Open main menu

Best insulated beverage container?

Brrr. For the next six months or so, I will be trying to keep my coffee hot. I like to brew extra in the morning so I can have a cup at lunch without getting the stove out, and if I have some left for a mid-afternoon mug-up, better yet. Has anybody invented a mug or bottle that will let me burn my tongue in below-freezing weather, eight hours or more after the Trangia has been packed away? Thanks!

Geez that's tough. Hands down a stainless steel thermos but who wants to lug that around? I use my thermos in sub freezing temps during duck season and my coffee stay hot for at least 8 hrs.

What make of thermos do you have, Rob? I have a Thermos brand thermos, but it seems to give up about five hours in. It's one of the slim stylish new ones, though, 750ml capacity. I got it for ease of carry, but I'll consider a big heavy beastie, at least for day trips, if it works. I'm such a coffee addict I've been known to carry the whole stove and brew kit along on a day hike.

I have one of these and I love it.

That's one sexy-looking bit of kit, Rick. What is this 'grit-guard'? Will it keep the spruce needles out when you're bushwhacking with it? Not that I mind a little spruce in my coffee...but they can get stuck in your teeth...

Here is a pic of mine. A lil dirty from work today:

(grit guard closed)


(grit guard open)


(Bottle, notice grey button. Unless depressed with index finger nothing comes out. I can actually turn it upside down when it is full and not a leak.)


The grit guard is also removable. The old school TS stickers need to be upgraded. ;)

Aha. Well, that does look like a good design. And leakproof is an absolute requirement -- at some point, no matter what, it will end up upside down in my pack on top of the Nanopuff. I'm guessing that push-button helps keep the heat in too. Bonus if I can accidentally kick it down the beach without spilling. Thanks, Rick!

No problem. I actually have 2 of these. My wife confiscated the 1st one. I just with they made it in a 48oz size. ;)

Island I'm not sure of the brand but I know it's not an original thermos brand. It's covered in waterfowl camo though. It's a bit on the heavy side

Hands down


My whole family has used Hydro Flask water bottles for every thing from taking hot coffee to school to having ice water on long bike rides. Hydro Flasks are double walled, stainless steel, vacuum, water bottles.

The company claims and my usage seems bare out that hot beverages will stay hot for 12 hours and cold beverages will stay cold for 24 hours.  My wife works as a race timer and will fill her bottle with ice water before leaving the hotel  to go to a race. The next day when we are cleaning up more than 24 hours later there is still ice in the bottle.

second on the zojirushi...these are good little bottles.

I have the GSI Outdoors Infinity Insulated Mug. I love it! It is only about $6 and is totally worth it. Here is the description from Campsaver:

The GSI Outdoors Infinity Insulated Mug features clean & green, non-leaching 100% recyclable clear polypropylene with an insulated sleeve and Sip-It lid. Infinity is an ultra-lightweight, completely recyclable, BPA-free alternative to polycarbonate resins. With exceptional clarity, jewel-like brilliance and 25% weight savings over polycarbonate, Infinity will not absorb food odors like other plastics and will not leach plasticizers or other chemicals into either food or beverage. Infinity pieces remain strong in both hot and cold and are so light that they actually remain buoyant when filled with water. It's even dishwasher safe and actually becomes more stain-resistant with every wash. Includes mug, insulated wrap and Sip-It lid. Capacity: 17 fl. oz. Wt. 3.2 oz. Size: 3.7"x3.7"x4.4". Material: Infinity clear polypropylene

As one who also enjoys a mid afternoon coffee break during a cold weather hike I would absolutely look towards a vacuum bottle.

Ashleigh mentioned GSI and I agree, they make some good stuff. I've been happy with their Glacier Stainless Vacuum Bottle although you are looking at some weight. A bit over 1.5 lbs. I think. For me, it's worth it.

I'm also a big fan of enclosing an insulated bottle in an insulating container like this:

It's enough to keep a bottle of water from freezing, and might be enough to "boost" the insulating power of an already-insulated bottle.

