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GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl SPOTLITE REVIEW

Strong polypropylene, almost twenty-four fluid ounces capacity, 1.55 ounces weight and $1.50 USD: it can't be too bad!

Hightly Recommended

Overall Rating: Highly Recommended

A combination of a light weight, unbreakable construction, good capacity, easy to clean and a low price, plus it has fairly high sides which prevent spilling and it doesn't go all floppy when filled with hot stew.

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by Roger Caffin |

GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl SPOTLITE REVIEW

Overview

Some people are happy to eat out of a freezer bag with a long spoon, but that doesn't work too well when you have to cater for more than one person. 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.

In the past, it's been hard to find good, light bowls with a decent capacity and fairly high sides. There are plenty of light 'plates' on the market in a range of materials, but those flat things can spill easily, getting dinner all over your sleeping bag. Bowls are available too, from both gear shops and supermarkets, but in general they weigh a ton or are too shallow. I don't like shallow bowls for the same reason I don't like the plates: one slight lurch and I'm covered in my dinner. I want a bowl with a decent depth…but not too small a base.

GSI Outdoors has come out with this Cascadian brand bowl: cheap, light, not too flexible (unlike some folding bowls we have tried), non-cracking, with a decent capacity for a good meal, and with adequately high sides. The base may look a little small for stability, but some field testing has shown they're quite stable in practice. They're large enough that dinner does not 'escape' (under reasonable treatment!). If you have a couple of them, they stack quite nicely. Cleaning is pretty easy: a rinse and shake works most of the time.

We measured these at twenty-four fluid ounces capacity - but that's filled right to the brim. Don't expect to put that much in one without immediate disaster. Mind you, even twenty fluid ounces of dinner is more than most could possibly eat.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
  • Year/Model: 2007
  • Manufacture: China
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Capacity: 24 fl oz (680 mL) to the brim (BPL measured)
  • Size (diameter x height): 6.3 x 1.8 in (160 x 45 mm) (BPL measured)
  • Weight: 1.55 oz (44 g) (BPL measured)
  • Colors: Red, orange, green, and blue
  • MSRP: $1.50 USD

What’s Good

  • Light
  • Cheap
  • Almost unbreakable
  • Stable
  • High walls
  • Suitable capacity for walkers

What’s Not So Good

  • Cannot be held over a stove

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Slightly wider base, perhaps

Citation

"GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Roger Caffin. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/gsi_outdoors_cascadian_bowl_spotlite_review.html, 2008-05-20 21:45:00-06.

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GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl SPOTLITE REVIEW
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl SPOTLITE REVIEW on 05/20/2008 21:50:33 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl SPOTLITE REVIEW

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Who sells the cups and bowls? on 05/21/2008 11:18:54 MDT Print View

I did a web search but could not find the highly recommended cup and bowl. I found the other GSI products.

Thanks for the good review. I've been looking for a cheap, light solution when backpacking with two or three others.

Ryan Krause
(rmkrause)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Web Search on 05/21/2008 15:06:08 MDT Print View

Just google for "GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl" and it'll bring back a bunch of retailers that carry both the bowl and cup.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Web Search on 05/21/2008 17:09:27 MDT Print View

Thanks, I re-checked. Now they are at GSI - updated items. If you try to buy them then GSI gives you links to other sites. Not all the colors are available and some prices are higher. I will try to find them at a retail store where it will be easy to get different colors at the $1.50 price and not have to pay a big shipping charge.

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl - web search on 05/22/2008 13:34:41 MDT Print View

There are a variety of very lightweight food storage containers available in supermarket and variety stores that can serve as bowls and weigh less than 1 oz each. They come in a variety of round and rectangular shapes and typically have press on tops. The smaller ones can serve as a bowl. My wife and I also use them to carry breakfast cereals or crackers that we don't want to be crushed in our packs.

We've also used various flexible plastic bowls available at other stores like Target, etc., as breakfast cereal or food bowls. Another option for an overnight is to use a paper bowl (as in paper plate). Use it once and burn it with the other flammable trash.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: GSI Outdoors Cascadian Bowl - web search on 05/22/2008 16:43:00 MDT Print View

Hi Richard

> There are a variety of very lightweight food storage containers available in supermarket and variety stores that can serve as bowls and weigh less than 1 oz each. They come in a variety of round and rectangular shapes and typically have press on tops. The smaller ones can serve as a bowl.

