This photo shows the Gerber ComplEAT backpacking and camping utensil set.

Gerber ComplEAT Backpacking & Camping Utensil Review

Disclosure: Man Makes Fire is reader-supported. When you buy gear using retail links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work. Learn more.

The Gerber ComplEAT utensil set includes a lightweight spoon, spork, spatula, and a multitool bottle-opener, can opener, and peeler. It’s aimed at any backcountry hiker, backpacker, camper or hunter.

To get Man Makes Fire a closer look, Gerber sent us a review unit. This is what we learned:

Gerber ComplEAT Review

The genius on the Gerber ComplEAT is the sum of its parts and how well it all fits together. The idea, of course, is that you get everything you need to eat in a complete package. You get a relatively long-handled spoon, a forkish sort of spork, and a spatula/turner.

You can use the nylon and silicone spatula/turner with lightweight non-stick cookware to fry and stir fry. As long as your pancakes are fairly small, you can flip those with the spatula, too.

This photo shows the Gerber ComplEAT with the tools separated and the tongs connected.
The spork and spatula connect to create handy tongs.

If you’re grilling or cooking chunks of meat or veggies, the spatula pairs with the spork to create a cool set of tongs. It works surprisingly well.

Meanwhile, what about that little multitool? The multitool is basically a bottle opener, vegetable peeler, can opener, and serrated package opener. It also serves as the piece that ties the Gerber ComplEAT elements together.

So Far So Good

The spoon and fork are made from anodized aluminum and they’re suitably lightweight. In fact, the entire Gerber ComplEAT system weighs in at a respectable 2.3 ounces.

As far as the spoon and spork goes, the spoon is long enough to be useful when eating dried backpacking food out of the bag.

Gerber calls the spork a fork, but it’s basically a spork. And sporks work ok as forks and ok as spoons but they’re not particularly great either way.

The spatula is handy if you actually cook in a pan in the backcountry vs just boiling water for freeze-dried meals. And it’s also handy as a scraper that can help clean your pots and pans.

This photo shows the spatula side of the Gerber ComplEAT.
The entire sets packs up small.

Where the value of the Gerber ComplEAT gets tricky is with the multitool. Most outdoor adventurers I know pack a knife and/or multitool pretty much wherever they go. So the built-in veggie peeler offers little value over a knife. The same goes for the built-in serrated package opener. As for the bottle opener, if I’m packing a bottle of beer, I’m usually not going far, so adding a bottle opener to my pack isn’t a big deal. And the can opener? We’ve all been camping where somehow the can opener is missing from the camp box . . . so having a can opener is sort of handy.

While we talking about unneeded utensils, you might be wondering how often do you need both a fork and a spoon in the backcountry? More often than you might think. Why? You would be surprised at how often someone forgets a spoon. Sure, it shouldn’t happen with proper planning, but not everyone can get out the door for an impromptu trip as easily as others. Alternately, if you’re gearing up a buddy to go backpacking for the first time, it’s nice to have an extra lightweight spoon or spork to lend.



Gerber ComplEAT: Pros and Cons

As it stands, I’m a fan of the Gerber ComplEAT. I like having the backcountry options for extra cooking utensils — and I can always leave all but the spoon behind if I’m trying to save weight.

For me personally, the Gerber ComplEAT has earned a spot in my portable camp grill/stove box as an extra set of utensils. It’s there if I need it when cooking off the tailgate of the pickup, and it’s also there for a quick hike.

This photo shows the Gerber ComplEAT.
Assembly and disassembly is easier if you use two thumbs on the peeler indentation to slide the multitool out to separate the parts.

For real-world use, each piece on its own works well, including the tongs. There is really only one con, and that’s the multitool. It holds the kit together, and if you don’t have it, the kit doesn’t stay together. The cutter is also a bit sharp. I haven’t cut or scraped myself on it, but I can see it happening.

To nest the handles together, you have to slide the multitool into the grooves in the turner. The rounded peeler portion is smooth, so your thumb has a tendency to slip and slide, which is super annoying . . . until you finally learn to do it with two thumbs at the same time. Then it’s fast and easy. Unless your hands are wet. None of this is exactly hard, it’s just not as easy as you expect.

Recommendations

The real question about the Gerber ComplEAT isn’t whether it’s a good product — it is — it’s whether the Gerber ComplEAT is the right product and value for you personally. At about $30, you could buy lightweight utensils separately and still come in under budget. But its tidy package is undeniably cool. If you want to start cooking in the backcountry beyond freeze-dried packages, the Gerber ComplEAT is great way to point you in that direction. Similarly, if you want to create a backcountry go-pack or survival-type bag, the Gerber ComplEAT is a handy set.

All that said, we actually think the Gerber ComplEAT is best as a gift for backpackers, campers, or outdoor lovers who like to frequently get off the beaten path. Why? The price point, while certainly fair for the quality and design, is a bit high for anyone on a budget who can get by with what they already have. As a gift, however, it’s a relatively affordable splurge sort of item. It’s the kind of kit that we would tend to hesitate to buy for ourselves but happily receive it as a gift.

Get the Gear:

Gear up with the Gerber ComplEAT — and other camping and backpacking gear — at REI!

Gerber ComplEAT
Pros
Lightweight
Versatile
Spatula and tongs are nice to have for backcountry cooking
Cons
Multitool is a bit poky, can't securely nest other tools without it
4.5
Disclosure: Reviews and Gear Links:

In addition to Man Makes Fire buying gear for reviews and guides, gear manufacturers occasionally ship review units to Man Makes Fire. If we like it, we spend some quality time with the gear and review it, noting if it was provided to Man Makes Fire. After the review, we return it, give it away, or work on longer-term review follow-ups when applicable to reader interest.

We do not accept any gear in exchange for coverage. If we do not truly appreciate the gear, we don't write about it at all -- bad gear will fade into obscurity on its own if everyone ignores it. In addition, we focus on gear from reputable companies, reputable brands, and reputable retailers that we trust.

The gear links on Man Makes Fire are focused on what we are willing to recommend to our own family and friends. Many of our specific gear links connect to industry-standard affiliate advertising programs. When you buy something using the retail links in our guides and reviews, we may earn a small affiliate commission that helps pay for our work.

Basically, we deliver the advice and insight you need, you get the gear you want, and then everyone wins. Pretty straightforward.

Complete Site Details & Disclosures Here