Some people like to eat out of a freezer bag with a long spoon, but that doesn’t work so well when you have to cater for more than one person. I find that method too messy myself, and anyhow, on a long trip you may not have that many separate freezer bags. Walking in France for three months, my wife and I had to buy stuff as we went. And, I might add, my wife expected dinner to be served in a reasonably couth manner. A light bowl is the answer – or better, style a pair of matching nesting bowls.
But good, light, inexpensive bowls with a decent capacity and fairly high sides are hard to find. There are plenty of light ‘plates’ on the market in a range of materials, but those flat things can spill so easily, all over your sleeping bag. Some bowls are available from both gear shops and supermarkets, but in general they are too shallow or too heavy for my liking. Shallow bowls can be as bad as plates: one slight lurch, and dinner can spill everywhere. I want a bowl with a decent depth, but not too small a base.
GSI Outdoors market two sorts of light polypropylene bowls. One has already been reviewed here: they are more conventional bowls with sloping sides. The nFORM bowls reviewed here have vertical sides and come as a nesting pair. GSI call them a bowl and mug set and also supply a neoprene cozy-sleeve and a lid for the mug. However, the two parts (bowl and mug) are almost identical, apart from a slight difference in diameter, and both parts work just fine as bowls.
Breakfast in bed with complete safety.
The larger bowl has a thinner and slightly more flexible rim, while the smaller one (the ‘mug’) has a lip on the rim which can cover the neoprene foam sleeve if you want to drink out of it. The lip makes the rim stiffer, though I think both bowls are stiff enough for ordinary use. They are quite high at the sides – 55 and 58 mm, which makes them very ‘slosh-resistant.’ It is interesting that despite one fitting inside the other, they end up at about the same weight and same capacity. Very smart.
Another nice feature of these bowls is the smooth inside face. The Orikaso folding plates have a stippled surface which makes cleaning difficult; these GSI bowls require little more than a simple swirl of water to be clean. I have chopped up the inside surface of an older set of supermarket bowls (Decor brand) with a metal knife – I shan’t do that with these bowls.
We measured these at about 20 fluid ounces capacity – but that is filled close to the brim. You don’t have to ‘measure’ the capacity: there is a little scale marked in fluid ounces and millilitres on the inside. Well, the scale is there, but it isn’t all that easy to read in the evening when I’m cooking dinner by headlight! My wife and I found that we rarely ate more than 14 fluid ounces of breakfast or dinner anyhow.
Bowls and gas canister.
The neoprene sleeve fits the smaller bowl or mug, as does the lid. The lid has a drinking notch on one side and an air hole on the other, though lightweight walkers probably won’t bother with these parts. What us lightweight walkers might like, however, is the sizing of the bowls: a standard 230 g gas canister fits neatly inside the smaller bowl. The photo here shows two bowls hidden inside a poly-cotton stuff sack and a gas canister inside them. I carry the two bowls (one for me and one for my wife) in a polycotton stuff sack to protect the smooth inner surfaces of the bowls, especially from any abrasion by the steel rim of the canister. There is enough fabric in the top end of the stuff sack to tuck neatly under the canister every time.
|20 fl oz (~600 mL) to the brim (BPL measurement)|
|Small bowl: 4.7 inches across x 2.2 inches high (120 x 57 mm); Large bowl: 5.0 inches across x 2.0 inches high (125 x 55 mm) (BPL measurement)|
|~1.5 oz each (~43 g) (BPL measurement)|
|Orange and blue|
|US$8.95 for the whole set|
- Almost unbreakable
- Nice and deep
- Suitable capacity for walkers
What’s Not So Good
- Can’t be held over a stove
Recommendations for Improvement
- Slightly stiffer rim on the larger bowl perhaps, but it isn’t really necessary