To excavate the depths of a package of freeze dried food in order to feed your inner man can sometimes be difficult. Hence long handled sporks and spoons. The question is if they are an essential answer to customers needs, or smart marketing or a reflection of something else.
By Jörgen Johansson
The photo above shows the problem. In order to scrape everything out of the package the need for a spoon with a longer handle seems to be obvious. Or at least, it is certainly one solution. Are there others?
Yeah, well, most of us probably have some sort of cutting edge accessory in our well-slimmed packs. Mine is usually smaller than the one shown, but at least it is photogenic. And also irretrievably lost in the South Nahanni river after one of several involuntary swims.
Packages made out of paper, plastic and what not really have not much to offer in the way of resistance when a determined lightweight backpacker lets loose with some Swedish steel. Even steel from other countries have been known to work. In fact, a flint knife would certainly be up to the job.
Voila, as the saying is. Suddenly the insurmountable problem is solved. The fear of having to dig elbow deep into a sloppy and greasy bag is eradicated. All is well and the hearty meal can commence.
What's the point of all this blabbering a discerning reader might ask. Well, I am not sure I have an answer. The slightly ridiculing tone so far could be seen as self-critisism.
Fact is, I like gear. Particulary light gear of course. And it is always tempting to test some new thingymagig that I read about. Fact is, like most people living in the Western world right now, I am a consumist.
I try to pretend that a redeeming quality is that I am aware of this fact and do try to avoid succumbing to it. At least unnecessarily so, whatever that might mean.
However, having, as a professional market researcher, worked with marketing people most of my grown life the long handled spork does bring on a line of thought that goes somewhat like this:
Product developement and marketing of outdoor gear has been of great service to us backpackers, and will continue to be so. However, marketers are very aware that we are all consumists at heart and will need very little or no particular reason at all to indulge ourselves. Their business is making us buy things, the rest is our responsibility.
That is why they try to convince us that we need a number of different packs, tents, shoes etc for different purposes. Sometimes they are even correct, but quite often the differences between varieties of the same piece of gear are exaggerated.
So while the product developement and marketing people in the outdoor business might be our friends, one thing is certain: They won't tell us to use our brains if this interfears with their sales. That is something we have to do for ourselves.