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An Important Decision... The Mug.

An Important Decision... The Mug.

Coffee. It's a very important aspect of our adventures. We don't go a day, or even a few hours, without some coffee. This applies when we wake up in our tent and adjust our groggy eyes to the beautiful scenes around us. The first thought may be "Ooh, pretty"... the next one is... "Umm, coffee?!". You can likely imagine by now that we don't take the coffee time lightly. We don't mess around when it comes to coffee. We've had a few options for mugs and brewing and styles, etc. We'll blog about a few of these topics over time, but for now... we want the perfect mug. Here's what we were on the search for:

  • Insulation - keep that coffee hot, even in the cold
  • Lid - keep the bugs out, keep the coffee in
  • Handle - something easy to hang on to, and also attachable to our packs
  • Size - big enough, but not huge, ideally 12-14 ounces
  • Design - something cool, fun to look at, fun to drink out of!

We'll run through some of the mugs that we have tried out here, in short detail... and then end with "the mug". (Hint: We found the one!)


Our first try... the classic camp mug. Cheap, portable, durable, and fun. But... the coffee will burn your hands, and be cold before you know it. It's a thin mug, and doesn't offer insulation. That makes it quite lightweight, so it's a trade off - just not one we were willing to make. A pair of them doubles as a bear bell on the outside of a pack, clanging all the way down the trail! 


This mug came in one of our very first Cairn boxes long ago. It's a large, well insulated mug. It looks a bit like a beer barrel or keg, and definitely holds the prize for being unique. This one is great to drink out of, sure to turn heads, though a tad on the heavy side. We can attest to the usefulness of this mug for beer. It holds a beer, just the right size, and keeps it cold! The weight isn't great for backpacking, but for fun, this mug tends to go car camping with us!


The next attempt was an upgrade to insulated, in the form of a plastic "recycled" mug from REI. This was a great lightweight option, with a lid, and good capacity. The insulation just couldn't keep up with cold mornings. The hunt continued...


GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug

The next option was a backpacking choice. This mug is super lightweight, consisting of a plastic cup and an insulated slip-on cover with a fabric handle. The lid has a little flip up cover for the sipping hole, that closes securely. This mug is easy to attach to a backpack, and not clanky on the carabiner. But again... our coffee got cold too quickly and we began feeling like Goldilocks with our hot and cold issues. 


REI Co-op National Park Service Centennial Mug

This limited release mug from REI is a winner for the most part. We were hoping to get the new mugs that Mountain Standard released around Christmas, but they were out of stock, and this mug popped up at our local REI. Support the parks, and have a cool mug? Sure! It's insulated, with a lid, and does the job almost perfectly. It's on the small side (10 ounces), but it does a great job of keeping the coffee hot. It fits in well in an outdoors environment, and has the added benefit of supporting the Parks.


Hydro Flask Coffee and Tea Mug

This mug is our everyday carry mug, keeping our coffee hot for our commutes and mornings at work. They keep coffee hot for hours and hold a large amount (16 ounces). They are definitely heavy, so perhaps not ideal for backpacking, but they are definitely a top pick for us! In the photo, I'm pouring coffee that we brewed at camp, from a paper cup into the mug. I poured the coffee back and forth between the two, trying to get it to cool down so we could drink it. A rare problem with a mug - it kept the coffee too hot! This is the mug we grab for roadtrips and every morning on the way to work!


Stanley Mountain Vacuum Switchback Mug

We got this cool mug in our Cairn box subscription. Similar to the Hydroflask, it's more of a "travel" style mug. It has a cool push button for drinking, and seems to be a durable mug. It insulates the beverage very well, and holds roughly 12 ounces. It can definitely keep things warm for some time. It has a "handle" on the lid, which allows it to be clipped on to a backpack, so that's a cool feature. 

(Are we picky or what?! Please take a moment to realize that all of this mug testing took place over about two years. That helps, right?)


Finally, we found a mug we love. Of course, it was backordered and we couldn't get it for a few months, but finally... we got them. This mug is perfect. Right out of it's box, we knew we had found a winner. The mug is actually a Miir mug, but designed for and sold by Mountain Standard. It's a 12 ounce, insulated, excellent looking mug. The lid fits tightly, preventing sloshes and spills. It has great graphics - we have both of the current styles, the RIMBY and the Glyph styles. (Some new styles are coming, from what we hear!) We frequently argue over who gets to use which one, because they are both super cool. Coffee stays hot, cold stays cold... and this mug wins the gold medal from us.

So, we're finally done with the mug hunt... if you're looking for a cool camp mug, this is the one we highly recommend - click here to go see them. If you want to save some money on these mugs, use our exclusive discount code at your checkout - MSWandering. Happy camping, and happy coffee drinking!


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