Updated July 2020. Whether it’s a cold day during hunting season, or you just like to stay caffeinated so that you’re alert while tracking game, a good thermos is one of the best investments you can make for those trips out to the woods.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you! Read my disclosure for more info.
In a hurry? My favorite is the CLASSIC Stanley Vacuum Bottle. (See at Amazon) because it keeps drinks hot for 28 hrs. And has a lifetime warranty.
Why do you need a specialized thermos for hunting? Sure, the coffee doesn’t know the difference between sitting on a desk during your average work day, and sitting in a tree stand as you take down a fine, 8 point buck. But, as hunting involves sitting out for hours in the wilderness, there are certain features you will need when picking out a coffee thermos, particularly good heat retention and durability.
Thermos flasks are designed to keep beverages (or soups, stews, and porridge) at a relatively constant temperature, usually by using a vacuum to stop the radiation of heat. A vacuum is one of the best insulators, as there is very little medium for heat to escape through.
Construction and Insulation
The construction and insulation of the thermos will have a big effect on how long your drink will stay hot (or cold). There are plastic, glass, and pressed tin models out there, but a double walled stainless steel construction provides strength, excellent heat retention, scratch resistance, and corrosion resistance. Stainless steel also allows for a very high-quality vacuum and has the strength and structural integrity to retain it.
How a vacuum flask works
You might wonder what makes a vacuum flask so much better than any other material, the answer lies in the way vacuum flasks work.
Vacuum flasks utilize two stainless steel chambers with a vacuum seal between them to prohibit the transfer of energy between the two chambers, keeping your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot.
There are a few different types of vacuum flasks, some made with glass in between the two chambers, others with one plastic and one stainless steel chamber. But the most durable ones you will find have two stainless steel chambers.
Capacity and Other Features
Capacity is up to your own individual requirements but, unless you are planning on doing a lot of hiking where weight is a huge consideration, bigger is better for the average hunter. You might be sitting in that duck boat for a while, and you don’t want to miss a shot because you had to row back to shore to brew another cup.
Other features that can be beneficial to the average hunter are carrying straps, clips for your belt or pack, and a slimline bottom to fit in your pickup truck’s beverage holder.
Options for the Hunter
Yeti is one of the most trusted products among outdoorsmen, and their products always come highly recommended.
The Yeti Rambler has multiple color options and its 26-ounce carrying capacity, giving you plenty of room for coffee. Even better is its ability to keep it hot for an entire day saving, you precious time throughout the day.
My favorite aspect of the Rambler (besides its durable frame) is the easy carry handle on the top. It fits neatly in your grip or you can attach it to a backpack. Be careful though, the handle also doubles as a screw cap, be sure to screw it on tight.
This bottle is dishwasher safe and comes with a 5-year warranty, like all Yeti Rambler drinkware.
Hydro Flask gives you ten plus color options and sizes ranging from 18 to 64-ounce bottles. They are all made from non-toxic BPA-free plastic and food-grade stainless steel.
Next to its ability to keep your coffee hot throughout the day. The most useful feature this flask is the (Hydro Flask exclusive) powder coat. It ensures a secure grip while holding it.
The product will ship with the wide mouth lid with a flex cap. You’ll also have the option to upgrade the Hydro Flask Lid. The three styles are (wide flex cap, wide straw lid, and wide flip lid) sure to fit your specific needs.
The biggest downfall of the Hydro Flask is due to its powder coating it cannot be put in the dishwasher. Outside of that, this is one of my favorite insulating mugs for both hot, or cold drinks.
This flask comes with a lifetime warranty, though you probably won’t need it if you treat it well since it is quite durable.
Thermos Stainless King
The Thermos brand is so synonymous with hot drinks that we tend to call any vacuum insulated bottle a thermos, even if it isn’t actually made by thermos. Similar to how we call all tissue “kleenex” regardless of the name of the brand. That tells you all you need to know, Thermos makes some of the best insulation bottles on the market.
There are two things that make the stainless king different from their other products. One is the shape of the bottle, the other is how the bottle opens. There is a locking lid with a push-button release for easy one-handed operation. This is easily one of my favorite insulating coffee mugs.
Though it may be dishwasher safe there have been reports of the outside coating flaking off in the dishwasher. It’s probably safest to hand wash the lid and the bottle to ensure its integrity.
Isosteel VA 9553
A beautiful stainless steel body (and not that cheap stuff either, this is food-grade 18/8) that is durable enough to accompany you on even the most brutal trips. Perfect for one hand use, it’s got a carrying handle attached and includes a shoulder strap for an even easier carrying option.
