossy or polished but a bit rough. Easy. And when you get good with them you can really inhale a lot of food quick !Oct 3, 2006 at 11:28 am #1364164
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Remember, wood is porous and as such, readily holds bacteria and gives them a breeding place.
Sterilizing a wooden object is virtually impossible with the resources a hiker might have.
Metal, plastic, or lexan are a far better choice.
They’re your guts; want to loan them to Montezuma?
WBOct 4, 2006 at 3:50 pm #1364244
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Wood is antibacterial. All spoons have places that will harbor food bits. A reasonably clean wooden spoon should be as safe as anything else. Note: Wooden cutting boards are safer than those plastic things, inlcuding those some folks use for backpacking.Oct 4, 2006 at 7:25 pm #1364262
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
Yes, I’ve seen studies comparing wooden cutting boards and those white plastic cutting boards used in kitchens and the wooden boards where found to be more sterile than the plastic ones. Something about the wood that does not harbour bacteria or kills bacteria.
DanOct 4, 2006 at 8:11 pm #1364268
Had to smile about the dscussion here… I’ve been using wooden chopsticks and spoons almost everyday for 45 years since I was a child. Never once had a problem. Not with my bamboo spoon for hiking either. As long as you clean it and dry it off well, there is no problem at all.Oct 4, 2006 at 8:32 pm #1364272
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
>> Sterilizing a wooden object is virtually impossible with the resources a hiker might have.
I always dip my Ti spork in the boiling water for 30 seconds before doing the boil-in-bag thing. It’s a habit mostly. I have no idea how effective this is at sterilizing things. I guess this might work for a wooden spoon, too.Oct 4, 2006 at 8:49 pm #1364274
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
Would it be feasible for BPL to expand the size of its spoon, and offer a titanium snow shovel? I’m sure the readers of this forum know far better than I do what a life-saving piece of gear a snow shovel is. If it isn’t feasible, I guess I’ll just put a spoon in each hand and dig my snow cave with my Superman Super Speed.Oct 4, 2006 at 9:10 pm #1364277
Just got me thinking… if in winter you’re going to bringing something like a titanium shovel (I would truly hate to contemplate the PRICE of the the thing!), how about having the shovel do double duty as a removeable pack frame sheet? It could even be plastic, like the Snow Cat shovels…Oct 4, 2006 at 9:42 pm #1364280
Miguel, as you probably know, bamboo is an amazingly complex and strong composite material, and a sustainable eco-friendly one at that. Many ancient materials such as wool (and hopefully bamboo) are finding new appreciation among backpackers. While on a sawanobori trip I saw traditional climbers using bamboo baskets as packs, and rope sandals. These items drained and dried much faster than my neoprene booties and nylon backpack (which held water like a baloon!). Those guys gave new meaning to the word ‘trad’climbing! I think bamboo could replace aluminum stays in a conventional backpack, and of course, makes a great walking stick; strong, flexible, (and free). Please let us all know what modern uses you find for it?
-Brett. Tokyo, Japan.
Descripion of bamboos composite structure: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17155245Oct 4, 2006 at 9:50 pm #1364281
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Wood pack stays are a great idea. Smooth, easily made with rounded edges, light. Really thin ones would have some spring to them too.
Sur La Table has an 18″ bamboo spoon for $6 — might double as a snow shovel :) They do have smaller ones too:
Check out their bamboo flatware too:
I work close to this outfit– I know where I’m going at lunch time :)Oct 5, 2006 at 4:56 am #1364301
Brett, those baskets and frames are the things I am interested in. I just wish I had the skill to make them and knew where to find the bamboo materials. Those bamboo groves that you see in the countryside all over the place are private property and you can get in trouble if you take bamboo without asking. Do you have any photos of the sawanobori gear and climbers you saw? I’d love to study their designs and see if I can learn to put together my own designs through them. However, bamboo-work is a real art, like woodworking, and takes years to learn well, so…
One idea I’ve been playing with for some time is to use a basket (or mesh) outer pack, into which you insert a very light drysack. The basket will then act as one huge outer pocket, frame, and protective surface for your gear. All you do is stuff gear that you normally would put into the outer pockets, between the basket and drysack. But since the bamboo frame has a form (though it can be quite soft if you use thin bamboo weaving) all you would really need to do is keep vital items protected from moisture inside the basket. Everything else would drain and dry quickly.
There is a lot ultralighter can learn from sawanobori walkers. Though the sport itself is quite new, climbing mountain creeks and the accompanying gear that is used has been used for centuries by mountain fishermen and people like wasabi farmers and mountain edible plant gatherers. Sawanobori walkers have long used tarps for camping and their gear is especially suited for very wet environment climbing (for instance some people use felt-soled fishermen shoes for walking in the creeks).
Speaking of traditional gear I saw a program by British bushcraft specialist Ray Mears in which he visits the Sami of Norway. One of the traditional Sami reindeer herders who spends most of his life outdoors in the Arctic, told Ray that he never uses modern insulation (like wool) for his footwear. He said it tends to sweat too easily and hold too much moisture. So, though he uses Gore-tex for his jacket, he still prefers to use traditional knee-high mukluks stuffed with hay. He said the hay does a much better job at keeping the feet warm and dry. I always thought that traditional Japanese reed snowboots were silly, but now I’m not so sure. Also, traditional Japanese raincapes made of straw (like roof thatching) were supposed to be superb at keeping rain off and breathing extremely well.
