I received a lot of comments about my recent blog regarding my Trail Designs Sidewinder cooking system. Apparently, there are a lot of you out there in bloggerland who share the same affinity I do for simple and lightweight cooking systems that are flexible and take up little space.
A question I received several times was about what kind of utensil (spoon) I used with the system as the inference was that my entire cooking kit fit inside the 900ml cup. Well, in the the past I used the Backpacking Light long handled titanium spoon which I really liked and continue to use quite often. I have yet to find another option lighter than 10oz for a long-handled titanium spoon. Unfortunately, it doesn't compress at all, so therefore I can't really carry it inside the Sidewinder system because the diameter of the pot isn't wide enough. Initially I just hooked it to the outside of my pack or put it in another pocket, but I found it a bit annoying to try to hunt it down and the risk of losing, damaging it, or misplacing it seemed to grow exponentially.
With that, I searched for another option which could fit inside my 900ml pot. Initially, I switched between a short-handled titanium spoon and/or a spork, but didn't really like either principally because the shortened length caused me to put more of my hand into my boil-in-a-bag meals which was both not terribly sanitary and a bit messy being that I always needed to wash my hands afterwards. Bugs also seemed to have a field day and it wasn't an option for gloves being that my finger and knuckles often dragged inside the bag.
The option I'm currently using is an expandable spoon made by JetBoil (www.rei.com/product/756489) which can generally be found at most camping stores for anywhere from $5-$15 depending if you purchase just the spoon or the entire three piece set (spoon, fork, and spatula). The spoon expands from 5.2" when closed to 8.5" when open and it weighs just a single gram more than the BPL spoon (11g) which is still lighter than most other long handled spoons. And yes, it collapses enough to fit in my pot which was the goal. MSR makes a very similar option (same weight, price, materials), but it folds down instead of retracting which I didn't feel was as stable. REI makes a titanium spoon that retracts (same weight, double the price), but it only expanded to 6.5" (although it collapsed to just 3.5") and I felt the extra two inches I gained from the JetBoil spoon were a better option.
Although I'd rather have titanium and cleaning it is a little more cumbersome because food does get caught into the expandable sections, it works just fine otherwise.