Best Outdoor Travel Mugs and Thermos Reviewed

Sigg Thermo Classic Bottles

SIGG Classic Thermo 0.3-Liter Water Bottle
8 Reviews
SIGG Classic Thermo 0.3-Liter Water Bottle

  • Adheres to SIGG’s sleek and modern Swiss aesthetic.
  • BPA and Phthalates Free.
  • Top quality stainless steel that is both odor and taste neutral.
  • Keep your beverage warm for up to eight hours.
  • Equipped with a tea filter.

Tis the season for steaming drinks after outdoor excursions! I’m something of a collector of thermal bottles and mugs, as evidenced by the disarray in my cupboards, but given that I use thermal containers nearly every day of the winter, I feel justified.

The new Thermo collection at SIGG includes four sizes of bottles ranging from 0.3L to 1L, and come in teal, classic white, and smoked pearl. They look as good as they sound, with a sleek minimalist design characteristic of SIGG.

I really like the tall and thin style, as I find the bottles fit better in my backcountry pack (even in the water bottle pocket) and take up less room in my soft-sided cooler.

However, both the .75L and 1L are taller than any other thermos style bottle I own, so adjustments to my packing style are sometimes necessary.

The bottles are sized at 0.3L (personal tea or coffee bottle), 0.5L (could be big enough for individual soups), 0.75L (my personal favorite for hot water to serve 3-4 people a warm drink) and 1.0L (tall and lean…ready to keep a group in hot coffee).

The two smaller sizes come equipped with a tea filter, if that’s your bag (sorry about the pun). The two larger models come with adjoining cups that serve as lids, and while I’ve certainly seen this done on many other thermal bottles, none I own are as generous in size (see photo below).

The SIGG lids are big enough to serve as a genuine bowl for that cup-o-noodle you’ve been packing across the slopes all day.

It’ll come as no surprise that SIGG Thermo bottles are made of high-end stainless steel that is both odor and taste neutral and are of course BPA and Phthalates Free.

They’re advertised as able to keep beverages hot for up to eight hours; I tried this out after sealing in boiling water at 7 am and opening it again at 1 pm. Our water was warm enough to heat our drinks and soup packets, but not piping hot (after six hours).

The Thermo performed as well as our other thermal bottles, but I did hope for a little more heat retention. More importantly to me, however: I experienced zero leakage from the Thermo while it remained packed in my pack during those six hours.

All in all, the SIGG Thermos are a solid pick for your thermal liquid needs this winter. They range in price from $24.99 to $39.99, depending on size. Grab one on the SIGG site, or find them at Eastern Mountain Sports for a little less.

Advanced Water Bottle From Under Armour and Thermos

Under Armour 24 Ounce Vacuum Insulated Bottle
400 Reviews
Under Armour 24 Ounce Vacuum Insulated Bottle

  • Locking flip top lid with on hand push button operation.
  • Durable stainless steel interior and exterior.
  • Soft touch silicone grip with ergonomic design.
  • Keeps cold for 12 hours.
  • Leak resistant; 24 ounce capacity.

When reviewing advanced water bottles in the past, the reality has pretty much never lived up to the hype. When I received this one, called Dominate, I was skeptical but I got humbled quickly.

The new collaboration between Thermos and UnderArmour has produced a water bottle that keeps cold water cold for an amazingly long time. For once, I had to admit the marketing braggadocio was for real.

There are a seemingly infinite number of water bottle manufacturers out there, and for good reason: the margins on these products would make Uncle Scrooge drool, they’re cheap to ship, and anyone who travels or works out keeps buying another one (or three) each year.

But do we really need another brand on the shelves?

Before I would have said no, but after using this new stainless steel bottle—a collaboration between Thermos and Under Armour—I have to say this one really does dominate.

It’s a double-walled, vacuum insulated bottle that does an amazing job of really insulating. After I found my ice still clinking around four hours after I put it in there, with no sweat on the outside of the bottle, I was already impressed.

So then I started subjecting the bottle to harsher conditions than the inside of an air-conditioned house to see how it would hold up. The results were surprising.

I filled the bottle up with six ice cubes and tap water and brought it with me to run errands in the car. It sat in the Florida heat inside a vehicle for two hours solid once and was still ice cold.

I sat the bottle outside in the blazing sun for three hours the next day. The water was still cold. OK, the ice melted, but that’s it.

Multiple times now, I’ve filled it up one day and it’s still been far colder than the tap water the next day, 12 hours later, just like the claims.

So all that alone is enough to set this water bottle apart from the pack. But it’s also got some nifty features you see in some other bottles, like a snap-on plastic covering that can lock into place or be released by a button pressed with one finger.

There’s a handy rubber grip on the side and the bottle is oval-shaped, which makes it easier to hold. A ring on a hinge in the back allows you to hook it only a backpack or attach something to it.

See the full line of Under Armour bottles from Thermos and get more details on the Dominate one I tried here. You can order it from Amazon. It is BPA-free, comes in two colors, and lists for close to $30. Pricey maybe, but it delivers.

CamelBak Forge Thermos

CamelBak Forge 12oz Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug
139 Reviews
CamelBak Forge 12oz Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug

  • Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulation Keeps Beverages Hot 4+ Hours.
  • Leak Proof, Self-Sealing Cap Eliminates Spills.
  • Cap is designed to be easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
  • Durable, impact-resistant construction and finger carry loop.
  • CamelBak Got Your Bak Lifetime Guarantee.

When it comes to the travel thermos, there are more than enough acceptable examples. You may be like me, and have to cull your growing collection every so often. But one thermos that’s at the front of my home pack is the CamelBak Forge.

Why keep your merely “acceptable” hot beverage containers when you can get one that doesn’t leak, is easy to clean, and keeps the hot stuff really hot?

To start with, the cap has a few features that will make you happy. Whether we’re talking about coffee, tea, or chai, you don’t want your preferred hot beverage leaving all over your car, backpack, or desk.

The leak-proof cap is self-sealing, and works even when you’re not particularly careful and toss the Forge into your car’s back seat.

If you happen to be a frequent sipper, like on those occasions when your coffee is particularly luscious or you’re just desperate for a quick wake-up, you can lock that cap open for sipping ease.

It can be hard to determine the temperature of your drink when it’s been locked away in a thermos, so the “aroma bowl” is built into the cap for a way to get a safe idea without burning your tongue.

The cap arms are also designed to flip up, so it’s easy to clean the leftovers from past beverages. Clean it in the sink or dishwasher—both work fine.

The insulation of the Forge is double walled, meaning your drink stays hotter, longer. I can’t count the times I’ve reached for my thermos on my desk, thinking I needed to make more tea, and realized that even three hours later, my existing beverage was still hot. CamelBak says that your drink will stay hot for 4.5 hours.

When you’re distracted and carrying too much, or simply have butterfingers, the impact-resistant cap helps minimize breaks if (or when) you drop the Forge.

And think about all the disposable cups you’ve used in the past year. You’re saving both money and the planet by finding one dedicated thermos for your hot drinks.

The CamelBak Forge 16-ounce thermos is available in black smoke, blue steel (think it’s a Zoolander reference?), ghost berry, olive sky and midnight lilac, all on the CamelBak site for $30.

There’s a smaller, 12-ounce size for $29. The Forge is also available at Amazon.