Best Thermos & Insulated Bottles for Hiking & Camping

If you love nothing more than a warm "brew" during pitstops on the trail, you need a thermal flask that's fit for the task. Find the ideal one for your mid-hike mugs of cocoa/tea/coffee/mulled wine in this buyer's guide to the best thermos in 2021.

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Best Thermoses & Insulated Bottles Of 2021

Looking for the Best Hiking Thermos?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • Why you need a thermos flask for hiking
    • What you should consider when buying.
    • Reviews of the best thermoses on the market
    • Our unbiased recommendation on the best backpacking thermos flask

Thermoses are pretty incredible things and a good thermos or insulated bottle will be your best friend for your next camping or outdoor adventure. Not all products were made equal and some serve purposes that others do not!

We’ve illustrated the best thermos flasks and insulated bottles of 2021, including mini-reviews of our favorites so you can choose the best thermos for your needs.

Best Thermos Bottle

Yeti rambler 18oz bottle

YETI Rambler 18 oz Bottle, Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel with TripleHaul Cap, Black

Ask outdoor enthusiasts and seasoned campers what their thermos of choice is, and you’ll hear the name of our winner several times. The Yeti Rambler is the best thermos, with a stellar reputation and a history of quality craftsmanship. It’s inspired a near cult-like following and many hikers won’t leave home without their trusty Yeti!

Leak-proof and insulated, the Yeti Rambler will keep your beverages ice-cold or piping hot with no chance of spillage! Since it’s insulated, you won’t burn or freeze your fingers on the stainless steel exterior. The Yeti Rambler comes in a few fun colors that are guaranteed not to flake off, even after serious usage. It’s durable, tried and true. The Yeti Rambler comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s worth the investment because you’ll have this cherished thermos for years to come.

Best Food Thermos

Thermos Stainless King 16oz Food Jar

THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Food Jar, 24 Ounce, Matte Steel

The Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Food Jar has it all; vacuum insulation to keep liquids and food at optimum temperatures for up to seven hours, a hearty steel shell to keep the insides safe and even a spoon to eat your food with.

The insulation keeps it completely sweatproof and you won’t burn your fingers on the exterior. It’s leak free, so you can jostle it around in your bag without worrying that the contents will spread everywhere. This is the best food flask we’ve found for serious camping, hiking or any outdoor activities.

Best ​Value Thermos​

Healthy human stein 16oz

Healthy Human Water Bottles, BPA Free Sports Travel Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle Stein 16oz seamist

The Healthy Human Stein is popular with people who want a stylish bottle that is convenient and BPA free. You won’t get the frills of some of the more premium thermoses and insulated bottles, but you will get a lightweight, solidly recommended bottle that is both easy to carry and affordable.

It’s not suitable for hardcore hiking or keeping your coffee steaming hot on long treks, and the screw lid sometimes has problems closing properly, but the Healthy Human Stein will deliver an above average performance compared to other thermoses of its caliber.

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Criteria for Choosing a Thermos or Insulated Bottle

Whether it’s for coffee, soup or something a little stiffer, there are several key components that make up the best camping thermos. We looked at six critical elements; construction, insulation, durability, leak-proof, capacity, and practicality, and features. Thermoses and vacuum insulated flasks that ticked off the most categories ranked higher in our comprehensive review and ultimately that’s how we picked our top three winners! 

Construction

Construction refers to the bones of your thermos or insulated bottle. It incorporates elements of design and style, but mainly focuses on how the thermos is built. Is it compact? What’s it made out of? Certain thermoses are built with specific purposes in mind. For example, the Primus Trailbreak EX Vacuum Bottle is built with a silicone sleeve so you won’t burn or freeze your fingers during long treks. When choosing a product based on construction, you want to look at the materials it’s made out of and what they are designed specifically to do.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Occasionally thermoses built for construction, especially ones that contain silicone elements, will have a tendency to get sticky.
  • Sometimes products designed with construction in mind can over-emphasize visual elements and under-emphasize elements like insulation and vacuum sealing.
  • Well constructed thermoses will generally have a longer shelf-life so you might pay a little extra.

Unfortunately, these tops might be difficult to open, due to how tightly they’re screwed on! A leak-proof thermos can handle jostling and when you’re using one, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your belongings are safe. Most leak-proof thermoses will advertise that feature as one of their top-selling points, so look for that when choosing one.

