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REI Flip-Top Sipping Thermos

Winter Hiking Thermos

This is the first winter that I’ve felt the need to carry along a thermos of hot tea with me on winter day hikes and backpacking trips. I don’t bring a thermos on every trip, but it’s proven quite handy on the more gnarly above-treeline ascents I’ve done this season and for standing around at the end of a belay rope.


Thermos Capacity Dry Weight Filled Weight
Stanley Outdoor Bottle 35 oz 26.3 oz 61.3 oz
Sigg Basic 25 oz 15.5 oz 50.5 oz
REI Flip Top 15 oz 11.7 oz 26.7 oz


While I own a number of larger thermoses that have traditional screw-in caps and cups, I like my REI Flip-Top thermos the best because it’s a lot more convenient to use and you don’t need to pour hot liquid into a cup first to drink it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a thermos with me on a hike and never bothered to open it because it is such a hassle to deal with.

Instead, the REI Flip Top has a push button pour spot that opens when you push it down, and locks closed when you push it down a second time. The Flip top just covers the sipping area and keeps it clean. As long as the button lock is screwed in tight, the thermos doesn’t leak at all, which is good, because it lives inside my backpack next to my extra dry clothes and sleeping bag.

Push button lock mechanism

Push button lock mechanism

The REI thermos works best when you pre-heat it by pouring very hot water into it and letting it stand. After a few minutes, I refill it, throw in a tea bag and add lots of sugar to revive myself when I’m chilled on a hill. I do all this at one of the gas stations where I get hot water now before I go climbing or winter hiking.

This thermos would also be good in the car or the train, for commuting. It’s idiot-proof for those mornings, when you just can’t get together without spilling coffee on yourself!

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  1. That seems like a very good idea. For some reason, it never occurred to me to take a thermos with me on day hikes. I might start trying this next winter. It's always nice to have a cup of cocoa on top of a mountain. Today would be a good day for that too, since I'm starting my bike commuting for the season… and I think it's still 20 degrees out here.

  2. martin cooperman


    You mention you liked not having to pour the hot tea into a cup first to drink it. But how do you tell the liquid is cool enough to drink, or what do you do if you're thirsty and the liquid is still too hot?

    I use a cheapie version of the Sigg bottle (sold for $2/ea at my local discount store). It has a button to depress to dispense the liquid but you normally pour it into the lid/cup. If it's too hot, you can take your time drinking it or blowing on it to cool it. Right from the bottle I'd burn myself as often as not.


    Marty Cooperman

    Cleveland Ohio

    Lake Erie ice beginning to melt – alas!

  3. I gear what you're saying, but it hasn't been a problem. I usually get cold after we summit, about half-way through the day, and by then the thermos has cooled off a little so it's drinkable. I do think we both like the push button dispenser, no?

  4. new old backpckr

    I have the same insulated bottle and it keeps fluids hot for a long time. I am careful when I drink out of it because it works so well. I have one proviso. Once I got the open and close push button confused and put the bottle back in my daypack. The lock down top is NOT waterproof. The bottle leaked. It works great when I am using the button correctly. Just pay attention and make sure it is closed.

  5. I've used a thermos for a couple of years now. But it's a screw top and, like you say, a bit of a hassel. The last time, I spilled hot coffee on my glove. Based on this input, I'm going to get a flip-top.

  6. Nice post. I have the Stanley Outdoor Bottle and have mostly used it to haul coffee to the office. I can definitely see the benefits to having a hot beverage on hand after a sub zero above treeline traverse.

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