Hands-on Gear Review

Vargo Titanium ULV Review

This is our favorite model for long distance backpacking due to its durability despite a very minimal weight.
Vargo Titanium
By: Leslie Yedor ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 17, 2018
Price:  $12 List  |  $9.94 at Amazon - 17% Off
Pros:  Super lightweight, quality material, comfortable to eat with
Cons:  Doesn’t reach the bottom of dehydrated food bags, pricey
Manufacturer:   Vargo
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 8
  • Eating - 35% 8
  • Cooking - 20% 7
  • Cleaning - 15% 8
  • Durability - 30% 9
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

If shaving ounces from your backpacking kit is a top priority, the Vargo Titanium ULV (Ultra Light Version) is the spork for you. This product is unrivaled in its combined strength and lightweight design and offers zero compromises on material or performance. Our biggest complaint was the feel of the thin metal while eating. Although still comfortable, it was obvious this utensil wouldn't land itself on a restaurant table, but it was never intended for such benign locations anyways. You can have confidence this technical piece of cutlery will last a 5-month Pacific Crest Trail through hiking trip and enjoy your meals in the process. All of this at an exceptionally low weight makes this spork our Top Pick for Ultralight Backpacking.

If comfort is your main priority and you're not opposed to double the weight, grab yourself our Editors' Choice, the Snow Peak Titanium. Otherwise, our Top Pick was the runner-up in every category we tested and we'd happily add this utensil to our arsenal of backpacking equipment.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Vargo Titanium ULV weighs in at a meager 0.3oz. That's crazy lightweight. Its titanium construction provides a longer life expectancy than its plastic counterparts by resisting breaking and melting. Its low weight and durable design make it ideal for backpacking but friendly enough to double as your day-to-day on-the-go utensil.

Performance Comparison


Extremely lightweight without sacrificing durability  this Vargo model receives our Top Pick Award for the backpacking crowd.
Extremely lightweight without sacrificing durability, this Vargo model receives our Top Pick Award for the backpacking crowd.

Eating


Although this product doesn't entirely mimic the cutlery in your kitchen, it is satisfying to eat with and doesn't distract from your meal. Add in post-hike hunger and we bet you won't even notice the difference. It also holds 5.75 cc's of liquid, making it the best model for soup out of all of the competitors with the classic design of the hybrid spoon-fork on the same end.


Its thin metal design is noticeable in your hand, but the edges aren't uncomfortably sharp. The shape of the bowl and tines are comfortable in your mouth and lend well to wolfing down your food. From ramen to rice this tool is the perfect vehicle to get food from your bowl to your belly.

Eating with this model is comfortable and it performed well with a variety of foods.
Eating with this model is comfortable and it performed well with a variety of foods.

Cooking


As with most of the models we tested, cooking is a secondary function. It's no spatula, but we had no problem cooking eggs, pancakes, and mac n' cheese with this utensil. The handle even remained cool when left in the pot. Its thin edge helps it excel in slicing foods like avocado and cheese.


At 6.5-inches long, it's natural to eat with, but on the shorter side for cooking if you're rehydrating food in its bag. If you plan to survive on primarily dehydrated food or cook in a JetBoil, try the Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork - Long instead. It's also rough on a non-stick pan, like the majority of the models we tested. Leave the non-stick at home and opt for more durable cookware.

Cooking with this 6.5-inch model is easy in conventionally sized pots and pans but a bit too short for ideal use with dehydrated food bags.
Cooking with this 6.5-inch model is easy in conventionally sized pots and pans but a bit too short for ideal use with dehydrated food bags.

Cleaning


No need to worry about taste or oils lingering on this utensil. The smooth surface of the titanium makes rinsing or wiping clean both viable options. If you're looking to sanitize it post-trip, load it in the dishwasher.


Take note that the metal surface changes color when wet so don't mistake the darker color for a dirty surface. It will return to its original blue as it dries.

Cleaning this product is quick and easy  even after letting mac n' cheese sauce dry on it.
Cleaning this product is quick and easy, even after letting mac n' cheese sauce dry on it.

Durability


One of the most outstanding features of this product is its durability despite its minimal weight. This utensil maintained its shape while stirring even the thickest of stews and showed no indication of wear after being repeatedly and haphazardly shoved into a pack filled with ice tools and crampons.


When it came time to push the limits of this model's resiliency it stood up to the test. We hung a 10-lb weight off of the bowl with the shaft c-clamped to a table at the midpoint. It flexed a little when we first added the weight, but it didn't bend and was no worse for wear after the fact.

This model didn't break or bend with heavy use in the backcountry.
This model didn't break or bend with heavy use in the backcountry.


Best Applications


This product is for anyone looking to save on weight without compromising on durability, functionality, and comfort. It's the perfect ultralight backpacking utensil because it is not only extremely lightweight, but you can trust it to survive the journey. We wouldn't hesitate to take this spork into the world's harshest environments, be that the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan or San Francisco's financial district during lunchtime.

Whether on a day mission or through hike  this model shines when limiting weight is an important factor.
Whether on a day mission or through hike, this model shines when limiting weight is an important factor.

Value


Although tied for the most expensive model we tested, with a price tag of $11.95 it's not likely to break the bank. Plus, knowing it will survive years of use and abuse, the cost per meal becomes nominal. If you're looking for a less expensive model that is still durable and you don't mind a non-metal option with more weight, check out our Best Buy, the humangear GoBites Uno.

It's a bit on the expensive side for a utensil  but its durability helps bring the cost per use down over time.
It's a bit on the expensive side for a utensil, but its durability helps bring the cost per use down over time.

Conclusion


We are big fans of the Vargo Titanium ULV and appreciate the option of a lightweight model made out titanium. We enjoyed eating with it, found it easy to cook with and to keep clean, and loved that we couldn't break it. If these are qualities you're looking for in your on-the-go utensil, we highly recommend this Top Pick to our ultralight friends.

Leslie Yedor


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

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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