Best Hiking Thermoses: Drink Hot Coffee in the Hills
Have a hot drink on hand wherever you are with our best thermoses for hiking
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BY Trey Williams / LAST UPDATED ON August 13, 2020
Thermos bottles are the ideal choice if you want a hot beverage while hiking or when you’re on a road trip. They also offer a cost-effective and eco-friendly way of getting your caffeine fix at work. A quality vacuum flask will save you from expensive coffee shops and reduce your disposable plastic usage. They come in various sizes and styles. Discover our top thermos flasks for hiking below.
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Benefits of Hiking Thermoses
- Stay hydrated. When you're hiking or camping overnight, it's essential that you drink the right amount of fluids. A high-quality hiking thermos will ensure that you're getting all the liquids you need.
- Keep beverages hot and cold. Nothing tastes as good as a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate when it's chilly outside. And when you're dripping in sweat after a long day on the trail, ice-cold water is particularly refreshing. Hiking thermoses are designed to maintain the temperature of the liquids inside.
- Enjoy hot soup or chili. Hiking thermoses aren't just for beverages. You can also use them to keep soup and other meals warm. It's convenient to have a warm meal ready when you stop for a lunch break on the trail.
Types of Hiking Thermoses
Most modern thermoses are made of stainless steel. They are very durable, insulating, and are easy to clean. Another benefit is that they don't retain odors or tastes. Stainless steel thermoses are BPA-free, which means they are designed so chemicals do not penetrate the liquid inside. One downside with stainless steel is that it dents easier than plastic.
Thermos has been around since 1904. The company's name is derived from the Greek word "thérmē," which means "heat." Thermos, based in Schaumburg, Illinois, has more than 100 years of experience making bottles, food jars, coolers, and more for adventurers as well as everyday people. We recommend the Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Compact Bottle.
Inventor William Stanley Jr. merged vacuum insulation with steel in 1913 to create the all-steel vacuum bottle that's still popular today. The company designs a variety of food and beverage-related gear, such as camping cookware, coolers, growlers, and flasks. One top product is the Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug.
Based in Chico, California, Klean Kanteen is a family- and employee-owned company that produces bottles made from 18/8, food-grade stainless steel that is eco-friendly. One of its popular products is the Klean Kanteen Wide Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Mug.
The Japanese company Zojirushi made its first glass-lined vacuum bottle in 1918. It's evolved into a leading manufacturer of household goods, including thermal carafes and vacuum-insulated mugs and bottles, such as the Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG Stainless Steel Mug.
Hiking Thermos Pricing
- $20-$30: You can find a good stainless steel hiking thermos in this price range. They range in size, and some are as small as 12 ounces while others are as big as 68 ounces. Typically, larger-capacity thermoses are slightly more expensive.
Hiking thermoses usually have either foam or vacuum insulation. The latter is better because it features a double-wall construction that forms a gap/vacuum between the bottle's exterior shell and the liquid inside. Bottles with vacuum insulation better maintain the temperature of the beverage, whether it's hot or cold.
If you plan on using your bottle for hiking and camping, it needs to withstand a little bit of abuse. If you drop the bottle and it gets dented, that shouldn't affect its thermo-regulation ability. Some of the most durable thermoses are made of stainless steel. Also look for solid lids, because those with several pieces are more prone to fail over time.
A bottle that is leak-proof is also essential because you don't want the contents to spill inside your backpack. Keep in mind that some brands are only leak-proof if they're in an upright position such as in a car cup holder. Also, some caps are not designed as effectively as others and may be more prone to leaking.
Depending on your activity, you may need a smaller or larger hiking thermos. You may want a lightweight thermos if you're planning a long hike, but it should have a high enough capacity to accommodate your needs. Also, make sure that you have a large enough bottle if you plan on sharing your liquids with another person.
- Added Features: If the bottle comes with a lid that doubles as a cup, you don't have to carry an extra cup. Also look for brands with a wide mouth because it's easier to drink and pour from these types of bottles. In addition, some hiking bottles have carry handles, while others have pour holes that allow you to access the contents inside without unscrewing the lid.
Best Hiking Thermos Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Thermos flasks come in a wide range of sizes, so it’s good to work out what you really need. If it’s too big, you risk wastage. If it’s too small, it might leave you short.
- Similarly, think about how long you need to keep things warm. Beverage bottles with greater heat retention properties are often the more expensive ones on the market.
- Choose a thermos flask with a lid that can double as a travel mug if you’re going to be outdoors and don’t want to carry unnecessary extras.
Q: How does a vacuum flask work?
A: A vacuum flask is constructed with an internal double wall of stainless steel or glass to prevent heat transfer. Because heat can’t get in or out past these layers, the temperature inside doesn’t change, and the liquid stays either piping hot or ice cold.
Q: Can I put my thermos flask in the dishwasher?
A: Most thermos flasks are dishwasher-safe on the top rack, but manufacturers often recommend hand-cleaning to protect the exterior finish. Never use bleach to clean a flask.
Q: Can I use my vacuum flask to keep food warm?
A: There’s no reason why you can’t use your thermos as a food flask as long as the lid is wide enough to accommodate whatever you’re having for lunch. You can also buy vacuum insulated food jars specifically designed for this purpose.
Our pick for the top hiking thermos is the Stanley Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug. You can operate it with one hand, and it keeps your beverages hot or cold for hours.
The Fijoo Stainless Steel Thermos Bottle is our top pick for value.