Thirst for Adventure

Adventure is a thirsty business, so whether you’re making an early drive from camp with a hot cup of coffee, or passing around some craft whiskey by the fire, it’s best to have the right container for the job. Buy the wrong one, and you might end up with a leaking mess all over your car or yourself. So when Stanley gave me the chance to try out three of their new “Hydration Products” I jumped at the opportunity.

Mountain Vacuum Switchback Mug

Now I’ve been using the same green Stanley thermos for years, so I had high hopes for this mug. It checked all the basic boxes like double wall vacuum insulation, sturdy design, and a dishwasher safe core, but it also packed some features I didn’t even know I wanted. Take for example the grit guard on top of the lid. It flips over the drinking surface when you’re on the go, keeping debris off the lip and out of your drink. It’s perfect for a day on the trail, where dust is usually swirling about the truck and settling inside the cab.

There’s also the push button lid, which happens to be my favorite feature. It keeps your beverage sealed, preventing splashes and spills on the road, and opens when you depress the button on the back side of the mug. It’s easy and feels natural to do, just grab the cup, tilt, and drink. No more unscrewing lids or watching coffee drip down the mug while driving.

My only complaint is that the matte black version shows wear after riding in a cup holder for extended periods. This is typical of most matte finishes, but it happened more quickly than I would have liked.

The switchback is available in a matte black or stainless steel finish, carries a lifetime warranty, and is rated to keep fluids hot for 5 hours, cold for 7 hours, or iced for 24 hours. Prices start at $30 USD and can be purchased from Stanley’s website here. 

Adventure Vacuum Quencher

At first glance I thought this was the most ridiculous cup I had ever seen. It looked like someone had made a high priced reusable big gulp, complete with plastic straw. However, upon further inspection, I could see it being useful for those who drink iced tea or sodas. The cup has a larger drink capacity than the aforementioned switchback, and still retains the sturdy construction and double wall insulation we love. In fact it even boasts a higher ice rating of 30 hours, so your drink will stay frosty all day. There’s also a three position lid, one for the straw, one for closed, and one for normal drinking.

The only problem with this cup is the straw. For example, if you decide that you want to close the cup, you must remove the straw entirely and place it… somewhere else. For me this was a deal breaker. If you’re going to carry a reusable straw in a three position cup, there should be a place to store it, or at least a way to use all three positions without having to put the straw down on your car or desk. Good concept, poor execution.

The Vacuum quencher is available for $20 USD, and more information can be found on the Stanley website here.

Stainless Steel Flask

Our final item was Stanley’s classic stainless steel flask. This simple, rugged container sports their signature green finish with a polished stainless steel accent on the bottom. As you’d expect, the cap is leak proof, and days of bouncing around in our bags on rough trails confirmed its packable claim.

The flask has a heft to it, and feels good in your hand, so I was disappointed to find the cap made of plastic. While I feel confident that the “integrated lanyard” will hold up, I would have gladly paid a few more dollars for a stainless steel version.

Unfortunately, the flask is not machine washable like the other two cups we reviewed, but I don’t feel a machine wash would do much good anyway with its small spout.

Prices start at $20 USD, and more information can be found on the Stanley website here.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Senior Editor while living full-time on the road.