Hannah MitchellBASE Digital Writer Hannah is a Lake District-based journalist and all-round outdoor lass with a particular fondness for rock faces.
What I’m Looking For
Ok, chilly season really is upon us now. I’ve reluctantly made the transition from cragging to gym climbing, and big mountain routes to bouldering. And so, to make cold, wet and windy days a bit more bearable, I like to have a nice, hot drink close at hand. However, at the risk of running out of cupboard space, I like a bottle that can handle cold as well as hot.
I want something I can drink out of on the move and in the van without risking a scalding, that fits in my rucksack (ideally the side pocket for optimum accessibility), is easy to carry, easy to clean, durable and of course, keeps things hot or cold for a good few hours – or as long as I can stay outside!
Half-day hikes and local bouldering are what keep me going on the short, dark days of Lake District autumn and winter. Well, a bit of bouldering, a lot of huddling on a crash pad under a pile of down jackets. The bottles in this lineup have had their mettle throughly tested – they’ve been lugged around by their lids, dropped and bashed, stashed in rucksacks and left (unknowingly) to roll around the back of my van for days on end.
I also conducted an admittedly unscientific experiment where I filled each bottle with an amount of liquid relative to each of their capacities, both hot and cold, and manually tested the temperatures at hourly intervals in what I like to call the sip test (when I say manually tested, I mean I drank tea).
STANLEY Go Quick Flip
Cold drinks – but it puts up a good fight in keeping your cuppa warm too.
To be totally fair to the Go Quick Flip, it isn’t specifically sold as a bottle for HOT drinks – which is why it’s impressive that it held its own so well in my test. The temperature began to drop only after 6 hours, and was still warm after 7. Cold drinks stay nicely chilled for 12+ hours and I have no doubt that iced drinks would fair even better (Stanley promises a whopping 40 hours iced).
Something about the drinking spout doesn’t feel quite right with a hot drink, but again it isn’t specifically designed for this purpose. The lid IS very quick, smooth-hinging and convenient, however I found that when drinking at full-tilt, it had a tendency to drop back and hit my nose! The square metal handle also wasn’t particularly comfortable when the bottle was full but it’s a convenient feature nonetheless. Manually cleaning the lid requires a little more effort than some of the others in the lineup, but it is dishwasher safe. Cleaned properly, the lid doesn’t seem to retain flavours, and the bottle itself only did so after I accidentally left a teabag inside for a few days.
The locking closure on the flip lid is an added reassurance to Stanley’s packable, leak-proof claims, which so far have proven true. In typical Stanley style, it’s tough as old boots with a utilitarian aesthetic and has taken numerous knocks with only some light scratches to the powder-coating.
You’d certainly still have a palatable brew after eight hours with this one
LifeVenture makes some pretty big claims about this bottle – 24 hours cold and 12 hours hot is quite substantial! The Tropical Insulated Bottle performed well with cold drinks in my unscientific experiment, just not quite as well in the hot test. You’d still have a palatable brew after eight hours with this one, but by the 10-hour mark it was definitely more warm than hot, and lukewarm by 12. However, for one of the lower-budget options in the lineup, that’s a pretty impressive performance in my opinion.
My main gripe with this bottle is that despite it being bottom-heavy, the slight curve at the base means it’s quite unstable and very easy to knock over, which isn’t ideal when you’re perched on a hill for a picnic. It doesn’t have a handle and the smooth coating means it feels rather droppable too, so it’s lucky that the patterned coating is pretty scratch-resistant.
The LifeVenture bottle is available in three travel-inspired patterns and has a sleek shape that fits into more generously sized rucksack side pockets and it proved very much leak-proof during a half-day ramble along the river. With a 750ml capacity, it carries an adequate amount for a mini-adventure. Although fairly straightforward to clean, it isn’t dishwasher-safe and the threads inside the screw cap do need a scrub to prevent coffee build-up and taste retention.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ll have spotted a Rambler in the wild – they’re difficult to miss in YETI’s bold signature colours. Having tested out one of YETI’s impressively rugged Tundra 35 cooler earlier this year, I was keen to see how their bottles measured up too.
The Rambler is a beautiful and burly bit of kit with some weight to it – 700g empty to be precise, and the bottle size means is not cup holder or bag pocket compatible. Not ideal for lightweight hiking, but for the purposes tested it’s impressively tough and entirely leak-proof (even after two hours of accidentally rolling around in the back of my van, it had thankfully, not deposited its contents onto my kit).
YETI don’t make any big claims about temperature timings, and I kind of like that. They direct you to their FAQ pages for guidance on how to optimise the hot/cold retention of your beverage, acknowledging that there are variables at play. The Rambler handled hot and cold predictably well, particularly excelling at chilled drinks. I found my herbal tea kept nicely hot for around 7 hours, verging into warm after that.