Insulation

Insulation refers to how well a thermos or insulated bottle will keep liquids hot or cold. People who go on long treks or who really can’t live without their hot coffee on a hike will want to find products that have good insulation. Generally, this will be one of the first features mentioned on the product’s website. You’ll see information about how long the thermos will keep liquids hot or cold, usually an hourly range. Choose the best product for your needs based on this information.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Insulated bottles sometimes have vacuum seals that can be difficult to open.
  • These types of products might be a little heavier to carry with you.
  • Each vacuum insulated thermos is different and it’s important to read the fine print regarding how long you can realistically expect your liquids to stay warm (or chilled) before purchasing one. You can also read product reviews from other customers.

Durability

Durability goes hand-in-hand with construction but focuses more on how strong your thermos or insulated bottle is. If your thermos is durable, it can really take a knocking around. Durable thermoses are generally made out of insulated stainless steel and will last for years. The best way to find a durable thermos is to check what materials it’s made out of and to read user reviews. 

Things To Keep In Mind

  • These types of thermoses and insulated flasks can be a little more expensive because they’re made to last a long time.
  • Durable thermoses made of stainless steel with no lining might have a slight metallic aftertaste.
  • Thermoses like these often have cult followings because they are built to be carried on long treks.

Leak-proof

A leak-proof thermos will keep your liquids from spilling all over your bag and is generally high on the wish-list for any hiker or trekker. Products like these often advertise that you won’t have to worry about errant leaks when you use them and come with tightly fastened tops that discourage leaking. 

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Leak-proof thermoses and insulated flasks will generally advertise that they are as one of their top features.
  • These thermoses are great for people who are meticulous about their belongings, or who anticipate that the thermos will get jostled around in their bags.
  • Occasionally, people might have trouble unscrewing the lids of these thermoses and insulated flasks.

Capacity

Capacity refers to how much can fit into the thermos or insulated bottle and is important for people who are making long trips or who need to carry large amounts of camping food or liquids. Products with a high capacity and insulation are especially sought after by hikers and trekkers.

The most popular capacities are 18 or 16 ounces and easily carried by most people. When looking for a thermos that fits your needs, it’s important to think about what you’re using it for. Short jaunts might require a smaller capacity, where for larger trips and treks you’ll need a much larger capacity.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Find a capacity that suits your lifestyle. It’s important to think about what you’re going to use the thermos or insulated bottle for before you buy one.
  • The most popular capacities are 16 or 18 ounces.
  • Insulation can affect capacity, so make sure to keep this in mind if you purchase an insulated bottle.

Practicality and Features

What makes a practical thermos or insulated flask is different for everyone. A 16-ounce stainless steel flask might be practical for someone who is going on short hiking trips or taking the beverage to the gym, but completely impractical for someone who is heading out on the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s important to think about the functionality of the bottle when you choose one. 

Similarly, products come with different features that appeal to certain needs or lifestyles. For example, a silicone sleeve will come in handy during rough winter weather and a lightweight BPA free stainless steel bottle will be good for quick summer trips. Other features could include things like whether or not the product is dishwasher safe. When choosing a bottle, think about your needs and lifestyle. That way you can find one that is perfect for your objectives.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • What is a feature for one person is a hindrance for a different person. It’s important to find a thermos or vacuum bottle that adheres to your lifestyle and needs.
  • Features are often listed on product websites or in user reviews.
  • When looking at weather-related features (i.e. silicone sleeves) consider your environment.

The Results

Zojirushi SM-SA48 Stainless Steel Mug

Zojirushi SM-SA36-BA Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug, 16-Ounce, Black

The Zojirushi SM-SA48 Stainless Steel Mug is best in its class when it comes to functionality. This mug will not let you down when it comes to keeping your beverage ice cold or hot, so if killer insulation is what you crave, this is the best product for coffee on the market. It even comes with a five-year warranty that guarantees it will keep your liquids at the temperature you desire them.

The Zojirushi SM-SA48 Stainless Steel Mug is streamlined and compact, made of stainless steel and BPA-free plastic with an interior mug nestled inside the insulated exterior. It comes in seven colors to suit your fancy. It’s attractive, durable and popular with people who like their coffee hot, no exceptions, but it does have a lot of moving parts, so it can be tricky to keep clean and the inside cup can jostle around from time to time.

  • PROs

    • It’s sleek and compact for ease of travel.
    • This product comes with a 5-year warranty on heat retention.
    • It’s made of BPA-free plastic and stainless steel.
  • CONs

    • Tougher to clean.
    • The inside cup can jostle around sometimes.

Bottom-Line: This product is best for keeping your coffee nice and hot and is, in our opinion, the best flask for backpacking due it’s light weight.

Primus Trailbreak EX Vacuum Bottle

Primus Trailbreak Vacuum Bottle , Black, 17 oz

The Primus Trailbreak EX Vacuum packs a punch for hard-core explorers and has all the elements you need to set out on your trek. It’s made of sturdy stainless steel, so it’s tough and hearty. This model is also covered with a silicone sleeve, so your fingers won’t be exposed to freezing steel while on your adventure.

