The Sea to Summit AlphaLight Long is 8.5-inches from tip to tines, a full 2-inches longer than the other competitors, and it only weighs 0.42 oz. With these specs, this utensil was clearly designed with one purpose in mind- feeding hungry backpackers. Although somewhat unnatural in your hand, this technical piece of backpacking equipment also received high marks for its strength and simplicity to clean.
This is a cooking-forward utensil that also works for shoveling food from pot to mouth on backcountry ski missions.
As you can see reflected in its low score in this category, consuming food with this utensil is quite possible, but it's certainly not its best attribute. Its small bowl only held 2.75 cc's of fluid so putting down a large quantity of soup or stew is going to require some patience. The long handle feels clumsy in hand, and holding your utensil midway down the shaft draws your attention away from your food.
Eating with such an unusually long utensil takes some getting used to.
The rough texture of the aluminum alloy is also not as pleasant as the smooth surface of the titanium models, but the sides are soft on your gums. While the act of eating is easily accomplished with this utensil, it's not difficult to get distracted from your food by its unusual feel. At the end of a long hike when you're too hungry to care, you'll be psyched for the added reach to help you wolf down every last bit from the bottom of your bowl.
The long shaft and the thin metal make it slightly more prone to bending with significant torque, but with standard use (think cooking, not back-up aid-wall pin), it will last the duration of your adventure from start to finish.
While a little odd for eating, this model excels at backcountry cooking.
This utensil is the king of camp cooking. Its extra-long handle and curved bowl are excellent for stirring and sauteing. No need to worry about singeing your tips while making breakfast halfway up El Cap as this model keeps your fingers high above the flame.
Designed with cooking in mind, this model was our favorite for backcountry meal prep.
JetBoil Cooking Systems have cooking cups that range around 6 to 8.5-inches deep. With shorter utensils, cooking and eating out of JetBoil cup means getting your fingers dirty or foregoing the bottom few inches, but not with this utensil. If you plan to regularly cook and eat out of a JetBoil or dehydrated food bags, this model is a must-have.
While it rinses and wipes clean fairly easily, it holds onto oils and tastes without more thorough washing. Hoping to run it through the dishwasher as part of your post-trip de-mob? Sorry, this product is the only model we tested that is not dishwasher safe.
The gritty texture causes food to cling a little tighter, but a little snow and some elbow grease left this model sparkling.
This product is one of the least expensive metal models we tested. If you're looking for a utensil geared for backcountry cooking and don't mind some awkwardness while eating, this product fills that niche at a reasonable price.
This niche backpacker's cooking tool, utensil hybrid maximizes versatility and thrives in a backcountry setting.
The Sea to Summit AlphaLight Long is a product designed for the specific purpose of backcountry cooking. It is great for getting at hard to reach spaces, easy to keep clean, and made of strong material, but its awkward feel while eating knocked it out of the awards.