Coffee thermoses are one of the most important pieces of gear you can have in your pack if you enjoy a good cup o’ joe in the morning.
While these thermoses might not seem like highly sophisticated pieces of gear, choosing the wrong one can leave you with a cold, stale cup of coffee to slurp down at your campsite.
We understand how important it is to have a quality cup of coffee in the outdoors. So, we’ve reviewed 5 of the best models on the market today. Plus, we’ve even provided some need-to-know information about coffee thermoses to help you find the right one for your needs.
Although most mugs don’t quite compare with a more traditional coffee thermos, YETI’s Rambler 14oz Mug is a highly insulated and compact option for outdoor adventure.
Featuring an extra-tough 18/8 kitchen-grade stainless steel construction, this thermos is over-engineered for durability on the trail. It also has a dishwasher-safe DuraCoat finish, which allows the mug to look fresh and new even after dozens of trips into the mountains.
When it comes to insulation, YETI built this mug with a double-wall design and a radiant heat barrier. This construction, plus the included vacuum-sealed lid allows the mug to keep coffee hot for hours at a time.
As a result, the Rambler 14oz Mug is one of the few options on the market that combine the functionality and portability of a mug with the insulation value of a large, bulky thermos. Its sturdy handle and sipping lid also make it easier to enjoy your coffee instead of spilling it down your shit in camp.
- Super durable 18/8 kitchen-grade stainless steel build
- DuraCoat finish for ruggedness
- Dishwasher safe
- Vacuum-sealed sipping lid
- Double walled insulation design
- Lightweight and portable
- Expensive for a mug
Built specifically with coffee lovers in mind, the Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask is a go-to option for java consumption on the trail.
It’s constructed out of Hydro Flask’s 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel for durability. Additionally, it boasts a soft-to-the-touch exterior that’s dishwasher safe for use on the top rock.
For ease of use, the company designed this flask to be just the right size to fit under most home and commercial coffee brewing systems. That means you can brew your coffee directly into the flask for added efficiency and less clean-up.
As far as insulation goes, the Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask is made with Tempshield and double wall vacuum technology that can keep your drink hot for hours. It also comes with a Flex Sip lid that’s easy to twist open for more convenient coffee consumption.
- Top rack dishwasher safe
- Tempshield double wall vacuum insulation
- Fits under most coffee machines
- Flex Sip Lid is easy to use and drink out of
- Extra-durable pro-grade stainless steel
- Relatively small volume
A classic choice, the Thermos Stainless King is a highly popular option for storing copious amounts of coffee.
With a 40oz capacity, this thermos can carry enough coffee for a small group, or one particularly enthusiastic coffee drinker. It features a lid that does double duty as an insulated serving cup for easier coffee sipping on the go.
The entire thermos is made from durable stainless steel. This double wall stainless steel design and Thermos’ proprietary vacuum insulation provides the container with maximum temperature retention to keep your coffee hot.
Plus, the Stainless King is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning at the end of your trip. Although it’s quite a large and bulky thermos, it also comes with a nifty handle for more convenient transport.
- Burly stainless steel design
- Comes with an insulated serving cup lid
- Double wall vacuum insulation for heat retention
- Dishwasher safe
- Large carrying capacity
- Sizable handle for easier transport
- Too bulky for use while backpacking
- Not great for drinking directly from the thermos
Decidedly lightweight, the GSI Outdoors Microlite 500 is a camping coffee solution for backcountry travelers.
Boasting a sleek design and a fully stainless steel body, this thermos is rugged enough for backpacking trips. Its vacuum-insulation allows it to keep coffee hot for up to 10 hours, despite having thin, yet durable 2mm walls for weight savings.
Additionally, thanks to the thermos’ slim construction, it fits comfortably inside the cup holder of most vehicles.
Meanwhile, the lid of the Microlite 500 features a flip-top locking design. This allows you to easily sip from the thermos as you hike. Once you place the thermos back in your pack, the locking top provides peace of mind that your coffee won’t spill all over your gear.
- Very lightweight
- Thin, yet durable stainless steel walls
- Great weight to volume ratio
- No-spill, locking flip-style lid
- Fits in most cup holders
- Not dishwasher safe
Sleek and stylish, the Thermos Vacuum Sealed Drink Bottle is an all-around performer for coffee consumption in the mountains and at home.
It features Thermos’ proprietary vacuum insulation technology. This technology provides up to 12 hours of heat retention and 24 hours of cold retention for added versatility.
Plus, this flask comes with a locking, leak-proof lid that can be operated with a one-hand push button. The integrated Smooth Flow design also helps provide a steady flow of coffee without dribbling down your shirt.
One of the coolest features of this thermos is its removable tea infuser. For campers that like coffee and tea, the Thermos Vacuum Sealed Drink Bottle’s added features make it easy to stay caffeinated throughout the day.
- Locking, leak-proof lid
- One-handed push button operation
- Removable tea infuser
- Up to 12 hours of heat retention
- Smooth flow design for an improved drinking experience
- Fairly heavy
How to choose a coffee thermos for the outdoors
There are a whole lot of coffee thermoses out there, so it’s important that you know what to look for as you shop. Here are some key features to keep in mind before you buy.
The overall volume of a thermos has a direct impact on how much coffee you can carry around. Depending on your individual needs, you may find that a 10oz thermos is more than sufficient for your morning cup o’ joe.
For folks who like to carry coffee around throughout the day, a 12oz-14oz option might be more suitable. Finally, when carrying coffee for a large group, a thermos with a 40oz or greater capacity is often the best choice.
These days, the vast majority of coffee thermoses come with double wall vacuum insulation. In fact, if a thermos doesn’t have vacuum insulation, it’s probably not worth your money.
Vacuum insulation prevents heat loss through the 4 primary methods of heat transfer: evaporation, convection, conduction, and radiation.
With a vacuum insulated thermos, the sealed lid stops heat loss through evaporation and convection. Meanwhile, the inner layers and vacuum insulation prevent heat loss through radiation and conduction.
In the end, you have a bottle that’s much better prepared to keep your coffee piping hot than your standard water bottle. While you certainly could use a non-vacuum insulated thermos to save some money and weight, it’s never going to perform as well as a vacuum-insulated option.
Size & Weight
Coffee thermoses can be surprisingly heavy, even when they’re not filled with coffee. This can be problematic for backpackers and ultralight hikers who often look to cut weight whenever possible.
In these situations, choosing an ultralight option, like the GSI Outdoors Microlite 500, or a more compact option, such as the YETI Rambler 14oz Mug, is often a good choice. Alternatively, if your plans are more frontcountry-oriented, a larger, bulkier option with a greater carrying capacity might be better.
The lid of a thermos is perhaps the biggest single factor that affects your coffee drinking experience. A poorly designed lid can make sipping coffee a messy affair, while a quality lid can help you enjoy your drink.
Every thermos has a slightly different lid. But, in general, options that have a small sipping port are often more convenient when compared to a single, large opening.
It’s also worth investing in a thermos with a locking lid, which can help prevent your coffee from spilling all over your pack and staining your gear.
A coffee thermos is a must for any java-loving outdoor adventurer. There are plenty of great options out there, so the trick is finding the one that’s precisely the right size, weight, and style for your needs.
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