thermos outdoors on the ground

Are you looking for the best thermos for winter hiking? Maybe you are like me and drink coffee all day long, even on a hike. In which case you want to keep your coffee hot for many hours. Or maybe you want to keep it full of ice water, iced tea, iced coffee or just ice even.

It could go either way really, the key is that you want whatever you put in there to stay the same temperature throughout the duration of your hike. What we are going over here are actually thermoses, not to be confused with insulated travel mugs. Both are great and I have and recommend both in different situations.

Is a thermos the same thing as a vacuum flask?

“Thermos” is actually a brand and is trademarked, but it’s one of those things where people use that name when referring to all brands. The actual term for what we are referring to is a vacuum flask, Thermos is a brand that makes them. I will continue to use the terms interchangeably throughout the article and may refer to another brand as a thermos even though it is not made by the brand Thermos. 

A thermos is not actually meant to drink directly out of like the insulated travel mug. A thermos though usually has better insulation and will keep the temperature where you want it for much longer. The lid on a thermos can be screwed off and acts as a cup. 

Often times I’ll make a full thermos of coffee and not even feel like taking a sip for an hour or more, it’s nice to know that I can pop open my thermos and it will still be piping hot. So maybe you take it with you that morning, hike in a few miles and then sit on a rock somewhere and pour a still hot cup of coffee into the lid of your thermos and enjoy it. Since your thermos is big enough to hold plenty of coffee, you can do the same thing several hours later. 

Occasionally I’ll just fill my thermos up with crushed iced (Sonic ice is the best ;)) and let it slowly melt all day long. Any time I want a sip of ice cold water I can squirt a little water from my hydration pack into the thermos and then I have ice water. 

Best thermoses for taking on a hike

1. Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle 

These things have been around forever and they haven’t changed a bit I don’t think! The Stanley thermos comes with a lifetime warranty, but chances are you won’t ever need to use it. 

It comes in an assortment of sizes including 16 oz, 25  oz, 1.1 qt, 1.4 qt, and a 2 qt. Although the smaller sizes, the 16 and 25 oz, do not have the handle. Some of the pros for this thermos are:

  • keeps cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for up to 20 hours
  • keeps ice for 90 hours
  • leak proof
  • lifetime warranty
  • very durable and long lasting

2. Thermos Stainless King 40 Ounce Beverage Bottle 

This thermos, from the brand Thermos, boasts a full 24 hours of keeping your beverage hot or cold. This is a full 4 hours longer than what Stanley claims. It’s made of all stainless steel inside and out, holds up to 40 oz, and has a lid that also acts as a cup.

Personally I love the all stainless look of this flask and the price is very reasonable. You don’t get the lifetime warranty from Thermos that Stanley offers, but chances are you won’t need it anyway. Also, if I can get 5 years out of a $20 thermos I consider that a win anyway.

  • keeps your beverage hot or cold for up to 24 hours 
  • stainless steel
  • 5 year warranty
  • leak proof and sweat proof
  • most popular on Amazon with 4.4/5 stars and 5,000 reviews 

3. Thermos Rock Work Series 1.1 Quart Stainless Steel Beverage Bottle 

With this thermos you get the same timeframe of 24 hours that you did on the last thermos and many of the other same features, so I won’t list them all over again for this thermos or the next one. The difference with this one is that it’s the work series and is a little bit more rugged. It has a larger handle than the stainless king. 

The color is gunmetal or stainless and it holds 34 oz, the extra large handle makes this thing a beast of a thermos and very heavy duty. I could see this working great in a number of settings aside from hiking, like construction perhaps. However, on a hike this would be a great choice. Anything can happen out there and things get dropped, sometimes on rocks and from high places. Having a thermos that is likely to survive the impact is a big plus. 

4. Thermos Work Series 40 Ounce Beverage Bottle 

The last one on this list and another thermos made by Thermos. Again, same cold and hot times of 24 hours, see #2 above. This one is also part of the work series that Thermos makes, but the look on this one is a little bit different as you can see from the picture. To me it really comes down to aesthetics and capacity, functionality wise all vacuum flasks from Thermos are similar.

The benefits of drinking coffee on a hike

Too much caffeine can indeed leave you dehydrated and is the opposite of what you want to be on a hike. However, if you are going for a morning hike and want to sip on your morning coffee will you are trekking then you will be fine. 

Additionally caffeine provides you with extra energy that will prove useful while hiking. Many people who exercise or lift weights will drink a cup of coffee as a pre-workout before hitting the gym, myself included. It’s a great little boost and never dehydrates me. 

For me, coffee is also a good dietary supplement if you are trying to lose weight. There is almost no nutritional value but if you are just wanting to skip a meal every now and then it works great.

Another option is taking iced coffee in your thermos. I have never been a fan of iced coffee personally, there is just something about sipping on hot coffee that I prefer. Iced coffee is not natural to me but I know many people love it and if that is your thing a good thermos like one of the ones above will keep your iced coffee cold all day.

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