Essential Camping Gear: Top 5 Vacuum Insulated Steel Hydration Vessels

Steel is real.There’s nothing more important when you’re camping with the family than keeping your drinks hot or cold. We did a lot of camping this summer, including 8 nights in Bend, Oregon with a 6 month old and several 2 night trips closer to home. It’s important to be able to keep your hot beverages hot and your cold ones cold and nothing is better for that than vacuum insulated steel. So here are a few of my favorites:

5 Essential Vacuum Insulated Steel Hydration Vessels

5 Essential Vacuum Insulated Steel Hydration Vessels

Disclaimer: 1) I purchased all of these at full price with my own money. 2) I have not tested any others, so the “top 5” in the title is blatant click bait. 

Planetary Design 16oz Tumbler Mug

Planetary Design 16oz Tumbler Mug (BRUSHED STEEL)

Planetary Design 16oz Tumbler Mug (BRUSHED STEEL)

You hear it every time you claw your way off a Southwest Airlines flight, “You have a choice when you fly, and we thank you for choosing Southwest.” Likewise, you have a choice when you make coffee in the morning when you’re camping. You could do it before getting the baby up or you could make your coffee while the baby ransacks the tent and wakes everyone else up. You could also choose to pour your coffee right out on the ground cause it’s going to be forever before you get to enjoy it, or you could pour it into the Planetary Designs 16oz Tumbler Mug, take a sip and go wrangle the little psycho who lives in your old guest room comfortable in the knowledge, that it’ll still be hot when you get back to it after holding onto a dirty well-rested baby and making 90 pancakes.

This is my every day coffee mug. It keeps my coffee hot for the hour or so it takes me to finish it. But it’s not a crucible that traps in heat for days and scalds your tongue whenever you take a sip. The un-insulated plastic lid tempers the boiling hot coffee to a level you can drink without pain. The new lid design is much better than the old one and has lasted for over a year so far. The old design broke frequently, but Planetary Designs has always been happy to send out replacements.

Stanley Classic Vacuum Pint

Stanley Classic Vacuum Pint

Stanley Classic Vacuum Pint

Compromise and society have a troubled history. On one hand we need compromise in our government. The Libertines and Conservators need to get a long and work together to make America the best country in the universe. At the same time, we demand uncompromising dedication to quality from the people who make our gourmet ice cream, hand-held facebook browers and heavy duty pickup trucks. Our children deserve more than compromise. But since HD pickup trucks cost $75,000 and “America” is not a country, the one place you don’t have to compromise, is having the last sip of your cold beverage be indiscernibly the same temperature as the first with the Stanley Classic Vacuum Pint.

Primarily designed to keep your beer cold, this vacuum insulated pint will do that, and keep baby projectiles, like handfuls of pine needles, pacifiers and bodily fluids out of your beer. It works for hot beverages as well. I have tested mine with coffee and Irish coffee as well as starbux mochas, frapuchinos, mimosas, water, soda pop, juice, smoothies and milk.

ALSO IT HAS A BOTTLE OPENER ON THE LID!!!

Yeti Coolers Rambler Colster

618y4cmtuYL._SL1200_Beer, beans and spring snakes: some of life’s greatest pleasures come out of cans. And when the can in question is of the 12oz aluminum ilk, the Yeti Coolers Colster will keep it cold (or tepid if you’re not from America) while you savor the contents. Sure, you could just drink it faster, or pour it into the Stanley Classic Vacuum Pint that you already have, but when you have 30 extra dollars burning a hole in your pocket what else are you going to buy at Scheels? Nothing else. (they don’t sell beer at Scheels).

Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 32-Ounce

Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 32-Ounce

It’s hot. The Honda Pilot isn’t a particularly quiet car, but the tire hum and wind noise do nothing to muffle the screams of the baby who’s hungry, wants out after 3 hours on the road and doesn’t understand when you plead, “we’ll be there in 5 minutes I PROMISE!” You need to stay hydrated. You need to keep those electrolytes swirling and the neurons firing so you can follow the directions from the phone, navigate an illegal U-Turn and pull up your campsite reservation email. To do that you need too drink. You reach down and grab your Hydro Flask Insulated wide mouth stainless steel water bottle, the ice cubes still solid and cold inside slosh like the icy waters of the St. Lawrence river. You put it to your lips, and though it’s been a full 48 hours since you filled it with ice cubes from the fridge at home,  the arctic river of refreshing bitter cold fills your mouth like the climax of an eskimo rave. The ice dam breaks and the slush avalanche spills all over your chest and the stress of a 2-day road trip with young children, inexplicably, melts away to be soaked up by your cargo shorts.

Can a water bottle do all that you ask? Yes. It can. Ice water, some may argue, is more important than beer. These bottles will keep ice cold for a REALLY long time. On a recent 2 night camping trip, I filled our two Hydro Flasks with ice water at home and we topped off the water several times during the trip and arrived back at home with ice cold water. I was dubious when I bought these, but they really do keep iced drinks iced for a super long time. How long? Long enough.

Contigo Autospout Striker Flip Chill Stainless Steel Kids Water Bottle

Contigo Autospout Striker Flip Chill Stainless Steel Kids Water Bottle, 10-Ounce

Contigo Autospout Striker Flip Chill Stainless Steel Kids Water Bottle, 10-Ounce

Children need to stay hydrated too. And children have runny noses, crumb repositories all over their faces and they drop things, like, constantly. Let me ask you one question: Do you want you kid drooling, snotting or dropping your extremely cold beverage? I didn’t think so. So you need to shell out a bit of cash so that your kid can have a tasty beverage and stop complaining all the time about being thirsty while they rack up iTunes charges playing crossy road. The Contigo Steel Kids Water Bottles are durable and functional and fit in to all of the cup holders in a standard minivan. It keeps their beverages cold even if the bottle is lying on the side of the road 2 hours back at a rest stop, which is why you need to get all of these vacuum insulated steel vessels…

-Mike

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