Opinel's modular cutlery set makes the spork a thing of beauty
Well-known for its timelessly simple and classic wood-handled folding knives, French company Opinel realized its offerings would be the perfect addition to camp kitchens and picnics in nature. It launched the original Nomad Cooking Kit in an attempt to capture the hearts and meals of campers, foragers and backcountry diners, and now it's grown the Nomad Cooking Collection with the Picnic+ kit. The new set becomes the most elegant spork – technically a sporf or splayd – we've ever seen. Rather than combining the classic mealtime tools into a single mouth-jabbing mess, Opinel has paired its signature folding knife with removable fork and spoon inserts.
Opinel isn't the first to think of pairing interchangeable utensil heads with a universal handle, but we're surprised the solution hasn't seen more use over the years. It saves weight over individual handles while promising a much more natural dining experience than a single fork/spoon/knife mashup.
Opinel's take on the sporf/multi-utensil kit is particularly stylish thanks to the wood handle of its No. 08 knife. The attachable fork and spoon heads work individually with this handle to seamlessly create a complete utensil.
Each insert relies on Opinel's Virobloc safety ring for attachment. A simple locking mechanism, the Virobloc ring wraps the upper edge of the knife handle to secure the knife blade closed, twisting open when deploying the blade and twisting again to lock the blade in open position. By using the Virobloc hardware that's been included on wood-handled No. 08 knives since roughly 2000, Opinel has retrofitted the new fork and spoon attachments to existing knives so that owners can just buy the attachments without a new knife.
All Picnic+ components store in the included dual-purpose microfiber napkin that doubles as a carry wrap. At 3.4 oz (96 g) for the entire set, the Picnic+ is designed to be useful for all types of activities, from simple picnics in the park, to car camping and overlanding, to backpacking and other human-powered backcountry endeavors. The kit can even be used for everyday meals on the go, replacing disposable utensils. Wherever they find use, the wood-and-metal design promises to bring a touch of formal dinner-table familiarity compared to the average plastic spork or multi-utensil set.
If there's one disadvantage to the Picnic+ design, it's that diners can't use the fork and knife at the same time when cutting their food. However, that's true of any sporf or single-piece multi-utensil. Those who find it problematic could always carry a second knife, whether it's a No. 08, a different Opinel or another knife all together.
Opinel USA launched the Picnic+ set for preorder this week. It costs US$35 for the complete set with knife or $18 for a fork and spoon combo to be used with an existing No. 08 knife. Both sets include the microfiber napkin. Deliveries will begin in September.