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GSI Outdoors Cascadian Mug

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: GSI Outdoors Cascadian Mug cup/mug

A featherweight, rigid, 16-ounce mug with a hand-size, closed handle, perfect for backpacking.


  • Very sturdy
  • Rigid
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Full 16-ounce capacity (2 cups)
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be permanently marked with a Sharpie
  • Stays cool on the lips when filled with hot coffee
  • Large enough to use for serving a meal
  • Handle large enough for an adult hand
  • Handle is a closed loop, for use of a carabiner
  • Great for home use, for those with arthritis


  • The color choices are unfortunately limited

A mug doesn't seem like a big deal, compared to all the gear we consider for outdoor use. But if you consider that this may be in your hand at every meal, on every trip, possibly for decades, having one that is comfortable, extremely lightweight, durable, and capable of being clipped to a belt while in camp, or to gear while on the move makes this an item that should demand our attention.

In recent years, the most readily available "outdoor" mugs have inexplicably been made of stainless steel. And mugs in homeware departments have abandoned plastic, and shifted toward the heaviest possible ceramics. [I guess burning your lips on your coffee cup rim is trending.]

I initially worried that this GSI Outdoors Cascadian polypropylene mug might be as floppy as most cheap, kitchen funnels. To my surprise, it is quite rigid. Its handle is comfortable when the mug is full. My adult, male hand easily fits in four fingers, with my pinkie free to either fit into the cove of the handle bottom, or rest outside the handle to stabilize the mug. None of this itsy-bitsy, tapered coffee cup handle business.  

The Cascadian Mug is so light and comfortable in my codger hand that I have taken to using it at home all the time for a large mugful of coffee. From a thermal standpoint, a hot liquid in it remains at its initial temperature longer than with a chunk of heat ballast, like stainless or ceramic.

The capacity is exactly 16 ounces. For use in meal preparation while backpacking, I calibrated it with external marks at 1/2 cup and 1 cup, using a Sharpie. This is visible from the interior of my red mug, and the Sharpie ink permeates well enough to not rub off or wash off. Ditto for a name on the bottom or side, if there are multiples of the cup at camp.


Its exterior is slightly textured. Its interior is completely smooth, allowing it to be easily rinsed clean after use.

I just love this mug. And its relatively low cost makes it a candidate for outfitting the entire family or trekking group with the GSI Cascadian Mug.

IF only they made them in black or dark brown, I would have maxed out the star rating. Mind you there are nearly no products on the planet that warrant all 5 stars. But this one comes mighty close.


I've been backpacking for over half a century. For the last three decades, I've used a 1-cup polypropylene mug (with a closed handle) for all my outings (AT, Grand Canyon, Rockies, etc.). For the past 10 years, I searched for a replacement for this small, aging, Philmont mug, with no luck—until this mug.

My criteria for backpacking gear are 1) durability 2) multi-use 3) ease of use 4) light as possible.

I've been beating up this new mug for about a month now.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $2.65

Light, tough and cheap.


  • Lightweight
  • Large capacity
  • Tough


  • Bulky


The photo I posted of my mug doesn't match the one on Trailspace, but you get the idea. 

The GSI Cascadian mug has gone with me on every backpacking trip I've done in the last several years, and even when car-camping. It's lightweight at only 70 gms, and it holds 400 ml. Made of polypropylene, it's tough enough to hang off a carbiner on a pack, but I usually carry it in a side pocket stuffed with my spork, a lighter, and a 250 ml alcohol fuel bottle. Makes for a nice compact package.

In the morning, especially, I NEED to have a cup of coffee going while my food is cooking, so my regular drill is to boil water and make coffee in the mug, then prepare the rest of the food using the pans that come with the stove. 

One caution: I had originally assumed the volume was 250 ml, like a regular coffee mug. That made for some watery coffee, and a few Mountain House 'soups' that really should have been stews. Once I actually measured it, my meals and my coffee started tasting a lot better!

This is one of a number of GSI pieces I originally bought when shopping for camp dishes. I also purchased the GSI Infinity Bowl, which I still use for car camping, and the GSI Infinity Divided Plate. Since my usual backpacking stove includes a metal bowl, I don't use the GSI bowl for backpacking, and the divided plate sits mostly unused in my car-camping kit. 

The mug seems to be pretty much indestructible, and at the price, I wouldn't be concerned if it eventually cracked. The cup's at least three or four years old now, though, so I don't think that's going to happen. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $2.40

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Price MSRP: $2.25
Current Retail: $2.73-$4.95
Historic Range: $1.70-$45.00
Reviewers Paid: $2.40-$2.65
Weight 1.7 oz
Dimensions 4.50 in x 3.70 in x 3.00 in
Materials Polypropylene
Product Details from GSI Outdoors »

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