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Insulated Camping Mugs

Insulated Mugs for Winter Camping
Insulated Mugs for Winter Camping

Some people will debate whether you need an insulated mug for winter camping and argue that you can use a cook pot instead. This may be true, but it’s not practical. When I get to camp and start to melt snow for water, I want to be able to have a hot drink with my dinner. While pack weight is important in winter, the fact is that you are going to carry a lot more gear for safety reasons and for comfort.

Through trial and error, I’ve found that the Snow Peak 600 double wall insulated titanium mug suits my purposes beautifully. This mug holds a huge 20 oz of fluid making it ideal for the miso soup I like to drink before dinner or the bucketfuls of hot chocolate I like at breakfast each morning. Drinking enough water is hard for me in winter and a large mug size helps me consume the minimum of 32 oz that I like to drink before breaking camp.

At 5.1 oz, the Snow Peak 600 is not going to break my back. The mug itself tucks away nicely in my food bag and the handles fold back saving pack space.The only thing that it lacks is a plastic top or sip lid, but I have a feeling that will be easy to fix using a Maxwell House plastic top or something like it from the supermarket.

However settling on the Snow Peak took a little experimentation.  First I tried the Olicamp 8 oz insulated titanium mug on the right in the photo above. It weighs a seductive 2.4 oz, but it doesn’t really hold 8 oz (more like 7.5.) The problem is that a mug the size of a shot glass makes it difficult for me to get enough water down in the morning and it’s just not big enough for soup at night.

Next, I tried an insulated plastic mug from REI. It’s bigger than the Olicamp but still a bit too small in my opinion, holding only 12 oz of liquid and weighing 4.8 oz. It’s also rather deep making it harder to use as a soup bowl. The Snow Peak is nice because it can serve both functions.

The only thing that the REI mug has over the Snow Peak 600 is price ($4.25 vs $55.95). Titanium camping cookware is expensive, but it is very light and indestructible.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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23 comments

  1. I love the REI mug. After multiple lips burns and pouring coffee down my shirt, I decided I need a "real" mug.

    I agree it's small, but it is the perfect size for packing my Snow Peak Giga Power Stove.

    Also 5 bucks ain't bad.

  2. Nifty idea. I just use the little plastic case that Snow Peak includes with the Ti Giga Power Stove to protect it, but your idea does help weight justify the REI mug for 3 season use when I'd otherwise just drink from my Snow Peak 700 Ti pot.

  3. Yeah, I tried the hot chocolate in a pot thing quite a few times, and quite a few times ended up burning my chin and wearing it down the front of my shirt. I tried a Nalgene for a while too–same problem. So now I've caved in and carry a travel mug, but mine is from a local coffeeshop … which was free with an extra-large version of their special.

  4. I usually use a GSI one – either a 14 or a 20 ounce that has a neoprene sleeve. Comes with an adult sippy lid ;-)

  5. If you're looking for a light combo mug and bowl which is insulated, check out the GSI Outdoors Insulated Mug and Bowl. Philip recently reviewed one for us at TheGearHouse.

  6. Chris – you beat me to it!

  7. Glad to throw it out there :-) It's a great product and so light weight. Oh, and it also has the "adult sippy lid" so you're not easily burning your lip, chin, or spilling.

  8. My Campmor 12oz mug looks just like the REI mug in the picture. My mug has a number 7 in the arrow triangle on the bottom. I understand that to be a type of plastic which contain BPA. I now store my Campmor mug in the trash and drink from my boot for safty reasons.

  9. I never realized you could use plastic boots like that. Very creative. :-)

  10. I read that recycling code #7 simply means "not codes 1-6" and used for anything that doesn't fit into those groups. BPA plastics are one such type but code 7 doesn't necessarily mean it's a BPA plastic. Still, if your boot works… :)

  11. Doesn't "indestructable if you treat it right" mean "destructible"?

  12. For a wide selection of insulated plastic mugs (20-24-32 oz etc) just swing by the local Salvation Army/Goodwill/church thrift stores. Take your choice, by capacity and weight, of yesteryear's sturdy products; most will weigh around 5 oz, come with removable tops, and handles which you can keep for easy clipping on a pack or cut off to trim weight.

    Fifty cents to two dollars, a wider selection than any catalog, and you're recycling. Lots of other items easily recyclable and adaptable to hiking/backwoods as well…

  13. In scouts we've use the Eagle Camp Mugs for years. If a 11 year old scout can't break it, you know it's made of tough stuff. Their lite weight and soft enough to brand or carve a design in them. Keeps hot drink warm and holds a 12 oz can to keep it cool during those hot summer days. At camp outs all of our scouts carry them on their packs or on their belts. I've even use mine to eat out of on backpacking trips.

  14. Trying to be Ultralight and keeping my Kitchen to the minimum number of pieces for weight reasons and finding multiple uses for each item I carry, I am wondering if can you place a double walled cup directly on your favorite burner? Anybody know if you can?? That would make it more valuable to me than having to carry two items instead of making do with just one.

  15. I'm hestitant to try. Another way to consider this is that you really do want the second container (in winter) so you can drink while you cook or melt water. I only bring a cup, in addition to my pot, in those conditions.

  16. eddie. i dont believe you can directly heat up a double walled metal mug. once you do that, it becomes a pressure vessel and one, i believe that may not be designed for the 'leak before explode' principle that stops it becoming a miniature bomb.

    not to mention the air gap surrounding the inner wall would make it much more inefficient to heat up the contents inside

  17. If you have to have an insulated mug, love the ones from REI. The 4.8 ozs goes to 4.0 and the handle disappears with the judicious use of a small saw. If you really want a mug/soup bowl combo try a 1 pint screw top container/tub from Ziplock with a homemade reflectix cozy. Half the weight and, if you buy the knock off container at a clearance store, less than half the cost of the REI mug.

  18. I own a couple single wall Titanium mugs and have managed the “burn my lips and dump hot drink down my shirt” trick a few times. Once, my wife and I were camping in below freezing temps on Kings Canyon and we had superbly insulated mugs, so well insulated that we couldn’t get our hands warm while wrapping around them. Now, for car camping, we carry a couple ceramic mugs so that our hands will get toasty while having our drink.

    When backpacking, I still use the Titanium mugs and just be really careful. By the time I get chores for the grandkids done, mine has usually cooled enough to sip. Wearing a thin pair of gloves allows me to warm my hands without burning them.

  19. Well I changed again, I sitill carry my Stainless steel cup with the Folding handles and the ounces and such imprinted on the sides which fits neatly over the bottom of the Nalgene Quart size bottle and is bigger than the Titanium cup. I also can use it to heat up water in.

    BUT , I retrieved from retirement my ole faithful Red Plastic Cup which originally sat atop my Dad’s Thermos bottle from the 50’s, the old brown Plaid Thermos bottle. I believe he bought it from the Western Auto store which was at one time our Only “Outdoor” store in town. Along with Automotive supplies it sold everything from Guns to Tents..The walls on the cup a bit thicker than what we see today and with a good solid handle and weighs only 2 ounces and does not burn my lips. I find that most of those Insulated mugs are too large meaning they take up space and I generally do not ever fill them all the way up so that extra weight is extra weight..Take care of the ounces and the pounds will take care of themselves…I think Colin Fletcher wrote that..But to each their own.

  20. Where can we find the Eagle Camp Mugs? The only supplier we know of is no longer making them.

  21. Scoutmaster Dave,
    We are looking for Eagle Camp Mugs. Can you point me in the right directions to order them for our Troop. The only Eagle camp mugs we know of, is no longer in business. Any help will be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Renee’

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