And the saga continues.. I have been on a life long, well actually a quest over the past year to find the perfect way to keep my coffee, one of the most important beverages I drink throughout the day, warm. Now odds are if you are reading this article you drink coffee too.. Sit back, get comfortable and get ready to find out the best ways to keep your coffee warm in the backcountry.
Stanley One Handed Vacuum Mug
Now you might be thinking to yourself that these mugs look familiar, perhaps their the sort of thing your grandfather would use, or maybe you have spent time on a construction job site, if so you will recognize this mug. Stanley a brand that has been around since 1913 is the go to choose for people working outdoors that still need a good fix of coffee from time to time.
I tested the One Handed Vacuum Mug in both the 16 and 20 ounce sizes, now these are not the most practical for carrying into the backcountry as they are a little larger and heavier then the other mugs listed in this story, however it does make up for that by becoming the only mug I use when working my night job. If you work in a truck, or out of an office and need a mug that you can easily pickup and go the One Handed Vacuum Mug from Stanley is a solid choice. Only problem I ever had with this thing is from time to time the vacuum suction is so strong it can be a royal pain in the ass to remove the cap, that or I just need to start lifting weights.. However all kidding aside, having a strong vacuum seal on a coffee mug that can keep your beverages warm for up to 7 hours is not a bad thing at all. Available for $27.99 at Cabelas
Hydro Flask Coffee & Tea
One of the more practical ways for bringing hot beverages into the backcountry is via a Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Coffee & Tea Mug. The 18 ounces size can easily fit inside your backpack, fits in a every cup holder it has met and can keep beverages warm for hours on end.
My only problem with this amazing mug is the stupid flip top opening. Having a flip top may be practical and fast way to get to your coffee, however if the lid isn’t fully locked into place your SOL and your coffee will happily coat the inside of your backpack, the floor of your truck etc etc.. If the Hydro Flask team can change the design a little bit this will once again be my go to mug for backcountry adventures.. Available for $24.95 at REI
Figured I would save the best for last, ahh the Camelbak Forge! I have been putting this mug through the paces, taking it with me across the country and back a few times, up many a mountain tops and it is the clear winner when it comes to taking hot beverages into the backcountry and here’s why. First of all the Camelbak Forge is essentially spill proof thanks to a super fun trigger activated coffee dispenser. Um that actually sounds complicated however it’s a one of the first travel mug’s with a “self-sealing cap and lock-open button combination” and can keep beverages warm for up to 6 hours.
*Warning ~ When you hit the trigger for the first time each day a steam of smoke billows out of the top. So if your tired, and not paying attention, you just may find yourself waking up really fast without ever taking a sip of coffee. That being said, you know the vacuum insulation is truly working on this mug every time you push the trigger. Available for $29.95 at Backcountry.com
Keep in mind when the brands mention how long these mugs can keep coffee warm the test are usually in a controlled environment, ie an office. When I tested these and where you will end up using them come with a totally different set of challenges, temperatures and conditions. What I have found is that none of the mugs listed above actually keep coffee piping hot for the time the mentioned especially here in the Tetons, in mid winter above 10,000 feet. However thats needless to say, my advise though to maximize these mugs is a simple trick. Run some warm water in your mug before adding in your coffee, your welcome and be sure to support these brands. They are doing it right!