I use bottle jackets like the one Seth flagged (mine happen to be outdoor research 'water bottle parkas,' but they all function about the same).  if i put steaming hot tea into a nalgene or camelbak bottle in the morning, the tea is generally still warm, though not piping hot, mid-afternoon, unless i'm in serious sub-zero weather.

my best solution to keep drinks warm, bar none, is pretty heavy for backpacking.  but, if this is stored inside your pack, shoved into the middle so the stuff in the pack provides some dead air, your hot drink should stay hot all day, even in sub-zero weather.  (if you pack it in an exterior pocket in sub-zero weather, especially -20 or colder, your hot drink is going to cool off quite a bit but won't freeze).   i like this particular vacuum-insulated bottle because it has a good buffer to keep things warm and a steel internal bottle - even if it gets cold, it won't crack.  also, if you screw the top on tight, it absolutely doesn't leak. 


Thank you all so much! I had not heard of Zojirushi, and here they are with two reputable votes. Nor had I heard of HydroFlask, and guess what (heads up, Rick!), they make a 64 ounce growler. Which is sold out right now, bummer. (I mentioned the coffee-addiction problem, right? But maybe that is a little more than I need...) Also, I had not considered using an insulating jacket on an insulated bottle, but that makes perfect sense -- after all, I wear layers to stay warm.

If anybody else has a suggestion, please chime in. Still plenty of time to get my letter to the North Pole.

Islandess said:

(heads up, Rick!), they make a 64 ounce growler. Which is sold out right now, bummer. 

Oooooh, the possibilities are endless.


I love my CHA from Innate Gear -- it literally keeps my coffee hot for a huge majority of the day.  I was once out in Bend at Mt Bachelor from 7AM - 3PM and my coffee was still warm once I got home around 4.  


I absolutely love my, "Big Sky" coffee press. Double walled hard plastic. Large handle so it's easy to grip and it keeps your coffee hot for longer then you might expect. It's not very heavy and you can just run a strap from your pack through the handle so it can air dry during your hike. Hands down the best I've owned. Downside is the available colors. Hope you like camo or have a lot of stickers because I can't find this one anywhere now. I was going to review it here but it wasn't an option.



Over the years, I have tried out and tested a lot of insulated bottles, mugs, and cozies. The vast majority are not worth looking at. Here is a photo of ones I have found to work fairly well:

The one on the left (same one leadbelly shows, I believe) is a Nissan 1 liter. The one in the middle is a Nissan 0.5 liter, and the one on the right is a Primus 1 liter. I have used all 3 in Antarctica and on Denali at temperatures down to -40F/C, as well as in the Sierra, Rockies, NE Whites, and elsewhere.The black and yellow stripe on the 0.5 liter and Primus is electrical tape I used to mark which is my personal bottle and not a group bottle. The 0.5 liter is 14-3/8 oz empty.

The graph below shows a comparison of a bunch of "insulated" containers. In each case, I heated the water to boiling (measured 100C/210-212F), preheated the bottle/mug by pouring the boiling water in, dumping it out, then refilling with boiling water, then put each in a large freezer that stayed between +/-3 or +/-4 deg F, so well below freezing. The constant line at the bottom is the 0°C/32°F, freezing line. The second line from the left (triangles) is a Nalgene 1 liter bottle in an OR Cozy. The two top lines are the two Nissan Thermoses (Thermos company imports them from Japan), with the top one (diamonds) being the 1 liter and second (kind of an asterisk) the 0.5 liter. Note that the cozy cools to 100°F in about 5 hours (still fairly warm to drink), the 0.5 liter Nissan in about 20 hours, and the 1 liter Nissan is still 110°F (hot to the mouth) at 26 hours. Each container remained closed and full except when opening the top to measure the temperature with an electronic thermometer that responds fast. If you are continually opening the container and pouring your drink out, you do lose heat more rapidly, of course. And, if the outside temperature is below the roughly 0°F of the freezer, the liquid's temperature will also drop more rapidly.