It’s easy to assemble and disassemble with no guesswork involved. There are two stoppers so your drink won’t spill out while you’re seeing the world. The silicone sleeve that protects your fingers could also attract mud and dirt, so if you’re not a fan of sticky surfaces you might have a slight issue with this thermos. It comes in coal grey.

  • PROs

    • The silicone grip prevents weather-related ailments like frostbite.
    • It’s easy to take apart.
    • This product is made of hearty stainless steel.
  • CONs

    • The silicone grip can get dirty and sticky if exposed to the elements.
    • You can only get it in one color.

Bottom-Line: This product is best for serious explorers who need a sturdy product that won’t let them down. The best cold thermos on our list.

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle – 16 oz

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle 1.1QT Hammertone Green

This little gem is definitely in the running for the best coffee thermos because of its vacuum insulation will keep your drink at an optimum temperature for up to fifteen hours. Iced beverages will stay that way for up to 60 hours.

It’s made of stainless steel and completely free of BPA. It won’t leak no matter what and comes with a full lifetime warranty. It can be difficult to clean and the interior is easily scratched during the most routine washings, so if you like your thermoses completely unblemished, this probably isn’t the one for you. Also, the stainless steel interior can transmit a bad taste to your hot or cold beverages.

  • PROs

    • It comes with a lifetime warranty.
    • This product has vacuum insulation to keep drinks ice cold or piping hot for up to fifteen hours.
    • It is 100 percent leak proof.
  • CONs

    • The inside isn’t coated that well so you might experience a metallic aftertaste that’s unpleasant.
    • It scratches easily during routine washing.

Bottom-Line: This product is best for people who love the security of a lifetime guarantee and want the best thermos for keeping coffee hot.

Yeti rambler 18oz bottle

YETI Rambler 18 oz Bottle, Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel with TripleHaul Cap, Black

The Yeti Rambler has a special place in the hearts of thermos enthusiasts and a near cult-like following. It’s completely leak-proof and totally insulated to keep your hot beverages hot and your cold beverages ice cold. According to many serious hikers, this is the one of the best products around because it’s super reliable and completely durable.

The Yeti Rambler is made of stainless steel and even has a colorful shell that won’t flake off, no matter what the conditions! Tried and true, this premium product will be your loyal companion for years to come. If only it came in a few more colors! Sadly, this model is only available in a handful and also isn’t dishwasher safe.

  • PROs

    • It’s completely, 100 percent leak proof.
    • Made of stainless steel with a colorful shell that won’t flake off, no matter what.
    • This product is totally insulated to keep your beverages at the temperature they’re supposed to be.
  • CONs

    • It is not dishwasher safe.
    • Comes in a limited range of colors.

Bottom-Line: This product is considered one of the best for a reason, it’s durable, stylish and functions like a dream.

Simple Modern Summit 18oz Water Bottle

Simple Modern Insulated Water Bottle with Straw Lid 1 Liter Reusable Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Flask Thermos, 32oz (945ml), Ombre: Moonlight

Simple Modern prides itself on being one of the best products for keeping beverages at your desired temperature! You won’t ever suffer from cold coffee or tepid water with the Simple Modern Summit bottle.

It’s totally vacuum-sealed and made of stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about BPAs when you’re using it. The 18-ounce bottle is an ideal size to carry anywhere and it comes in a huge selection of great colors to suit every style and taste.

The only problems are with its construction. The lid has been known to leak and it isn’t exactly friendly for little hands to use. Kids will have some trouble screwing and unscrewing the lid.

  • PROs

    • It is made of 100 percent stainless steel so you won’t interact with BPAs at all.
    • Great size to carry anywhere and the vacuum seal keeps your beverages at the best temperature.
    • You can get it in a bunch of fun colors.
  • CONs

    • Kids will struggle with screwing and unscrewing the lid.
    • Has been known to leak

Bottom-Line: This product is best for people who like their water ice-cold and their coffee piping hot.

Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Food Jar

THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Food Jar, 24 Ounce, Matte Steel

When you need warm food on the road, the Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Food Jar has you covered. Its vacuum insulation is designed to keep liquids and food piping hot for up to seven hours. You can keep your food icy cold for up to nine hours. It’s made of stainless steel and is completely sweatproof.

The insulation means you won’t burn your fingers while carrying it and it comes with a stainless steel spoon for easy eating. Unfortunately, it does have a few problems with construction. The rubber mouth sometimes gets loose and the top could be a little wider. Other than that, this food jar is a top-notch product!

