Hands-on Gear Review

MSR Folding Review

Both comfortable and functional this model is a great collapsible utensil but some added care is needed to avoid breaking.
MSR Folding
By: Leslie Yedor ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 17, 2018
Price:  $4 List  |  $3.36 at Amazon - 15% Off
Pros:  Compact, lightweight, inexpensive
Cons:  Prone to melting & breaking, difficult to clean
Manufacturer:   MSR
56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 8
  • Eating - 35% 7
  • Cooking - 20% 6
  • Cleaning - 15% 5
  • Durability - 30% 4
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Our Verdict

With its thoughtful design, the MSR Folding was our favorite collapsible model. Although the nylon material gives it a flimsy feel, it held up to regular use. The locking mechanism is oriented so that the weight of food reinforces the open position and it never once collapsed on our testers during use. While unfortunately prone to breaking and melting, this product is compact, lightweight, and inexpensive; all things backpackers can get behind.

If you're committed to the compact nature of a folding design, this is a great on-the-go utensil. For an equally light, but more durable backpacking utensil, try our Top Pick for Ultralight Backpacking, the Vargo Titanium ULV. Or, if you're looking for a sturdier yet still inexpensive plastic option our Best Buy, the humangear GoBites Uno is for you.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The MSR Folding is a collapsible nylon spork that weighs 0.35-ounces and measures 8-inches when extended and 4.5-inches when folded. It's lighter, longer, are more packable than many of the other competitors. Plus, it received decent scores across the board and was above-average for its comfort while eating. It would be the complete package, but it's just a little too fragile to expect a long-term relationship with this piece of cutlery.

Performance Comparison


This well-designed folding utensil outperformed our expectations  yet still fell short of snagging an award.
This well-designed folding utensil outperformed our expectations, yet still fell short of snagging an award.

Eating


We admit we were surprised by how much we enjoyed eating with this model. At first touch, the design feels flimsy, but it proved to be comfortable to hold and held up to a multitude of cuisines. The bowl has a natural fit in your mouth, and the tines did well when stabbing protein despite their dull feel. It also never collapsed on any of our testers during a meal or while cooking. While certainly not a piece of standard metal silverware, this product does nothing to take away from whatever meal you are enjoying.

The ergonomic bowl and wide handle make eating with this model feel relatively normal.
The ergonomic bowl and wide handle make eating with this model feel relatively normal.

Cooking


With the handle extended, this model is 1.5-inches longer than the average spork, which is a bonus for cooking but doesn't distract from eating. The flexible material bends while stirring even something as lightweight as scrambled eggs. A thick meal that provides a lot of resistance might be a tough match for this utensil, and the nylon is also prone to melting when sauteing.

The flexible material was prone to bending  but didn't break with regular use.
The flexible material was prone to bending, but didn't break with regular use.

With such a soft edge, we had high hopes for this model and the surface of our non-stick pan. Alas, the Teflon coating was no match against the repetitive abrasion that resulted from cooking with this product.

Cleaning


Like all of the other plastic models we tested, proteins cling to the material a bit more than to the metal versions. We're not recommending you skimp on sanitation, but cool water and some finger friction are all that are needed to get visible food particles off of the main body. The folding joint, however, is a different story. With hard to reach crevices, it's hard to get clean without the diligent use of a sponge. Once you're home, sanitization is simple as this model is dishwasher safe.

The folding joint and the nylon material make this model somewhat harder to clean but it is dishwasher safe.
The folding joint and the nylon material make this model somewhat harder to clean but it is dishwasher safe.

Warm soapy water or the dishwasher are instrumental in removing oils from the bowl. Embracing our inner dirtbag, this didn't bother us much in the backcountry, but it was noticeably oily until we got it home.

Durability


This product was regrettably easy to break. Although it stood up to all of the cooking and eating during testing, it quickly failed our weighted break test. We were sad to see it go when this good thing came to a quick end.

5-lbs had this model bending over backwards
5-lbs had this model bending over backwards

Best Applications


The lightweight and compact nature of this utensil make it a good option for shorter backpacking trips. With its lack of durability, longer trips become a risky business. It's also an ideal to-go utensil for kids with its fun colors and rounded edges and would be great for school day lunches.

When locked in extension  this model is 8-inches long  providing some added reach into deep pots or dehydrated food bags.
When folded in half  this product is highly packable at only 4.5-inches long.

Value


This product boasts an inexpensive price tag of $3.95. You might have to replace it eventually, but it will outlive its BPA-ridden fast-food cousins. It's a great option if you're dipping your toes into the world of hybrid utensils, or you are looking for a to-go utensil that slips discreetly into your pocket.

Conclusion


Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed using the MSR Folding. Its flexibility was immediately off-putting, but it held up to use and was surprisingly comfortable to eat with. As far as collapsible, travel-friendly silverware goes, this was our favorite model.

Leslie Yedor


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Most recent review: May 17, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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