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"Sprongs" are utensils for those who like to cook and eat outdoors. Spoon, Fork, and Tongs, conveniently together at last.
700 backers pledged $20,017 to help bring this project to life.

About

Sprongs: the Perfect Camp Utensil for Cooking and Eating. project video thumbnail
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$20,017

700

We are funded! A big thank you to all our backers. Be sure to scroll down to see our new addon options.

Tired of burned fingers from trying to work with a hot pot? How about getting food all over your hands trying to reach the bottom of a MRE or dehydrated meal? Do you wish your camp cutlery was as comfortable and familiar as the spoon and fork you use at home? Don't worry you aren't alone.

No more burned fingers handling hot food.
No more burned fingers handling hot food.

 "Sprongs" (patent pend) are utensils for those who like to cook and eat outdoors. Spoon, Fork, and Tongs, conveniently together at last.

  • Sprongs' spoon and fork lock together to form useful tongs. Three utensils for the space and weight of two!
  • The spoon and fork nest together for convenient storage.
  • Sprongs' dimensions are based on home silverware for familiarity and comfort.
  • The spoon is 1 tablespoon in volume, a common and useful unit of measure.
  • Sprongs' extra long handles reach the bottom of MREs and dehydrated meals to avoid getting hands covered in food.
  • The fork doubles as a bail hook for lifting hot lids and pots.
  • Sprongs have a strategically places lanyard hole for added convenience when storing.
  • Made in the USA from food-safe, durable, light-weight nylon.

With your help, we can bring Sprongs to the outdoor culinary world.

While there are a myriad of camping utensils out there, I prefer to take a set from home with me when camping. I find that many of the camp utensils available are flimsy, too short, awkward in shape, ineffective, and overall uncomfortable.

Of course a little modification was in order, I cut bail hooks into all my utensils. Nothing like a steam burn from lifting a lid on a pot of boiling water to ruin a camp.
Of course a little modification was in order, I cut bail hooks into all my utensils. Nothing like a steam burn from lifting a lid on a pot of boiling water to ruin a camp.

Besides a fork and spoon from the kitchen drawer, I also kept a pair of chopsticks in my kit. Anytime I was cooking crawdads, bacon, or anything that required I reach into a hot pan, I’d bust out my chopsticks.

Various prototype attempts and 3D prints.
Various prototype attempts and 3D prints.

Unfortunately, it isn't always practical to bring much more than a pot and something to stir it with. In my effort to consolidate my utensils the Sprongs were born. (Really, it was my wife’s tweezers sitting near the sink that gave me the idea.)

My first designs of the Sprongs. Drawn up Nov 21, 2012 at 12.02 am (gotta love metadata)
My first designs of the Sprongs. Drawn up Nov 21, 2012 at 12.02 am (gotta love metadata)

The concept for the Sprongs was fairly straight forward. I'd already seen similar tongs at the kitchen store but the spoon and fork were permanently affixed. However, actually making a pair has proved to be quite a challenge.

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Unlike my stoves, I couldn’t just laser cut a set of Sprongs from sheet metal due to their complexity. In particular, the mechanism by which the spoon and fork attach has been near impossible to prototype without expensive tooling. I tried to hire several companies to come up with a manufacturing process without success. It became evident that a complete redesign was needed.

At my wits end, instead of trying to hammer them out of steel I began to utilize 3D printing. Besides learning CAD software, this was the breakthrough I needed. I was able to quickly test and implement changes and even full redesigns, eventually arriving at the elegant Sprongs we have now.  In fact I may have solved the design issues preventing the manufacture of Sprongs from metal using these 3D prints. Often the greatest challenge in designing a new product is just figuring out how to get it made.

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The only thing the 3D prints could not do is make me a prototype out of the material intended for manufacture. Nylon 66 is the material recommended to me by plastics experts and even the lead designer for a very well known outdoor gear company. It is strong, flexible, and one of the preferred materials for kitchenware. But it can only be formed by a mold, at least as far as I can tell. I’ve tried putting into an oven and heating it with a torch to try and mold it over clay forms like kydex or other thermal plastic. All I’ve been able to conclude is that it is incredibly tough.

3D printed prototype sprongs
3D printed prototype sprongs

We need your help to purchase an injection mold so we can start making Sprongs for everyone.

DesignTek Plastics. A local mold company.
DesignTek Plastics. A local mold company.

With your support we can have the mold spitting out Sprongs within a couple of months.

Our goal is set at $15,000. This will just about cover the mold, Kickstarter fees, and production of backer rewards.

Once started the mold can be ready in as little as 12 weeks and production would start soon thereafter.

12 Weeks to make and tweak the mold. Work on the mold will start as soon as we hit about half our funding goal. If all goes well we will be able to start shipping rewards in November.

One advantage of local US production is that I can personally be at the factory in an hour to resolve any issues and to pick up finished Sprongs.

Delivery on this project will be quick.

Of course our primary backer reward will be the Sprongs. Naturally, we can offer a bigger discount if you opt to get more than one pair.  We are also offering our Emberlit Stoves and Ferrocerium firestarters as rewards. There will be add-ons, but those won't show up until we hit our initial funding goal.  