The removable Chug Cap makes for a very comfortable drinking experience without slopping it down your front while you’re driving. This cap is interchangeable with others in YETI’s range, and is removable to allow for adding ice to your drink. Price-wise, it’s what you’d expect from YETI. Not cheap, but made to last.
The Rambler is dishwasher-safe and fairly easy to clean by hand, you can remove the rubber gaskets from the lid for a really thorough clean and to eliminate flavour retention. After a few weeks of typically rough testing, the powder-coat finish has a scattering of scratches on it – but who doesn’t like their gear to look a little bit loved anyway?
Smaller capacity might not be suitable for long hikes
Primus Klunken bottles are a collaboration with sister brand Fjällräven, designed in colourways that match their iconic Kånken backpack and fit neatly into its side pockets. The Klunken (which is derived from the Swedish verb klunka, which means glug!) is available in 0.5L double-walled and a 0.7L single-walled versions, I tested the 0.5L version.
Firstly, the colours are lush. The Klunken has a very Scandinavian aesthetic with cork elements on the lid and the cool (but also very tough) webbing handle. The powder coating and narrow profile combine to make this really grippy and grabbable, and it fits neatly into backpack side pockets. Given its compact size, cup holder compatibility and relatively narrow neck, the Klunken would be an excellent car journey companion, except for the fact that the lid has to be entirely removed in order to drink, so it’s more of a two-handed procedure. You’ll also want to make sure the lid is thoroughly screwed back on to prevent leaks.
It’s worth noting that the Klunken 0.5L is significantly smaller in capacity compared to others in this lineup. It’s not an all-dayer or for sharing around your hiking companions, but for a quick solo mission in the hills it’s actually super-convenient to have a smaller bottle for my hot drink, and after a good 5 hours of hiking my coffee is still hot. Despite the Klunken keeping things cold nicely too (up to 10 hours in my experience), I personally wouldn’t use this as my main water bottle unless I was guaranteed a refill source en route – it simply isn’t big enough.
You do need to give the lip of the bottle a good scrub to get rid of any coffee residue when switching from hot to cold, but the bottle itself The Klunken would certainly give the YETI Rambler a run for its money in a beauty contest, but it’s also surprisingly tough. After a day of rolling around amongst the rocks (the bottle, not me) it’s still scratch-free.
for a quick solo mission in the hills it’s actually super-convenient to have a smaller bottle
Chunky to hold without a handle (but handle caps are available!)
Dometic launched their line of modular outdoor drinkware earlier this year, including the THRM. It’s a robust-feeling bottle with a band of powder-coating that is grippy, but the chunkiness of the 900ml model its a tad tricky to hold without a handle on the lid. The THRM however, has an answer for everything, with five additional caps that include the handled CAPHA cap. There’s also one that doubles as an espresso cup, a 360˚ drinking cap, a standard stainless steel top and a sport cap. Each additional cap will set you back £10, and different sized bottles come with different caps as standard. I tried out both the sport and 360˚caps, the latter felt more appropriate for hot drinks with its click-button opening, and the sport cap for cold.
Modular caps help to solve the cupboard space issue I mentioned at the beginning if you’re particularly averse to a lingering hint of coffee on the cap when you switch to water – I should mention that I didn’t experience any taste transference within the bottle itself. That said, £10 a cap is pretty steep and you get what you’re given in the first place depending on the capacity of the bottle you buy. Perhaps Dometic could consider offering a choice of cap in the first instance?
an impressive performance from a brand with a history of industry-leading insulation and refrigeration
The 360˚ lid is easy to use and works well with hot drinks, and has a nice, splash-free pour into camping mugs if you happen to be sharing. I liked the sport cap less, it feels a little fiddly to undo, the plastic hinge on the lid seemed like it might snap quite easily and the narrow spout meant I couldn’t get a decent glug, more of a delicate sip. The 900ml capacity lasted me a decent half day walking and whilst it didn’t fit in my rucksack side pocket, it also didn’t saturate my extra layers when stored in the main compartment.
Dometic promise 24 hours cold and 12 hours hot with the THRM but as with the LifeVenture bottle, I would say the hot claims are a little bit ambitious. 9 hours would be my personal limit for an enjoyable cuppa out of the THRM, by 12 things were decidedly lukewarm. With cold, 24 hours would yield a refreshingly cool but not cold drink – no doubt the addition of ice would keep things considerably chillier. Still, an impressive performance from a brand with a history of industry-leading insulation and refrigeration. Oh, and the THRM is available in multiple gorgeous colour options that give YETI’s ranges a run for their money.
It’s important to remember when choosing an insulated bottle that there are a lot of variables at play when keeping your cuppa warm or your water ice cold, and performance is very much subjective to purpose.
If you want to know more about the development of insulation, walling and vacuum sealing, this article provides an in-depth explanation.
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