  • PROs

    • It will keep your food warm or chilled for an extended period of time.
    • The vacuum insulated interior of this food jar means that it won’t sweat or burn your hands.
    • This product comes with a spoon for easy eating.
  • CONs

    • Occasionally the rubber parts might get loose or come off.
    • Some might find the mouth too small for convenient eating.

Bottom-Line: This product is best for people who need to bring food on the go, and want it to stay hot or cold.

Hydroflask 18-Ounce Food Flask

Hydro Flask Food Flask Thermos Jar - Stainless Steel & Vacuum Insulated - Leak Proof Cap - 18 oz, Pacific

This food flask to keeps your meals nice and hot or appropriately cold for up to three hours. With a vacuum-sealed interior, the Hyroflask won’t sweat or burn your hands and is made of stainless steel so you can bang it around with absolutely no problems. This flask is tough!

Its durability poses a problem for little hands though. Kids will find it difficult to open and the container, while having a wide mouth might be a little too shallow for some who prefer a larger, dish-sized container to eat out of. It’s also not dishwasher or microwave safe, so you’ll need to hand wash it.

  • PROs

    • This food flask is vacuum sealed and vacuum insulated to keep food at the appropriate temperature for hours.
    • It comes in several fun colors to suit every taste.
    • The insulated stainless steel exterior is very durable, so you can bang it around with no problems.
  • CONs

    • Kids might have a problem opening up this food flask.
    • Some might find it a little too shallow to eat comfortably out of.

Bottom-Line: This product is best for people who need a compact and insulated way to transport liquids or foods.

Thermos Stainless King 16oz Compact

THERMOS Stainless King Vacuum-Insulated Compact Bottle, 16 Ounce, Matte Steel

The Thermos King 16oz Compact flask can carry a manageable 16-ounces of warm (or chilled) beverages and is made out of tough stainless steel and vacuum insulation to keep your liquids at the appropriate temperature. It is sleek, compact and easy to carry around. You won’t burn your fingers on the steel exterior and it’s unlikely to spill, even if you jostle it around a lot!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep your coffee hot for twelve hours. Your drink will get lukewarm around eight hours in, making this product definitely not the best option for liquids that need to be at a certain temperature. Also, the lid is difficult to unscrew if your hands are wet.

  • PROs

    • It’s made of tough and durable stainless steel, so it can be banged around without a problem.
    • The convenient 16-ounce capacity makes it the perfect companion for any adventure.
    • This product is completely leak proof so you won’t have to worry about spills.
  • CONs

    • It fails to keep beverages hot or cold for the advertised amount of time.
    • Sometimes it can be difficult to get the lid off if your hands are wet.

Bottom-Line: This product is best for people who enjoy the convenience and comfort of a compact bottle.

Healthy Human Stein 16oz

Healthy Human Water Bottles, BPA Free Sports Travel Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle Stein 16oz seamist

The Healthy Human Stein is a convenient 16-ounce bottle that comes in a variety of fun colors and designs that will appeal to everyone. They’re completely constructed out of stainless steel so your beverages don’t ever interact with plastic. There is no danger of ingesting BPAs with this bottle. They also come with a lifetime warranty and have inspired a following of people who swear that the Healthy Human Stein is the best product on the market!

It’s lightweight and very affordable when compared to other products of the same caliber. Unfortunately, the screw lid sometimes has problems closing properly, leading to unfortunate leaks. The Healthy Human Stein also has some issues keeping your hot liquids hot, so this is not the best coffee thermos on the market.

  • PROs

    • It is made of 100 percent stainless steel so you won’t interact with BPAs at all.
    • Comes in a rainbow of fun colors and designs.
    • This product comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • CONs

    • It will not reliably keep your hot liquids warm.
    • The lid has problems staying screwed on, so it tends to be leaky.

Bottom-Line: This product is best for people who want a BPA free and stylish product.

Conclusion

All of the products we reviewed had their great points and every product reviewed here would be an excellent addition to your hiking, camping or outdoors trip. It’s important to think about your lifestyle and needs when choosing a thermos or insulated bottle. What is a feature to one person might not be something you need and vice versa. Hopefully, this guide demystified your search for the perfect thermos and you feel comfortable selecting one that will be just right for you.

Last update on 2021-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Brian has been an avid hiker and backpacker since he was a small kid, often being taken out into the wilderness on trips with his father. His dad knew everything about nature and the wilderness (or at least that's how it seemed to a ten year old Brian).

After high school, he went to university to read for both a BS and MS in Geology (primarily so he could spend his time outside rather than in a classroom). He's now hiked, camped, skied, backpacked or mapped on five continents (still need to bag Antartica) & 30 of the US states.