Our pledge amounts and rewards were derived by taking into consideration production or wholesale costs for each item, Kickstarter fees, and the approximate backers we need to reach our funding goals. Shipping is based on USPS flat rates, though we rounded down to make the math easier.

"Addons" are a way for us to offer backers additional rewards or perks outside of Kickstarter's reward structure.

Note: All addons require a base pledge to be at the $8 tier and above.

To include addons with your kickstarter pledge, follow these steps:

  • 1. Click the “Manage Your Pledge” button. If you have not pledged yet it will say “Back this Project.”
  • 2. Increase your pledge in the “Pledge Amount” box by the total of the addons you wish to add.
  • 3. Do not change the tier you are currently pledged at. However if you do wish to change to another pledge tier remember that you will still need to add the total of your addons onto the amount of the new tier.
  • 4.You will receive a survey after the end of the Kickstarter campaign that will let you indicate which addons and options you have selected .

Do I need to add shipping/handling? Most of the shipping and handling is included with your original pledge tier. Sure it may cost us a little more to ship your addons, but we love ya.

Click on the image above or link below to see video on each Striker and how they work.
Click on the image above or link below to see video on each Striker and how they work.

Feel free to message me with any questions about addons. And thank you for making this project a success.

I want you to think of this as a Mini Kickstarter. My ultimate goal is to have Sprongs made from titanium, stainless steel, and possibly aluminum. Sprongs made from metal only increases their utility. They will be stronger, more durable, and capable of picking up things like hot coals.

The tool and die company that makes my Emberlit Stoves, including the beloved FireAnt from our previous Kickstarter campaign, has been hard at work working out the process to make the Sprongs from metal. We are close enough in fact that we've already filed some patent protections.

Stainless Steel Sprongs Prototype... So very close.
Stainless Steel Sprongs Prototype... So very close.

I plan to launch another Kickstarter Project for the Metal Sprongs as soon as we start to deliver the nylon Sprongs. Everyone who supports us on this Kickstarter project and then supports our metal Sprongs Kickstarter project will receive a little something extra in gratitude.

MerkWares is a small outdoor equipment design company based in Utah. The name MerkWares is a play my last name, Merkurieff. And literally means "Stuff I Make". Really it’s just a name to describe my passion for building or modifying my own equipment. MerkWares originally got its start with the Emberlit Stove. With the support of my partners and my friends MerkWares is growing almost faster than we can keep up.

If you look at our logo it represents our slogan: Tooth and Talon. This is in reference to the fact that our ancestors weren't endowed with fur, fins, feathers, fangs, or claws so in a manner of speaking they made their own. They were able to thrive using primitive tools and a vast knowledge of the natural world. We at Merkwares wish to continue that tradition of designing gear that enhances the outdoor experience by encouraging understanding, and meaningful interaction with the natural world rather than insulating against it. 

Q. What will the Sprongs be made of?

A. They will be made from Nylon 66. A food grade material that is incredibly tough with a melting point of 600F.

Q. Will Sprongs come in different colors?

A. Yes, I believe so. We haven't worked out the particulars but I'm told they can be made in various colors. Color options will be announced in the project updates.

Q. Will the Sprongs be made from metal?

A. Yes, but not for this particular project. A manufacturing process for metal Sprongs (Titanium, SST, etc) is well under way. I plan to launch a Metal Sprongs Kickstarter Project as soon as we start to deliver the Nylon Sprongs.

Q. Where will the Sprongs be made?

A. Right here in Utah, USA.

Risks and challenges

Our risk involves having to purchase a mold to get a final product. This risk, however, is very small. We've done our research, studied other plastic utensils on the market, even consulted with outdoor companies we hope to be like when we grow up.

The mold company is here in the USA, just an hour's drive from my shop, so it will be easy to make any necessary tweaks or refinements before we go into production. They have been an excellent company to work with thus far and I have full confidence they can deliver.

Just like our previous project we will do everything we can to keep backers up to date on any developments or issues. We want you along for the whole journey.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Tips Welcome

    Keep up with our development, news, and announcements. And of course our gratitude.

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    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    Early Bird Special

    1 pair of Sprongs for just $8

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    Reward no longer available 200 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    The Lone Spronger

    1 pair of Sprongs

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    159 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Sprongmeister

    3 Pair of Sprongs
    One for each of your kits.

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    184 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Family Pack

    5 Pair of Sprongs. One for each of the family.

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    76 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Camp Chef FireAnt SST

    One Pair of Sprongs, a Stainless Steel FireAnt Stove, and a .4inx4in Ferrocerium Firestarter with lanyard.

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    19 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Camp Chef Stainless Emberlit

    One pair of Sprongs, a Stainless Steel Emberlit Stove, and a 4inx4in Ferrocerium Firestarter with lanyard.

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    8 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Camp Chef Titanium Emberlit

    One pair of Sprongs, a Titanium Emberlit UL Stove, and a 4inx4in Ferrocerium Firestarter with lanyard.

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    10 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    Camp Chef FireAnt Titanium

    One pair of Sprongs, a Titanium Emberlit FireAnt Stove, a Trangia spirits burner, and a 4inx4in Ferrocerium Firestarter with lanyard

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    37 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)