After hours spent sweating on the trail or gathered around a cozy campfire, few things satisfy like a nice cold drink. But having the right drinking vessels and containers can make all the difference when it comes to proper hydration and avoiding spills in the outdoors.
In this guide, we’ll cover the key features and usage cases for the top 5 types of drinkware to include in your camping kit:
- Insulated mugs – Keep your drinks hot or cold for hours
- Regular mugs & cups – Basic but reliable choices
- Collapsible cups – Compact and packable
- Water bottles – Portable hydration for hikers
- Carafes & drink dispensers – Hydration for groups
We’ll look at the pros and cons of each variety and top brands to help you find your perfect camping drinking companion. Let’s pour one up and dive in!
Insulated Mugs – Temperature Control for Camp Drinks
Few things beat sipping hot coffee while sitting next to a misty sunrise or ice cold lemonade after a grueling day hike. Insulated mugs use double-walled, vacuum-sealed construction to help retain the temperature of your drink, keeping hot liquids scalding for hours or icy drinks chilled all day.
Benefits of insulated mugs:
- Maintain desired drinking temp, whether hot or cold
- Limit exterior condensation rings
- Durable materials like stainless steel
- Heavier than regular cups and mugs
- Can retain interior odors if not cleaned thoroughly
Top brands like Yeti, Hydro Flask, and Klean Kanteen offer premium insulated mugs in 12-20oz sizes perfect for camping trips. Look for sturdy lids to prevent leaks and splashes when out on the trail.
While pricier than regular mugs, the insulation power of models like the Yeti Rambler make them worth it when you want piping hot coffee to help shake off the morning wilderness chill.
Regular Mugs & Cups – Simple and Affordable
If you don’t necessarily need to keep drinks hot or cold for prolonged periods, good old regular mugs and cups get the job done on camping trips without breaking the bank. These single-wall options conduct temperature more readily, but are lightweight and inexpensive.
Pros of regular mugs/cups:
- Typically lightweight and easy to pack
- Often very affordable options
- Come in plastic, enamelware, and other materials
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- No insulation to retain heat or cold
- Can break more easily if dropped
Trusted brands like GSI Outdoors, Stanley, and REI make excellent regular camping mugs in basic shapes perfect for hot chocolate by the fire or beer during the evening card game. Look for enameled steel mugs with sturdy handles that resist dents.
While they won’t keep coffee scalding for hours like an insulated mug, regular camping mugs handle most drink temperature needs at a fraction of the cost.
Collapsible Cups – Compact and Convenient
If packability is a priority for your storage-limited camping kitchen, collapsible cups offer a useful solution. These lightweight cups compress down flat or fold into small cases, expanding when needed for drinks by the campfire or stove.
Benefits of collapsible cups:
- Fold and pack down very small
- Weigh only a few ounces
- Inexpensive price points
- Less durable than hard walled cups
- Collapse when holding hot drinks
- Awkward sipping from corners when folded
Popular models from Sea to Summit, Snow Peak, and Light My Fire use pliable silicone or plastic in origami-like designs. Look for cup options with handy carabiners, measuring markers, and optional lids for hot cocoa on the go.
While awkward for piping hot drinks, collapsible cups shine for packing light on ultralight backpacking trips or chucking in your day hike kit. Just be gentle with folding and make sure seams hold up over time.
Water Bottles – Hydration for Hiking and Portability
No piece of camping drinkware gets called into duty more than the trusty water bottle. Whether you’re on a full day hike or just lounging in base camp, portable water bottles keeps you hydrated in the backcountry.
Benefits of water bottles:
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Durable and leak-proof
- Wide mouth options allow adding ice
- Easy to clean
- Can promote use of single-use plastics
- Metals conduct temperature through to contents
Premium brands like Nalgene, Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, and Camelbak offer a range of camping water bottle options from basic plastic designs to insulated stainless steel models. Look for capacities in the 20-32oz range for portability.
While reusable plastic works well enough, doubling up with an insulated metal bottle keeps ice water cooler longer on hot summer hikes. Some packs even have hydration bladders with drink tubes ideal for long treks.
Carafes & Drink Dispensers – Group Hydration Solutions
When camping with 4+ people, individual water bottles get cumbersome. Carafes and drink dispensers allow making large volumes of drinks for communal use. Great for lemonade, iced tea, infused water, and other beverages to share.
Benefits of drink carafes/dispensers:
- Make large quantities of drinks without constant refills
- Handy spouts for pouring without lifting
- Often have useful handles and measurements
- Heavy and awkward for backpacking
- Hard to effectively clean in the field
Reliable brands like Coleman, GSI Outdoors, and Stanley make 1-5 gallon drink dispensers perfect for base camp. Look for durable plastic or lightweight aluminum models with spouts that lock for transport. Measure volume lines help with recipes.
For a smaller 1-2 person reusable bottle, Stanley’s classic vintage-style dual-walled stainless steel carafes are a pleasure to drink from while keeping contents insulated.
So those are 5 types of drinkware to consider for your next camping trip! Prioritize packability, insulation needs, group size, and durability as you select options. With some trial and error, you’re sure to find your perfect camping drinking companion. Stay hydrated and drink wisely out there on the trails! Let us know if you have any other drinkware questions.