When you look back and think about some of the best pieces of gear you own sometimes the smallest things can be the best. Between expensive Gore-Tex rain jackets, stupidly over engineered hiking packs and my many sleeping bags, one small, and what could be considered insignificant purchase, still comes out on top.
Several years ago, in an effort to become more ultralight, I ditched my set of metal cutlery for a plastic spork, satisfied the weight saving would be worth it but this change did have one drawback beyond just losing the ability to cut and stab with the fork at the same time and this was the length of the spoon itself.
So after much deliberation, I decided to make yet another investment in my gear collection and for once the price tag of $9.99 for a Sea to Summit long spoon wasn’t going to set the bank account back to ground zero.
It’s fair to say that this was a life altering moment as it fixed a problem I had always endured when eating freeze-dried food on the trail. When I’m doing big hikes, I always pack a few Radix in the bag as it saves me needing to plan all my meals, making my prep time a little shorter even if it is slightly more expensive.
When I made up my freeze-dry and sat down to eat it, I’d stick my spoon in and then find myself having to practically stick my entire hand in the packet just to get a spoon full. As I pulled it out I was left with a hand full of Mexican Chilli mix adding not only the annoyance of a spicy and sticky hand but also the addition of the slight hint of sweat to the flavour profile of the meal.
Now I know it sounds silly that something as simple as a long spoon can have such an impact on my overall hike experience but I’ve always been someone who believes that small things play an important role in how we enjoy experiences like these. There is nothing like a hand full of chilli mix at the end of a 25km day to just add a sour note to it all and it’s just that easy when you are tired and obviously hungry.
Though many will say their most expensive purchases have been their best I don’t always see value in the endless cycle of buying better gear which is not that much better than what you already have (even though I too get sucked into it).
A few of you may say that I should tear open the packet at the ‘bowl’ line but every time I do that it stops you from resealing the packet and gets freeze-dry juice practically everywhere throughout the side pocket of my pack.
At the end of the day for most people a longer spoon won’t change much but I urge you to appreciate the little things next time you are out on the trail because I truly believe it is what hiking is all about. Whether it is an interesting plant you spot while walking, an animal crossing the track, the sounds of birds calling from the tree or even just a long spoon you buy before your next adventure – the little things are simply the best!
Written by Josh Welch