And there is the recent discussion about George Mallory’s Everest gear
So much to learn from the past, when people spent much more time outdoors than we ever will.Oct 5, 2006 at 8:11 am #1364308
@davidlewisLocale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Interesting points Miguel.
As a sidenote… since you mentioned Ray Myers… I have seen many of his shows and although I often find them interesting and educational, I really think he should change the name from “Extreme Survival” to something else. I mean… he usually has a truckload of gear and staff and food and cameramen etc. etc. with him. The Vietman episode was particually ridiculous… he had to hire an entire small village to carry all his gear into camp!!! Hardly what I’d refer to as “survival”… but it is an interesting program.Oct 5, 2006 at 9:49 am #1364317
Dave, I’m not sure which of the series it was, the “World of Survival”, “Extreme Survival”, or “Ultimate Survival”, but there is one video where he sits with the camera and talks about the limitations that a television film crew has in showing what bushcraft is really like. He then swivels the camera around and shows just how much gear is necessary for making the documentary, most of it technical gear like cameras, sound equipment, and computer equipment. I like his “World of Survival” series the best because he tones down the military aspect and spends much more time looking at traditional bushcraft skills of hunter/ gatherers around the world, people who still actually live their whole lives in the wild and rely on bushcraft and going light to survive. I think Ray really does know his stuff and when on his own really does travel very light… a Jardine Breeze sized backpack with a hammock.
But then, too, I don’t think the ultralight backpacking style as it is practiced by most people here could handle real long-term life in the bush. It is too fragile and relies too much on modern technology. Things like machetes and axes and good knives just don’t figure in the ultralight vocabulary, and yet those things are essential when you are trying to survive, especially when you need to make shelter and find food.Oct 5, 2006 at 10:41 pm #1364374
I do not have any pictures of the climbers; I rarely took out my camera in that wet environment, but I saw some traditional sawanobori stuff at Sakaiya. Separate vendor, but here is an example basket:
I use the felt fishing shoes you mentioned, but if I had to make the purchase again, Id buy the rubber sandals and the neoprene tabi. More versitile, sort of traditional, and about half the price.Oct 6, 2006 at 12:03 am #1364379
Cool link bret b, thanks.
A while ago I was searching for packs that are made naturally and sustainable and I came across this link.Oct 6, 2006 at 11:01 am #1364407
I think that bamboo and other natural materials have A LOT of value.
Slightly off topic, but as an example, Im in the first stages of building a doublesized sailing kayak that will be used for a trans-pacific ocean crossing. Its materials are plyboo (plywood made with bamboo), hemp (used as a replacement for fiberglass), bamboo catamaran decks, bamboo mast and sail spars, bamboo fiber sail, and finally epoxy (the only major non-natural material).
Being made of natural materials is in no way a handicap, and in fact may prove to be beneficial to my boat design. The hull design is like the plywood greenland kayaks out there (which are well known to be much lighter than their plastic brothers), and the outrigger and sail patterns are based on south pacific models, where bamboo and wood are still being used to make winning race boats.
If the qualities of bamboo and other natural materials can be put to use on a boat, crossing one of the most hostile terrains known to man… it can certainly be used to benefit as a “cutting edge” material for modern backpackers.
I really like the idea of using bamboo as a pack frame – Thin strips could be cut and then heat shaped. Bamboo fiber fabric can be siliconized – It would be as strong as silnylon, but would drastically cut the environmental hazard. Hemp can be used as a direct replacement for fiberglass, and I bet bamboo fibers could be as well. bamboo could (theoretically) be used to replace aluminum ferrules between shock corded sections of tent poles. It could theoretically even replace the tent pole sections themselvs – though I think in this application they would be overly heavy.Oct 6, 2006 at 2:11 pm #1364416
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I work for an asian importer, so I see a lot of bamboo items come and go. Love the stuff (ok, I will state I hate bamboo plants in my backyard. Near impossible to destroy..sigh) The tools are nice. And when they are used up, you know it with bamboo ;-)
“Disposable” chopsticks can be used many times over. As for sterilizing, well, a quick wash, and boiling water is your answer! Boiling water sterilizes quite efficently.
Myself..for spoons? Dairy Queen spoons or ice tea spoons from the dollar store. Both work well, and weigh almost nothing. McFlurry spoons also work.Oct 6, 2006 at 2:21 pm #1364418
For what its worth, Pampered Chef has a set of two small bamboo spoons for $3.50.
They are slightly larger than a regular spoon, but the bowl of the spoon is the same size as a regular spoon.
A little dremel work to shape it down and you would have a spoon pretty close to the original one in this thread.
Im gonna give it a shot and see how it turns out.Oct 6, 2006 at 4:13 pm #1364422
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Oh thanks, you have now enabled my addiction to PC even more ;-) (My wedding shower was a PC party).
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