I don't have the Primus bottle's curve, but that was what we were using during the 6 days in 2010 that we sat in the tent at Vinson High Camp waiting out the storm. My impression is that it lies slightly below the 0.5 liter Nissan.

As I have gathered the curves, the thing that surprised me was how many of the supposedly great insulated bottles and mugs cooled so rapidly. The one that cooled so rapidly (faster than a Nalgene in a cozy) was a famous brand. Maybe I got a defective one, so I won't name it.

I have checked a number of insulated mugs as well, most of which were given out at conventions with company logos (not the mug manufacturer's logo, so I don't know who really made them). In almost all cases, within a short time ( 5-10 minutes) of filling them with boiling hot tea or cocoa, they were cool enough to drink comfortably, but were cold before I finished the 10 ounces or so of "hot" drink. I do have one inexpensive plastic mug, made by Alladin, that keeps that morning cocoa almost too warm when you are trying to get a rapid start on a 0°F day. I have had it for years, but haven't seen one like it for at least 10 years.

Bill, this is marvelous. It's like asking Santa for a blue poly tarp and finding a Hilleberg under the tree. If you ever find yourself in northern Newfoundland, the mooseburger's on me.

Ive used a stanley construction grade thermos for twenty years. I got it from some promotion stanley was doing with contractors. Its olive drab green and indestructable. Ive dropped it three stories off scaffolding and tossed it in my truck box thousands of times. its heavy as a brick but absolutely dependable and keeps drinks hot well into the second day.

Bill, did you test the heavy duty Stanley thermos in your test as mentioned by hotdogman?

Bill is correct - the Nissan 1 liter is what i use to keep my tea warm.  my anecdotal experience agrees with his chart. 

A Thermos flip-top vacuum bottle has been my daily companion on outdoor outings of all kinds for probably ten years now. The bigger size is only 16 oz, but that's often just right since the second half liter in a full size bottle often gets cold before I get around to drinking it, and the flip-top bottle is smaller and  lighter. It seals completely when closed, so you can throw it in your pack upside-down and it won't leak, and there is a safety latch to prevent accidental opening. The one-handed operation can't be beat, especially in snow -- no fooling around looking for a place to put the bottle down or having your coffee get cold in an open cup, and once you undo the safety latch you can open, sip, and close one-handed with mittens or gloves on, all while holding your sandwich together with your other hand. I think the insulating power is almost as good as a standard Nissan, maybe a little more heat loss through the top. A full thermos prepared in early morning is usually still plenty hot at lunchtime on a cold day.

I recently reviewed an inferior REI rip-off of this idea, but the review also includes  some notes on the Thermos/Nissan model. Here it is.


alan said:

Bill, did you test the heavy duty Stanley thermos in your test as mentioned by hotdogman?

 Yes and no. Barb's parents had the big Stanley (bought in the 1940s, I believe), which she inherited when her father passed on and her mother had no real use for it. So we did use it. However, it is far too heavy for backpacking or even day hikes. So I never had any reason to try the zero degree test. I'm not sure where it is now, or even if we still have it. I vaguely recall it had a glass liner, which would make it far too fragile for our activities. The Nissans and the Primus are what we mostly use - right capacity, much lighter, and they keep hot drinks hot for a long time. So they meet our requirements much better.

I had a big Stanley wide mouth for a long time -- took it to NZ with me and ended up shipping it home when I decided to extend my travels because it was just too big and heavy to take on the road. But a couple years later I filled it up with a batch of homemade Mint Milano ice cream and took it on a canoe trip on Lake Umbagog with my wife-to-be. This was very early in our courtship and we were both so starry-eyed that we forgot all eating utensils. So somewhere in my slide collection there is a picture of my wife eating ice cream out of a thermos with chopsticks hewed from a couple of not-very-straight birch twigs, with my dog at the time, a big standard poodle named Hugo, watching attentively.

And now, for something COMPLETELY different, of course.

Since I count ounces (okay, well, tenths), I use bubble wrap. I don't mind if y'all laugh. 'Cause I'll be smiling on the uphill. The kind made out of mylar is best. The more layers, the hotter things stay, and it weighs nothing except the cheap and light reused bottled water bottle, of whatever size.

