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Best camping mugs and cups 2022: for hot brews in the wild

Collage of the best camping mugs
(Image credit: Future)

It's 2022 and the best camping mugs have come a long way, battling the laws of heat transfer to keep your delicious brew piping-hot. There's no coffee like the one you have by the lakeside, in the campsite or on a mountain summit, so it's fair to say a camping mug is a special thing.

There are so many innovative products to choose from, personal preference will play a large part in your decision. Do you value a lightweight mug that folds down to almost nothing in your best hiking backpack? Or are you a stickler for the old ways and are after something more traditional?

In this guide we feature the crème de la crème of insulated camping mugs, the finest lightweight options – including mugs you can use with your best camping stove – and the best traditional camping mugs too, as well as some considerations as to what to look for when selecting your optimum mug.

Insulated camping mugs

Insulated camping mugs are ideal for hot or cold beverages, keeping your drink at a consistent temperature. They also protect your hands if you're enjoying a hot tea or coffee. A lid helps prevent spills, and enhances the insulating properties.

Flask-style insulated camping mugs can also serve as 'slow cookers' for dishes like rice. Just add ingredients and boiling water, and wait. We tested these mugs with various ingredients, and had some good results. Just make sure not to place your mug over a heat source.

Lightweight camping mugs

A lightweight camping mug won't just serve you well on your adventures, it can also double as your day-to-day keep cup. We all know the environmental impact of all those Starbucks cups and lids going in the trash. By getting yourself one of the best camping mugs, you can do you bit by taking it along whenever you purchase a coffee.

Traditional camping mugs

There's a certain tactile pleasure that comes from warming your hands around a traditional camping mug when you're sitting by the campfire, whether it's an old-school enamel mug or a traditional carved wooden cup. You can't cook in these mugs, and they won't keep your drink hot as long as a double-walled vessel, but they certainly have their place.

Camping mugs comparison table

Camping mugList priceWeightStyleMaterial
Yeti Rambler 10oz Lowball$20 (US) / £20 (UK)267g / 9.4ozInsulated tumbler18/8 Stainless steel
Dometic TMBR 60 Thermo tumbler£24 (UK)360g/12.7ozInsulated tumblerStainless steel
Lifeventure Flip-Top Thermal Mug£16 (UK) / €19 (EU)262g/9.25ozInsulated flip top mugFood-grade stainless steel, copper coated, matt finish
Camelbak Horizon Vacuum Insulated Tumbler$22 (US) / £26 (UK)295g/10.5ozInsulated tumblerPowder coated stainless steel, silicone non-slip base, BPA, BPS, BPF free plastic lid
Sea to Summit DeltaLight InsulMug$8 (US) / £7 (UK)78g/2.7ozMug with removable insulating sleeveBPA-free polypropylene glass composite
Alpkit Kelvin Double walled beaker£40 (UK)167g/6ozInsulated beakerTitanium
Lifeventure Titanium Mug£25 (UK) / €28 (EU)73g/2.5ozLightweight camping mugTitanium
MSR Titan Kettle$60 (US) / £54 (UK)118g/4.2ozMug / cooking pot hybridTitanium
Stojo 12oz Folding Mug$12 (US) / £8 (UK)130g/4ozFolding mugFood-grade silicone
Amok Enamel Hammock mug$15 (US) / £17.35 (UK) / €20 (EU)135g/4.8ozTraditional camping mugEnamel coated steel
Casstrom Kuksa Birch Wood Mug£58.50 (UK)140g/5ozWooden mugBirch burl wood

How to choose a camping mug

The best camping mug is very much a personal choice, but bear the following in mind. For many people a mug is going to do most of its work keeping a drink hot on the early morning commute to some activity, so pick a size that holds a decent amount of liquid – there’s no point in going short or having to make another brew – and consider a design that will fit into a standard vehicle drinks-holder. 

For camp use an insulated mug with a handle might contain less than a tumbler but will be wider and squatter making it more stable and comfortable to hold. On a boat, a SUP or in a kayak a handle also gives you something handy to clip a line onto which might just stop you losing the whole caboodle the Flip-top, DeltaLight and wooden kuksa will float, the other designs won’t. Finally, that mug - whatever its practicalities - that goes along on every trip with you can become as comfortable as a well worn-in pair of hiking shoes, and even a part of your personality.

Versatility

Coming up with containers that could hold liquids was one of humanity's earliest achievements and their importance remains in the Space Age. An ultra-light mug in plastic or titanium that you keep in your daypack is one way to help ease the planet’s plight by avoiding single-use cups, and it will quickly pay for itself in discounts on every refill. For real multi-tasking, and if you’re saving every ounce, a large single-skin titanium mug, like the Titan, can treble-function as a cup, bowl or cooking pot that can be used on stoves or a campfires, whilst a standard-sized, single-skin metal mug can supplement your other cooking pans. Insulated mugs can become a useful part of the cooking process, too; if you use them to soak rice, pasta or even diced vegetables in boiling water, the contents will cook without needing further heat.

Features to look for in the best camping mug

Like all outdoor kit, even the best designed and high-tech of camping mugs will steer a course between genuinely useful features and their cost in weight, bulk and cash. Sometimes the penalties and the savings aren’t as obvious as they first seem. An insulated mug will weigh more and take up more space than a single-skin mug but it can save on the fuel needed to reheat drinks or avoid the wastage of a drink ending up tepid and being chucked out. Lids are not only part of the insulation package but can prevent slops and spills. 

Be aware that push-fit, sipping lids, even those with aperture closures, are not totally leak-proof, though they should stop you losing more than a splash if the mug’s knocked over or sloshed around, and might save a map, your best hiking pants or your phone from a real soaking. Handles on uninsulated metal mugs are necessary to avoid burning your fingers when they’re filled with hot liquids and can be useful as tie-points. Rubberised grip rings on a mug’s base can stop sliding on smooth surfaces.

Price/Value

As always, the best value essentials on your camping checklist have the features you need and nothing else, and do their job trip after trip without falling apart. Mugs for the outdoors are no different, and because they’re relatively cheap and always useful most of us end up with an arsenal of them for all situations. Most people, however, end up with a favourite mug that goes along on most trips with them. Though such faithfulness is commendable it’s worth considering the options that different mug designs and qualities offer and maybe considering taking a couple or more along on all but the most pared down hiking trips. A mug’s versatility, small size and relative light weight means that your camp kitchen could be based on a cooking mug-pot, and an insulated mug and still leave room for your own eccentric choice of old favourite that’s just right for sitting round a campfire with whilst you sip on whatever it is you sip in those situations and stare into the flames.

After a wild childhood in west Cork, Jasper Winn began embarking on long cycles, walks, horse journeys and kayak trips across five continents – adventures he’s decanted into books, magazine articles, radio and television documentaries. Keen on low-tech but good gear, Jasper is an advocate of slow adventures by paddle, pedal, saddle, boot and sail. He has circumnavigated Ireland by kayak and cycled across the Sahara. Twice. Having ridden north-to-south across Algeria he discovered the only way to get back was to turn round and pedal north again.