We started by reading the literature, researching the claims of different manufacturers and then poured over feedback from customers such as yourself. We bought the best models and used them extensively at every moment we could. We hiked, camped, cooked, kayaked, took them to work, lent them to friends and used them at home.
To remove some of the user bias, Leslie and Sara also enlisted a crew of fellow adventurers to ensure we got the most use and feedback out of our sporks. (Adventurous) nurses, principals, toddlers, teenagers, parents and tour guides were all asked to eat with the sporks and share their experiences so that we could present a comprehensive report to you.
First and foremost, utensils are for eating. We flushed out the idiosyncrasies of each product by consuming a variety of different food types, from ramen noodles to scrambled eggs to almond butter to steak, to see how well they handled. We evaluated them for their comfort in the hand and mouth. We also used a syringe to fill the bowl of each product with a measured amount of ccs until the surface tension broke to evaluate the maximum liquid carrying capacity of each model.
Cooking becomes a necessary function for these utensils when in the backcountry. We took them on ski tours, overnight kayaking adventures, backpacking trips and used them to prepare meals over a camp stove. We tested them with dehydrated food bags, a JetBoil stove, and MSR Whisperlite and on our home stove. We also used them to saute in a GSI Pinnacle Frypan, which has a Teflon coating and evaluated their ability to scratch the non-stick coating.
Cleaning doesn't necessarily equate to washing, so we wiped each product clean after a meal using only a mouth and again with a dry paper towel to check their ability to be cleaned on the go. We then tried to clean them with cold running water and finger friction. If that didn't do the job, we broke out the warm soapy water and a sponge. To get a full experience of cleaning in the toughest conditions, we cooked a dish of mac and cheese using the utensils and then left the sauce to dry on each spork for 30 minutes, we then recorded our cleaning experiences.
To find out how they handled with regular use, we used them frequently. For many meals and many miles, we tested each model to assess the wear and tear caused by normal use. We then set up a break-test to help find the limit to their strength. We clamped each spork to a table using a c-clamp. The clamp was positioned on the handle where you would normally grasp it with your hand, leaving the bowl hanging over the edge of the table. We then hung a water jug with 1 to 10 lbs of weight on the bowl and assessed the model for folding, bending, or breaking.