True, and I have a cupboard full of different sorts. But none of them were quite what I wanted. They were often heavier, wrong capacity, and sometimes more expensive. But, different shops, different lines.

> My wife and I also use them to carry breakfast cereals or crackers that we don't want to be crushed in our packs.
Now that is a neat idea!

Cheers

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Ziploc bowl is lighter on 05/23/2008 10:29:21 MDT Print View

I tend to agree with M. Gless.

I just checked and my Ziploc bowl holds 24 oz (but not quite up to the brim -- still reasonable not to spill). It has a broader bottom than the GSI, straighter sides, and nests quite well. It weighs 7/8 oz. Since it is clear, I have marked measures on the side. It feels quite durable to me.

For many years I used a 2-cup plastic measuring cup (1.5 oz). I have two slightly different ones that nest perfectly (with judicious alteration of the handles). Talk about tough / durable -- I still have the first one I ever used.

-- Bob

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Light and cheap on the Australian market on 05/23/2008 19:34:40 MDT Print View

Roger, you might want to check out the Decor range. This is their standard range, not the new microwave range, which is significantly heavier on my "one in each hand" scales.

The original range have good lids for solids, 100ml markings, stack well and let you compact down(stack) as you eat the cereal or crackers you store in them. (10 Weetbix in an 800ml rectangular container)

The 800ml in rectangular or round are about 46g plus 18g for the lid. cost around $3.00 at Coles or Woolies.

They do a nice, short round 350ml one which I think is around 29g plus lid (mine is at work at the moment. I'll edit on Mon) Very tip resistant due to the straight sides and low height. I've drilled a hole in the lid on one side, with a breather opposite, to make a drinking lid. No handle but the reinforcing rib around the seal gives a burn proof way to hold. In reality polypro transmits less heat than even ti.

The practical working temp (ductile, flexible semisolid) is around 160 C, so boiling water has no effect on stability of these containers, like it does on PET. Which leads me to the lightest, cheapest practical bowl I have found so far.......

the Coles brand 1kg honey container. Take the plastic bail handle off this and you have an approx 800ml polypro container with a pretty good lid. The jar is 27g and the lid is 10g. The wall thickness is less than the Decore, but even filled with boiling water, it's still suitably rigid. I haven't tried stacking yet, as I'm only half way through the second jar, but with my kids, I reckon on about ten days until it's ready. (I'm not sure how many of these I put in recycle before I realised how ideal they were.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Bowl Man" on 05/23/2008 19:47:44 MDT Print View

I'm a Bowl Man" and have used a Cool Whip bowl for a few decades. I use the lid as well when winter camping.

They are REAL cheap & if the bowl begins to crack at the rim (happened once) I just get another bowl of Cool Whip (I like Chocolate) and I'm in business.

Eric

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Light and cheap on the Australian market on 05/26/2008 01:33:01 MDT Print View

Hi Rod

> you might want to check out the Decor range.
Used some Decor bowls for many years (15-20?), but the ones I have sport rather low sides and a centre which is nor bulging upwards. Old age and much use. Our local shops don't have anything better, but that may reflect what is locally available of course.

Lids and markings? Not for the ones I have! Obviously our local shops are behind the times.

Can you post some pics so I know what to look for maybe?

Cheers

mark o'keefe
(montana666666) - F

Locale: Montana
Pie pans for me on 05/26/2008 19:30:55 MDT Print View

Non returnable from a local pie shop. Been carrying them for 20 years. Less than 17 grams each. I cook pancakes in them as well. 1 3/4 inch sides work fine. Broad base. Double as both a pot lid and a frisbee!! Real shiny ones could work as a signal mirror.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
lidz on 05/26/2008 21:33:00 MDT Print View

I love a lid! Cleaning is INSTANTANEOUS! Add little hot water and shake!

Can also help to keep food warm and act as a tiny cutting board. The lid off my Cozy Shack pudding bowl makes a minimal insulator for my stove canister, too bad the canister can't pack inside the bowl

Another good feature for easy cleaning is bowls should be entirely reachable by tongue - lickable/cleanable - preferably with enough clearance to avoid nose bumping.

