S.H.O.V.E.L — The Open-Source, All-Purpose Spork

Semi-Horned Oblong Versatile Eating Ladle

From the good folks at SparkFun, best known as an (excellent) online electronics shop, comes the S.H.O.V.E.L, a cool, slightly offbeat eating utensil.

The S.H.O.V.E.L is a sturdy, titanium fork/spoon combo, complete with a serrated cutting edge (that works really well) and bottle opener along with a good amount (six feet) of red paracord wrapped around the handle.

Semi-Horned Oblong Versatile Eating Ladle
The S.H. (semi-horned) end with the knife and bottle opener is a representation of the SparkFun logo.

It’s a little on the heavy side for a backcountry eating device, tipping the scales at 46 grams/1.6 ounces (with paracord).

By contrast, my usual backcountry utensil, the Light My Fire Spork,  only (9 grams/0.3 ounces). Even the heavier but sturdier titanium version, weighs 17 grams (0.5 ounces), significantly less than the S.H.O.V.E.L.

But what’s really unique about the shovel is that it’s completely open source. Hold on. What’s that mean?

Open Source Hardware

If you’re not familial with the open source hardware movement, it essentially means that the S.H.O.V.E.L is released with no patents pending. You’re free to download the necessary files and, with the proper know-how, tools, and materials, make your own and do whatever you want with it.  You can sell it, give it away, re-brand it. You can even customize on the design or make improvements to it.

Which is pretty cool.

One Final Note

The S.H.O.V.E.L. sells for only $5.50 from SparkFun and, but this price doesn’t include the paracord. And while it initially shipped with a length of red paracord, it arrived unwrapped. This allowed you the pleasure challenge of trying to thread the end of the cord through a small hole in handle before wrapping it up.

Word has it that if you try to carry it onto an airplane, the TSA will take it away from you — though I haven’t experienced this myself.

I’ll carried it on our Trip Around the World, and it came in handy every once in a while.

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