I'm always excited to find new products and manufacturers of outdoor backpacking equipment. They often bring new concepts, materials and ways of thinking to the outdoor genre. This is certainly true of KUPLIKA, a small Finnish company that launched its new line of eating utensils in 2001.
KUPILKA cups, bowls, and cutlery are made of a new "biomaterial" that is actually a thermoplastic natural fiber composite material made up of 50% pine fiber (wood) and 50% plastic (polypropylene). The benefits of this new natural fiber composite compared to standard plastic are better heat retention and a higher durability thanks to the incredibly stiff structure. The benefits of natural fiber composites compared to natural wood are that it doesn't require maintenance, doesn't absorb smells and is impervious to humidity. In fact all KUPILKA products are dishwasher safe.
I'm intrigued by the finish (no pun intended) of the final composite material. It looks like a cross between a burl maple and speckled clay pottery. It has a very rustic old-world charm to it which I'm guessing is a large part of the appeal.
The actual word KUPILKA stems from the Finnish word for cup which is "Kuppi". It also refers to a term used by Finnish people decades ago, when men and women warmed up their hands with their "Kuppilka" or "little cup" by drinking hot beverages during the rough Finnish winter.
KUPILKA products are also recyclable. At the end of their life-span the products can be ground back down and cast again into new products.
I've searched extensively online for retailers that sell KUPILKA products and so far have only found them to be sold in Finland, the Netherlands and Germany. I would really like to get my hands on some of the pieces to get a better sense for how they feel and how they function, but it doesn't look very likely right now.
I'm sure that as word gets out about this interesting new material and product line, the international demand for their products will increase - at least I hope so. I encourage you to check out the rest of the KUPILKA product line via their website.
Gear Links: Eastern Mountain Sports | REI | CampSaver | Patagonia | Altrec
Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.