When you're hiking, camping, or backpacking far from civilization, meal time is sacred. Sitting down to rest and enjoy some hot food provides an opportunity to recuperate from many hard miles on the trail. You're not exactly going to whip out the lace doilies and salad fork in the backwoods, but that doesn't mean you need to eat like a savage, either. A good mess kit serves as a vessel for your food and offers utensils to eat with. These items must also be lightweight, durable, and easy to clean.

UCO ware mess kit food plate spork bowl meal camping 4

UCO has released some new all-in-one mess kits that are intended to meet these needs, while also acting as a self-contained storage system for leftovers or other tools. The Four-Piece Mess Kit is built from tough polypropylene, with anti-slip TPE (thermoplastic rubber) grips. It consists of a bowl and a lid/plate that fit together like a clamshell, plus a UCO utility spork. These pieces are held together via a stretchy shock cord tether that runs through holes in the spork and around the plate/bowl handles, creating a leak-proof seal.

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The second option from UCO is the Bamboo Elements Mess Kit, which is composed of a blend of natural bamboo fiber and corn starch stabilized into a hard polymer. That might sound like a strange combination of materials, but when we handled it at a recent trade show we found it to be surprisingly sturdy-feeling, much like fiber-reinforced nylon.

Left: Bamboo Elements Mess Kit / Right: Four-Piece Mess Kit

Left: Bamboo Elements Mess Kit / Right: Four-Piece Mess Kit

Like the Four-Piece kit, it includes a bowl, a plate/lid, a spork, and a shock cord tether. However, the spork is a two-piece Switch Spork, which serves as a knife, fork, and spoon.

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A line of UCO Utility Sporks, with Switch Sporks at top and bottom.

MSRP for the Four-Piece Mess Kit is $15; the five-piece Bamboo Elements Mess Kit is $20. Each kit offers several color choices, ranging from plain grey or tan to high-visibility blue or orange. These kits will be available starting tomorrow, January 16th, on UCOgear.com.

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