Sea to Summit Alpha Light Aluminum Spork Review

I’m glad I bought the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Sporks, but have a frustration with them.

Sea to Summit Alpha Light Aluminum Spork review

Better than a plastic spork?

Best budget backpacking gear for Philmont - Boiling water on the MSR Whisperlite$7 seemed like a lot for a simple ultralight alumimum Spork. I just bought a 4 pack of plastic Outdoor Systems sporks a few weeks earlier, and had not even used them yet. As it turned out, I needed to pad my REI order to get free shipping on the pair a Thermarest Z-Lite sleeping pads, and could not resist picking up a set of metal sporks.

UPDATED: December, 2017 – R-man and I both carried the long version of the Sea To Summit Alpha Light spork on our 100 mile trek through the mountains of New Mexico in July, 2017. The longer spork was great for getting to the food in the bottom the bags we rehydrated it in. Although, R-man lost track of his with about 3 days left in our 11 day trek. He is still emotionally distraught and unable to talk about the loss of his spork… or his new trail name: “Big Spoon”, as he was left with only one extra large stainless steel spoon from our crew gear for the remainder of the trek. 

I’m glad I bought the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Sporks, but have a frustration with them.

Sea To Summit Alpha Light Spork review

Sea To Summit Alpha Light Spork

Go Light or Go Home!

The term “gram weenie” is growing in popularity to describe folks that weigh everything in their pack and go to extreme measures to cut weight. As a Boy Scout, I sometimes thought I was packing light, but looking back now at the stuff I carried… well, I could have cut 10-15 lb from my pack easily, 20 or more if I tried hard. But many of today’s lightweight alternatives weren’t available 20 years ago. A few that were available were cost prohibitive back then.

I carried a big 3 piece Boy Scout utensil set. Compared to the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork it is simply monstrous. No idea what it weighs (yes, I still have it), but it is WAY more than the 0.3 oz Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork (that is 9 gm for the weenies).

Changing from a full utensil set to an ultralight spork (amazon link to lots of spork options) likely isn’t going to make or break anyone’s backpacking trip, based on weight savings alone. However, as part of a philosophy of carrying multiple use, lightweight items instead of the heavier alternatives, it plays a role.

What do you give up to save weight?

Not much, IMHO.

It is rare that I need to use both a fork and spook at the same time, so it makes sense to combine them.

best backpacking gear for Philmont - trail foodThis approach can be taken too far. A friend recently showed me “the most frustrating utensil ever”, the Light my Fire Spork with a spoon at one end and a fork at the other end of the handle. A serrated knife blade is molded into one side of the fork. Most folks hold their hot food with their fork, while cutting with a knife. Can’t do it when the knife and fork are the same tool. NO such issues with the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork, as it has no knife. I carry a very light Gerber Paraframe Mini pocket knife, which I also use as my food prep knife (see the multi-use theme).

The product description for the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork clearly says that it is made of “aircraft-grade 7075-T6 aluminum alloy that is hard anodized for excellent durability”. Apparently I can’t read, as I thought it was Titanium. The thing is so darned light, that even after using for a whole weekend for cooking, eating, coffee making (the juice of life!), etc, I still thought it was Ti. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this review that I realized it is Aluminum.

The only thing I don’t like, and this is actually a fairly big deal, is the shape of the handle. The Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork appears to be pressed from sheet aluminum. This creates a ridge down the length of the handle, with flat edges at the side. The flat were not very comfortable when holding the spork for cooking or eating. To make this worse, I burned my right hand (the one I hold the spork with) while cooking and the spork edge sat up against the tender burn. So maybe when my hand heals this won’t be an issue. *Update: I was being a wuss because of the burn. This isn’t really an issue.

Product Details from REI:

Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork Specs
Specification Description
Weight 0.3 ounce
Dimensions 6.5 x 1.5 inches
Material(s) Hard-anodized aluminum alloy

Best budget backpacking gear for Philmont - Fozzils origami platePros:

  • Lighten up! Why carry more weight than you need to? This Aluminum spork is lighter than most exotic Titanium Sporks.
  • Functional. The tines are sharp and long enough to make an effective fork, while the spoon is deep and wide enough to make an effective spoon. Don’t underestimate the delicate balance here.
  • Micro caribiner. I fully expected to use the caribiner for something else, but found it hugely helpful. I clipped my cup handle to the spork, clipped to a belt loop. Now my coffee tools were with me at all times as I helped the kids at Cub Scout camp. On our New Mexico trek at Philmont Scout ranch I clipped the Alpha Light spork to the corner of my Fozzils ultralight, folding plate so as not to lose it. Maybe R-man should have done the same. 🙁

Alternative backpacking utensil weights

Cons:

  • Flat edges of handle. Not the most comfortable utensil to hold and use.
  • Made in China. Would be nice if made in USA.

Conclusion:

An ultralight metal spork should be part of every backpackers kit, and the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork is a great choice. The long fork tines also make this a great pot/lid lifter, as they easily grab wire loops and help avoid burned hands (trust me, I learned the hard way). This Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork also won’t melt like the plastic sporks did when I tried to cook with them in camp.
*Update: After nearly 6 years of use on countless outdoor adventures, the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork has held up well and still looks nearly new. I was afraid it would sacrifice durability in the name of weight savings. However, with a bit of reasonable care, it has performed admirably.

Gear rating:

Gear Score
Gearswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
While not perfect, it is a solid addition to my pack, and one that I recommend.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this review was helpful to you.

Originally posted 2010-11-01 12:07:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits. A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps http://MGECOM.com acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management. Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.