I'd love to see Bill test that for all of us, and let us know the results! Let us know how many layers you used to make it. Puleeeze? We all love your graph.

I just use clear packaging tape to make them. Mostly I just make cozies for my morning hot drink (good for freeze-dried dinners too) which I prepare in an aluminum soda can, and I have not tried taking a hot drink out for the day to see how long it lasts. It's definitely worth a try, considering the weight and price.

I got my mylar bubble wrap as a leftover from a construction job. You can buy it at Lowe's or Home Depot in the insulation aisle, but it's a large amount. Bubble wrap envelopes work okay but don't have the reflective material, and don't look as spiffy.

" I like to brew extra in the morning so I can have a cup at lunch without getting the stove out" To do that in weather at 40f or below you need a vacuum flask , insulated bottles will not do it. To verify , just fill an insulated container and put that in your fridge and check after 4 or 5 hours. (the average fridge temperature is 40 F) For colder weather simulation use your freezer. That should be at 0 F. Most of the heat is of course lost when opening the flask and a wide mouth will lose temp faster than a narrow one. (Yes I have made my own " insulated " containers. Fair weather stuff only...) Hydro Flask are a bit lighter than Thermos branded ones.

Franco said:

... Hydro Flask are a bit lighter than Thermos branded ones.


The HydroFlask is the 4th curve from the left in the diagram in my post above. The particular model has the inner and outer shells exposed at the mouth where they are joined together. There is a newer version that has a cap that covers this area, which leaks a lot of heat. I haven't tested that model yet, though I have tested another version of smaller capacity.

The Stanley mug that I posted is a vacuum mug.... I suppose that is why it is around $30(retail.)

Makes sense now. 

Speaking of which, that reminds me I need to get a big ol' green can for work/coffee.

I see they offer it in stainless now

Of course there are differences within the theme but nothing so far can insulate as well as a vacuum. I have a mate that has done a lot of walking in -20 to -40f temps , he has tried the "insulated" types but in the end if at those temps you want something hot after a few hours it has to be from a vacuum flask of some sort. A few years ago he purchased one branded by REI in Anchorage (some of his mates there recommended the type) and that works. It is probably around 750ml, could be 1 L.  I have not seen comparison between the SS and the glass type but I remember braking one or two of the glass type as a kid/teenager...

It took me a while to find an insulated hot beverage cup that would hold a Venti size drink, keep it warm all day and have a non-spill lid/design.  Found this one in the organic market when visiting my parents in Northern CA...

MoJoeMo by Highwave

On Amazon @ $19.69 with free shipping (over $25).  4.5 star rated with 99 reviews.

Have owned it for over two years now and the only drawback has been that it doesn't fit in an standard cup holder in the car/boat/airplane. (Also, made in China as another drawback).

Also have dropped the cup numerous times in the parking lot and only once have I broken the lid.  Replacement lids are easy to re-order from the company... when talking "lids" I'm not talking about the plastic cover that came with the cup.  Throw that away.  I'm talking about the easy push valve lid to allow the liquids to flow out into the sipping area of the lid. 

Another advantage is the rubber ring around the base that keeps the cup from sliding around whether you're on a boat or in a car.  It also saves the stainless steel cup from denting when you drop it in parking lots.

Bought other travel cups after the MoJoeMo but always go back to this cup...

This is the one my mate uses (I asked...) :

no idea who makes that but it works.

That MoJoeMo is another vacuum flask.

I suspect that the shape (wide for the height) helps because (in theory) the best shape would be a sphere.

I don't appreciate the vacuum bottles as I like the convenience of being able to sip without having to pour into a cup... 

The hotter the liquid initially is , the hotter it will remain.

Having boiling hot coffee inside a vacuum flask would still be too hot to drink directly several hours after, therefore for some uses (in the case of my friend it is below -20f) transferring the hot coffee/soup into a separate cup is necessary. As usual it depends on how you use your gear.

May 16, 2022
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply