GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug Set Review

Two nesting bowls, strong polypropylene, ~20 fluid ounces capacity each, about 1.5 ounces weight each and US$8.95 for the set: they can't be too bad!

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Overall Rating: Recommended

Two nesting bowls, strong polypropylene, ~20 fluid ounces capacity each, about 1.5 ounces weight each and US$8.95 for the set: they can't be too bad!

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by Roger Caffin |

Overview

Some people like to eat out of a freezer bag with a long spoon, but that doesn't work so well when you have to cater for more than one person. I find that method too messy myself, and anyhow, on a long trip you may not have that many separate freezer bags. Walking in France for three months, my wife and I had to buy stuff as we went. And, I might add, my wife expected dinner to be served in a reasonably couth manner. A light bowl is the answer - or better, style a pair of matching nesting bowls.

But good, light, inexpensive bowls with a decent capacity and fairly high sides are hard to find. There are plenty of light 'plates' on the market in a range of materials, but those flat things can spill so easily, all over your sleeping bag. Some bowls are available from both gear shops and supermarkets, but in general they are too shallow or too heavy for my liking. Shallow bowls can be as bad as plates: one slight lurch, and dinner can spill everywhere. I want a bowl with a decent depth, but not too small a base.

GSI Outdoors market two sorts of light polypropylene bowls. One has already been reviewed here: they are more conventional bowls with sloping sides. The nFORM bowls reviewed here have vertical sides and come as a nesting pair. GSI call them a bowl and mug set and also supply a neoprene cozy-sleeve and a lid for the mug. However, the two parts (bowl and mug) are almost identical, apart from a slight difference in diameter, and both parts work just fine as bowls.

GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug Set Review - 1
Breakfast in bed with complete safety.

The larger bowl has a thinner and slightly more flexible rim, while the smaller one (the 'mug') has a lip on the rim which can cover the neoprene foam sleeve if you want to drink out of it. The lip makes the rim stiffer, though I think both bowls are stiff enough for ordinary use. They are quite high at the sides - 55 and 58 mm, which makes them very 'slosh-resistant.' It is interesting that despite one fitting inside the other, they end up at about the same weight and same capacity. Very smart.

Another nice feature of these bowls is the smooth inside face. The Orikaso folding plates have a stippled surface which makes cleaning difficult; these GSI bowls require little more than a simple swirl of water to be clean. I have chopped up the inside surface of an older set of supermarket bowls (Decor brand) with a metal knife - I shan't do that with these bowls.

We measured these at about 20 fluid ounces capacity - but that is filled close to the brim. You don't have to 'measure' the capacity: there is a little scale marked in fluid ounces and millilitres on the inside. Well, the scale is there, but it isn't all that easy to read in the evening when I'm cooking dinner by headlight! My wife and I found that we rarely ate more than 14 fluid ounces of breakfast or dinner anyhow.

GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug Set Review - 2
Bowls and gas canister.

The neoprene sleeve fits the smaller bowl or mug, as does the lid. The lid has a drinking notch on one side and an air hole on the other, though lightweight walkers probably won't bother with these parts. What us lightweight walkers might like, however, is the sizing of the bowls: a standard 230 g gas canister fits neatly inside the smaller bowl. The photo here shows two bowls hidden inside a poly-cotton stuff sack and a gas canister inside them. I carry the two bowls (one for me and one for my wife) in a polycotton stuff sack to protect the smooth inner surfaces of the bowls, especially from any abrasion by the steel rim of the canister. There is enough fabric in the top end of the stuff sack to tuck neatly under the canister every time.

Specifications

  Manufacturer:

GSI Outdoors

  Year/Model:

2007

  Manufacture:

China

  Material:

polypropylene

  Capacity:

20 fl oz (~600 mL) to the brim (BPL measurement)

  Sizes
(internal):

Small bowl: 4.7 inches across x 2.2 inches high (120 x 57 mm); Large bowl: 5.0 inches across x 2.0 inches high (125 x 55 mm) (BPL measurement)

  Weight:

~1.5 oz each (~43 g) (BPL measurement)

  Colors:

Orange and blue

  MSRP:

US$8.95 for the whole set

What's Good

  • Light
  • Affordable
  • Almost unbreakable
  • Stable
  • Nice and deep
  • Suitable capacity for walkers

What's Not So Good

  • Can't be held over a stove

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Slightly stiffer rim on the larger bowl perhaps, but it isn't really necessary

Citation

"GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug Set Review," by Roger Caffin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/gsi_nform_ul_bowl_mug.html, 2009-01-13 00:00:00-07.

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GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug Set Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug Set Review on 01/13/2009 22:33:37 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug Set Review

Mike Coleman
(teamgreyfox)

Locale: Cairns in tropical North Queensland
GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug on 01/14/2009 07:45:02 MST Print View

Roger,
Great review. Love the usefullness of the new bowls/ mugs and what you done to add value with the canister.
Having just come back from a weeks trekking I am looking forward to acquiring a set of these.
Have you seen them available 'down under' yet?
Are they likely to be a BPL store line?
cheers
Mike from Sunny [today anyway]Cairns.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug on 01/14/2009 15:22:09 MST Print View

Mike, the GSI set has been out since last year (it was part of the big make over of their stuff).
They have definitely shown up down under ;-) I know I have shipped a number of them down that way.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug on 01/14/2009 16:36:27 MST Print View

Hi Mike

Yeah, they work fairly well for us.

Down Under? Dunno. I will ask GSI what gives.
BPL? doubtful - too many other sources already maybe.

Cheers
(Sydney - 38 C today...)

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug on 01/14/2009 18:17:15 MST Print View

I have been using these for the last year on trips that my daughter is coming with me. I agree that they work well and clean easily. I take the cup, she takes the bowl. Works great. The only down side for us is that it's sized for larger canisters and we often are using a 110 g canister.

GSI has a smaller bowl that is sized for the 110 g canister which is found in their solo pot. You might want to whisper in their ear that there are people who would love this set in a slightly smaller form factor that they are already producing.

--Mark

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug on 01/14/2009 18:35:46 MST Print View

Hi Mark

Passed on.

cheers

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug on 01/14/2009 20:52:18 MST Print View

On the smaller cup that comes with the Soloist....I have always wished it had a sippy lid like the other sizes do. ('Cause their idea of a lid being the pot's lid never has worked on that mug).

I can dream ;-)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: GSI Outdoors nFORM Ultralight Nesting Bowl and Mug on 01/15/2009 15:25:58 MST Print View

Australian distributor for GSI is Spelean:

Spelean Pty. Ltd.
PO Box 645
Artarmon, NSW 1570
Australia

Contact: Judith Bateman
e-mail: Judith@spelean.com.au
T# 011-61-2-9966-9800
F# 011-61-2-9966-9811

Cheers

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Update on 01/16/2009 18:54:41 MST Print View

I just received a shipment of the new 2009 Pinnacle Soloist sets this evening....and GSI fixed the issue with the lid on the 14 ounce mug! Yay!

The new thinner, semi opaque mug is better designed (and did I say LIGHTER?) and the lid to the pot lies upside down perfectly on it, making a sippy lid that doesn't pop off.

This set just got a whole lot better (and off topic, the pot is now non-stick lined as well).