If there's one thing the SNEWS® crew takes seriously it's meal time, and we consider kitchen utensils important pieces of gear. We're sure lots of backpackers would agree—especially those who have reached into their meal kit right before dinner and suddenly realized they forgot to bring a fork or spoon. Major bummer. Have fun stirring the soup!
Yes, utensils matter, so we scrutinized Jetboil's Jetset Utensil Kit as we would a stove, tent or any other product. While testing the Jetset fork, spoon and spatula, we noted things like the quality of the design, their usefulness, durability and weight. Overall, we had generally favorable reactions, though we found room for improvement.
One nice thing about the Jetset implements is that they're very light, with the fork and spoon weighing 0.4 ounces and the spatula barely tipping the scales at 0.5 ounces. That's a tad bit lighter than some titanium utensils, such as the Snow Peak titanium fork and spoon, which weigh 1.4 ounces together. Another plus is that each piece retracts into its handle for compact storage. The fork, spoon and spatula measure 8.5 inches extended and 5.2 inches retracted.
The fork and spoon at first seemed overly long when extended, but you have to consider that they're made to reach into the bottom of the Jetboil cooking cup, which is about 5 and three-quarter inches deep. When we extended the spoon, we were able to stir food in the bottom of the cup, while a good portion of the handle cleared the rim so we could easily hold the spoon. Equally important, for none-Jetboil cooking system users, is the ability to be able to reach the bottom of the pouch of a freeze-dried meal where simply adding boiling water and then stirring is all the cooking taking place. Nothing worse than a short spoon that doesn’t quite reach the bottom of a pouch leaving the fingers and back of the hand coated in stroganoff we can assure you.
We also like that the retracted utensils packed neatly into other Jetboil cookware. For example, the spatula sits neatly between the bottom of Jetboil's FluxRing Fry Pan and the cover for the bottom of the pan. Jetboil also sells a Cargo Cozy for the cooking cup that has a strap to hold the fork and spoon when they are retracted.
While the utensils certainly have clever designs, our testers had initial concerns about their durability. Each Jetset utensil is constructed of nylon that is resistant to high temperatures. But, beware. When we cooked omelets on the FluxRing Fry Pan, we slightly melted the edge of the spatula. As with any other plastic spatula, be very careful to limit contact with cookware that's directly on high heat.
Sometimes, looks can be deceiving, and at first glance, these utensils just don't appear to be rugged and sturdy. This is partly due to the fact that they simply look like they're made of regular plastic rather than nylon. But it's also because the pieces are extremely flexible and not rigid like a Lexan or metal instrument. In addition, there is some play, or a slight wiggle, where the main body of each piece meets handle. And the slot where you depress a tab to retract the handle looks as if it could be crushed or broken.
However, we have twisted these products and practically bent them in half without breaking them. And the pieces weren’t crushed during regular use on the trail. We should mention that when we bent the handle of the spoon in half to test its limits, we put two dents in the handle that hindered retraction. But it's not likely that a person is going to stress the product to that degree in the field. Some of our testers contend that titanium utensils are still more durable, and titanium utensils weighs just a tad more than the Jetset pieces, so there may be no clear advantage to ditching titanium for the Jetboil set.
The Jetset pieces do have some nice design details. The edge of the spoon is shaped so that you can scrape food from the lowest recesses of the cooking pot, and the edge of the spatula is sculpted to perfectly scrape the inner surface of the Fry Pan. We did note that the business end of the spatula (measuring 2.5 inches by 3 inches) is great for the relatively small Jetboil fry pan, but it's not large enough to flip full-sized pancakes in a larger skillet.
Our testers would offer people one other piece of advice—the Jetset handles are interchangeable, so a person concerned with space and weight could pack just one handle and use it for each utensil. In fact, we'd like it if you could buy the handle separately from the fork, spoon or spatula, but maybe that's just too many choices and SKU's.
As we said before, these products have their positives and negatives. Overall they're lightweight and well designed, though opinions vary on their durability. In any case, it's nice to see Jetboil putting plenty of thought into its cooking accessories, and we hope to see the company's line of utensils evolve and expand.
SNEWS Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $19.95
For more information: www.jetboil.com