Orikaso (meaning “to fold plastic”) are lightweight flat pack folding cups, bowls and plates made from Polypropylene.
During my two week Offa’s Dyke hike, I found two sets of Orikaso an absolutely ideal solution for both me and the dog (using the plate for food, and the bowl for water). Orikaso are lightweight, durable and really easy to clean – available in red, blue and green sets, they are a bargain at £2.99 per set on Amazon.
During the final preparations for Offa’s Dyke, I was desperate to find a lightweight solution to dog food and water bowls. I have tried those double layered material ones in the past, but found that they are a) very difficult to clean and b) leak. I came across Orikaso after reading about them on a ultra-light backpacking blog (sorry, I can’t remember which one!). I ordered a red and blue set (one human and one animal) from Amazon for £2.99 each (plus £4.05 postage) – they are from a marketplace seller, but were delivered quickly.
Orikaso are made from a completely flat piece of polypropylene (the only plastic endorsed by Greenpeace as an alternative to PVC). Each set, which consists of a plate (700ml 22 x 22 x 4.3cm), a bowl (700ml 17.5 x 8 cm) and a cup (400ml 11 x 11.5 x 9cm), come in a single flat package. The sets are very lightweight – with both sets weighing less than a single standard plastic plate (weight is about 136g).
When you first try and assemble them – it seems impossible! There is a knack to folding the tabs into the folds of the plastic to create a corner – and it required a bit of practice to get the hang of it. Once mastered though and it is extremely quick to assemble each one.
My initial concern was that the folds, especially with the tabs, would quickly wear and break – however after two weeks of continual folding and unfolding there is absolutely no sign of wear. This is apparently due to the unique properties of polypropylene which means that there is in structural fatigue or weakening (they are so confident of this that every Orikaso product comes with a 10-year guarantee).
The plate (which has high edges) was big enough to hold a large dogs daily dinner (a scoop of biscuits and a tin of meat). The bowl is big enough to use as a dog water bowl for short intervals (when thirsty my dog could drink it all, but it was big enough that a full bowl could last an evening and morning in camp-sites).
The only downside is that the packaging, that the sets come in, is not very strong – by the end of the first week the edges had ripped apart, and I had to keep everything separate in my backpack. The cup also feels a little fiddly to use – and hot liquids cool quite quickly.
Overall though these were invaluable – especially as dog water / food bowls for hikers and walkers, and they will definitely be a regular pack item on hikes and camping trips. I am amazed these are so cheap – £2.99 seems so little for such a great product!
[I should point out that Alex, my Offa’s Dyke team-mate had a set of Orikaso about two years before me – he even showed them to me a year ago, but at the time I was very unimpressed. Sorry Alex – you were right. They are cool!]
UPDATE: 7th December 2011
These amazing folding plastic sets are still going strong. I use my own set infrequently now as I move towards boil in the bag and dehydrated meals, although the cup is still used for soup during the colder months. The dog’s bowl and plate however are still regularly used – in fact the bowl is used on every walk. The plastic is showing very slight signs of wear where I have, in a rush, not assembled them correctly, but otherwise they are as good as new.
Checking the Amazon link, I notice the price has dropped slightly – you can pick up a set for £2.99 + £2.70 shipping – an absolutely steal!