The Isosteel is very reminiscent of the original coffee thermos. It is a 34-ounce container that keeps your beverages at their optimal temperatures right around 12-hours, it even has a cap that doubles as a serving cup just like the thermos.
Though this flask is dishwasher safe, the spout is not. It is recommended that you hand wash the flask and the spout. This way you can make sure you get every bit spic and span, inside and out.
If you are looking to keep cold items cold and not just hot items hot, the opening on the Isosteel allows for crescent shaped ice cubes to pass through, but not the regular square shaped ones.
With a 5-year limited warranty, this flask makes a good investment.
Isosteel’s Double Walled Slimline Vacuum Flask
Stainless steel has always been a material that I am drawn to, so this one is one of my favorite vacuum flasks. It is constructed of 18/8 stainless steel and will keep your beverages hot for up to 24 hours. This flask was given an added vote of confidence when it was rated “Editors Choice” for vacuum flasks by Popular Mechanics in March 2016.
Plus it is an excellent budget model so, if you have a tendency to leave things behind (always clean up your campsites!), this might be the model for you. It has a decent capacity and provides good heat retention. Not bad for the hunter on a budget!
The flask holds 25 oz, which works well for someone who only needs a few cups of coffee throughout the day. It’s easy to carry around and fits in a backpack or bag easily without spilling or taking up too much room.
The lid is removable and acts as a cup and the flask holds about five cups of coffee. So, depending on how much you want for yourself, you can share with a friend.
Like the flak above, this Slimline also has a 5-year warranty.
Mira Classic Vacuum Bottle
The Mira Classic Vacuum Bottle is a solid mid-range model. No frills, but it covers the basics well. With a 40 oz capacity, it works well for those long car journeys off the beaten track. The leak-proof vacuum seal does more than just making sure your drink stays in your cup, it also makes sure it stays the perfect temperature.
If you get this product you shouldn’t expect much more than a regular bottle that is good at keeping stable temperatures. It’s wide mouth opening, makes it very easy to clean but sometimes dumps entirely too much of that scolding coffee on your tongue.
Aladdin Heritage Vaccum Bottle
If your grandfather is a fisher or hunter, he may enjoy the retro look of the Aladdin Heritage Plaid Vacuum Bottle. It’s solidly-constructed and ticks all the boxes for a strong mid-price model. This thermos would make for a great present.
It is a double-wall vacuum insulated bottle but is only rated to reliably keep your coffee warm for 12-hours. On the plus side, the lid doubles as cup so you and a friend can drink together.
This one is a little smaller than some of the other Flasks on this list, it holds about 2-ounces, enough for a few cups.
There are some slight differences between this version and the older version your grandfather may have owned. There is no glass on the interior, which makes it more durable. The older versions had a hole in the handle of the cup, making it more like a regular mug, this one does not.
Aladin guarantees products from defects, but only under normal usage.
If you’re looking for a smaller container with multiple color options the Zojirushi stainless steel mug is a good product to look at. You can get it either 12, 16, or 20-ounce options and six different colors are available.
It is a double wall container and it has a five-year heat retention warranty. Of course, it has a locking mechanism to make sure it doesn’t leak and the removable stopper makes it super easy to clean it.
All pieces are dishwasher safe.
With the flip top, you can drink from this bottle one handed without worrying about spillage.
Perhaps the best feature is the fluorine coating on the inside of the bottle. This coating prevents odors from getting trapped inside the bottle, helping the thermos to last a bit longer.
Fijoo Stainless Steel Thermos
Yet another quality thermos at a very generous price, this Fijoo thermos utilizes double wall vacuum technology to keep the temperature of your drink stable, regardless of its contents (all 16-ounces of it).
It’s extremely portable, the slimline shape makes it easy to fit inside a cupholder side pouches on your backpack. My favorite aspect of this product is that it uses two different screw-on lids; one for an airtight seal and the other is a hollowed out cap great for using as a travel cup.
With this thermos you will need to stop and pour to enjoy a drink. Great once you get to a location, not so great for the commute there.
Made of food-grade stainless steel (on both the inner and outer chambers) it eliminates the metallic aftertaste that lower grades leave behind.
This thermos comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, no questions asked.
Contigo Auto Seal
If you only need a few hours of heat retention and would like to have something smaller to carry with you, the Contigo Auto Seal is a great option. It is a two pack that comes with a 20-ounce water bottle and a 16-ounce stainless steel travel mug, both of which are vacuum insulated.
It is recommended that you hand wash the bottles, but at least the lids are dishwasher safe (top-rack only)!