Edited by Paul_Tree on 05/26/2008 21:34:39 MDT.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Different page on 05/27/2008 03:30:42 MDT Print View

Sorry Roger,

It took me about eight hours to work out what was going on here. I couldn't believe that Coles and Woolies in Sydney could be that backward!! I finally worked out that we were running on parallel, non-intersecting paths.

You're talking about BOWLS, and I'm talking about fridge/freezer containers I USE as a bowl and/or cup. I use the Decor Tellfresh range. Decor's site is down at the moment, but these are a nice range for camping and at home. The lids interchange with a number of different size containers, just getting taller. This means they stack easily in the cupboard or your pack, and you can normally find a lid to fit. As they bring out new additions to the range they still match up lids. It's a concept that others could learn from. Been out around ten years now I think.Decor Range

Edited by Rod_Lawlor on 05/27/2008 03:44:16 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Different page on 05/27/2008 19:02:10 MDT Print View

Hi Rod

I did wonder about those Decor tall containers. It seemed to me that scraping the remains of my dinner out of the corners might be a bit difficult, but what's your experience been like? Perhaps the round ones are easier than the rectangular ones?

Also, do they stack well? I need two of course: one for me and one for my wife.

One benefit I can see is that the increased height would make them into good soup bowls as well. The GSI bowls are a shade shallow still for a large serving of soup.

But I have some nForm GSI stacking bowl/mug sets to report on yet: they might be very similar to the Decor containers.

Cheers
Roger

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
No problems so far on 05/28/2008 07:25:04 MDT Print View

Roger,

The whole family now use the 800ml round containers. No problem with getting to the bottom using a Light My Fire spork. There's a nice curve on the bottom edge. I have made cosies for them all, using 3/16 foam, so they work pretty well to rehydrate in as well, or to hold a sauce warm while cooking pasta. Much more versatile than a bowl with no lid. The 800ml size will hold more food than I can eat, and if they made a 600ml round option, I would probably take that. 800ml is overkill for the kids, but the higher sides reduce spills and dirt in the dinner. (My rogaining partner uses the 1.5L though, and claims to be able to eat a full bowl)

Stacking is pretty good, but not as good as a bowl. Figure on about an extra 15-20mm as you stack. This is mostly due to the shoulder, and now that I'm thinking about it, I may have a crack at knocking this off. I'm not sure how this will affect the rigidity though.

Rod

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Nform on 05/28/2008 17:15:50 MDT Print View

Roger, I think you may like the GSI NForm mug/bowl sets. I love them. I use both the 14 ounce triangle and 20 ounce round ones. What I really like are the lids - Ford can't dump his drink as easily! He has taken to them nicely.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Nform on 05/29/2008 01:49:16 MDT Print View

Hi Sarah and Rod

What I was thinking of doing was carrying an orange outer bowl for me and a blue inner bowl for my wife. They stack really nicely, and have high sides so soup shouldn't spill. The lid is sort of optional - I am not sure I would need it for OUR use.

OK, field testing required. Soon.

Cheers

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
They look okay...but on 05/29/2008 04:41:04 MDT Print View

I'm not sure I can justify the price for four people. I'll be keen to see what you have to say about them Roger.

BTW, the girls at work have asked you to put your shirt back on. They say that's not what they want to look at while I'm browsing at lunch time!!

Rod

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: They look okay...but on 05/29/2008 16:39:45 MDT Print View

Hi Rod

> BTW, the girls at work have asked you to put your shirt back on. They say that's not what
> they want to look at while I'm browsing at lunch time!!

Should they be looking over your shoulder? Invasion of privacy!

Anyhow, it was a hot day and the climb up Carruthers Peak had been hard work.

Edited by rcaffin on 05/29/2008 16:40:08 MDT.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Cascadian Set $11 on 05/31/2008 10:04:18 MDT Print View

Here is a link for Bargains Lane. They have the 4 person Cascadian set (cup, bowl, plate) for $11 plus shipping. Not bad!

http://bargainslane.com/shop/index.php?c=6094&p=77402