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Backcountry Dining Made Easy with Kung Foon

Posted on: December 2, 2015


The author dining with the Kung Foon in the backcountry [Photo] Andrew Councell

I'm a wilderness camping minimalist, bringing just enough food and not bothering with extras or luxury items. I eat freeze-dried meals out of a bag, eliminating cooking, cleaning pots and other annoying dish duties. My no-cook system is not perfect, since I usually eat tasteless freeze-dried meals, and it's difficult to reach food deep inside a bag without spilling it. Enter the Kung Foon, a brilliantly designed utensil from GSI Outdoors that eliminates spillage.

This clever cutlery combo offers three eating modes: Rosewood chopsticks for hearty meals and communal dishes; a titanium "foon" (aka spork) for soups; and a utensil with an extended handle when both are combined. This last option sold me and is the one I use the most. Most of the time I eat soupy freeze dried food from a bag. A normal spoon works fine for the first half of the meal but when you scrape the bottom of the bag, you're sure to get dirty hands. You also risk snapping a plastic spoon, guaranteeing a mess. The extended handle keeps your hands clean in your search for every morsel of your bagged meal. The Kung Foon appeals to the clean freak in all of us.

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The author showing proper Kung Foon technique. [Photo] Andrew Councell

The foon component is a bent stem with two rectangular slots for the chopsticks, which extends the foon handle to about 11 inches. I used the Rosewood chopsticks all summer. They held up well after 6 weeks of camping, only breaking when I roughly dropped my pack. GSI also offers an option for plastic chopsticks but I found that any old pair works fine.

These fork chops are great for stirring hot dishes, and eating from narrow camp stoves like Jetboils. A single Kung Foon set also serves a couple people if your partner forgets their own eating tools. During my backcountry nights this year, several of my partners enviously eyed the Kung Foon. While a little gimmicky at first, I loved my Kung Foon and highly recommend it for all the other bag-eaters out there.

Pros: Multi-functional and lightweight (4.1oz). Great for eating from bags and narrow camp pots while keeping your hands clean. Foon works well as a fork and spoon and works with other chopsticks.

Cons: Bulky to pack as a unit. The Rosewood chopsticks are durable but start to break down with repeated use. Pricey for cutlery, but worthwhile for the dedicated bag eater.

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