The Contigo Auto Seal comes with a lifetime guarantee, like all Contigo products.
The Best Coffee Thermos for Hunters
Of course, if you want the best, then you have to go to Thermos themselves! The Thermos Vacuum Insulated 68 oz Stainless Steel Beverage Bottle gets my vote. It is big, strong, great for all-day hydration, and of the quality, you would expect from Thermos. The thermos is competitively priced and is less than half the cost of the flask from Stanley.
If you don’t mind its bulk and weight, this Thermos is perfect as a larger bottle. Plus, it comes with a shoulder strap, which you can use when you aren’t shouldering a rifle. A little extra weight in your pack is a small price to pay for piping hot coffee all morning long.
Frequently asked questions
How do I know if it is Dishwasher safe?
Never assume a flask is dishwasher safe. It could affect the vacuum seal and cause leakage as well as damage the aesthetic of the bottle.
This will affect the ability of the bottle to keep beverages at the desired temperature and could cause the liquid to get caught in between the stainless steel chambers. If you put milk in your coffee, this can be disastrous.
It’s always best to read the product description if you are looking for one that is dishwasher safe. These bottles typically come with care instructions, you should follow those for the best results. If the care instructions say not to put it in the dishwasher and you do, this could void any warranty.
I have found that most will say on the bottom whether or not that are safe to clean in the dishwasher. If you misplace the car instructions, paying attention to this could help ensure the quality of your flask.
Will these fit under a Keurig?
Keurigs come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure to measure yours before buying a flask. Most will accommodate a cup 5-7” high after removing the drip tray, you ma have to tilt the cup and hold it while the coffee pours.
An easy fix if your flask is too tall if to brew the coffee into a normal mug and simply pour it into the flask. This does dirty and extra mug, but it’s an easy thing to clean it and put it away.
Will my beverage taste metallic?
This depends on you and the flask you order. Some of these recommended flasks are made with 18/8 stainless steel to prevent the metallic flavor you get in your beverages from cheaper flasks. This is food-grade stainless steel.
Always wash the flask well before you use it, this helps to eliminate the metallic taste. If even after washing the flask does give the beverage a metallic flavor, a trick to get rid of it is to use vinegar (the number of uses vinegar has astounds me).
Fill the bottle halfway with vinegar and the rest of the way with hot water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, make sure to wash it well so you aren’t swapping the metallic flavor for the taste of vinegar.
Can I safely drink directly from the bottle?
Some of these bottles come with cups, so it makes sense to wonder why, and if it is okay to drink right from the bottle.
It is safe to drink directly from all of these bottles, though with some you have to be more careful than others. The ones that come with a lid which doubles as a cup tend to have wider openings and are more prone to spillage, on the bright side, the wide opening does make it easier to hand wash these bottles.
If you want to drink from the bottle one-handed, perhaps on your commute, you should get one that allows you to do so safely. For example, don’t get one with a screw on top as it will be difficult to unscrew the top one-handed and these tend to have the wider opening.
Get one with a flip-top if you want to drink one-handed, otherwise just be careful when drinking directly from the bottle.
Is it worth it to get one with a shoulder strap?
This is up to you and how important it is to you to have your hands free.
It’s a good idea if you like your hands free when walking out to your blind or back to the car. It makes that walk easier, as you don’t have to carry the flask it allows you to carry whatever doesn’t come with a strap.
If you carry your rifle on one shoulder, carry the flask on the other and enjoy the freedom it offers. For you to carry whatever else you need.
It’s also a good way to eliminate the chances of leaving the flask behind. Keep it on the strap and you won’t lose it like you may have in the past. There are plenty of hunters who have left theirs in the blind or on the trail, if you don’t want to be one of them but fear you may, invest in one with a strap.
Are these spill proof?
These above flasks are spill proof as long as you follow directions. Hand washing with preventing any part of the bottle, seal, and lid from getting warped in the dishwasher.
With both the screw on and flip tops, these bottles were made with spill-proof technology and shouldn’t leak even if knocked over. Always make sure the lid is screwed on tightly and correctly so if it falls over you don’t lose your coffee.
Other Posts you may like…
For great hunting knife reviews and advice for hunters and fishermen, check out these posts on the best sharpener for survival knives, how to clean a hunting knife, and the best electric fillet knives.
There’s something special about grinding coffee beans the old way. Check out my recommendation for the best coffee grinder.
Hunting is thirsty work! Add an insulated water bottle to your arsenal. And when it’s time for a beer, get the best koozie for the job.
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: ileftmysocks and Davide D.