Gear Junkie: The All Purpose Camping Mug


You’d think that hiking and camping could be fairly inexpensive hobbies, but somehow that’s not how things work out for me. It’s almost as if there’s an unwritten Law of Camping Physics that requires that I spend a buttload of money at REI before every outing. In reality, the more serious I become about getting back to nature, the more my gear addiction grows.

The problem with REI is that the gear they sell is almost always really, really good. Sure, it’s expensive. Sure, a lot of it is frivolous. But I’ve almost never bought anything there that wasn’t durable, perfectly suited to its purpose, and — not unimportantly — aesthetically pleasing. In that sense, what you buy is a good deal even if it isn’t inexpensive.

All of this said, my absolute favorite recent REI purchase is this plastic Thermo mug. I had been needing a good camping mug and was very tempted by the Snow Peak Titanium Double-Wall Cup. However, I became a little disenchanted with this titanium marvel when a friend told me that it tends to get uncomfortably hot when you fill it with hot liquids, despite the double-wall construction. That, and the fact that it costs $37.95! Looking for another option, I discovered the Thermo mug, far more moderately priced — only $3.95 when I bought it, but since raised to $4.50 — and at 6 ounces only 1.8 ounces heavier than its titanium counterpart.

Immediately after buying my Thermo mug, I had the barrista who works the REI coffee stand make me an americano in it. He was worried that the hot water would shatter the plastic, but the mug survived this ordeal — and the outside stayed cool to the touch!

I’ve since taken the Thermo mug on several camping trips and it has become my one essential utensil. Of course it’s perfect for holding tea and coffee, but I’ve also used it for oatmeal, soup, chili, cous-cous and curry, etc. It’s got handy ounce measurements on one side (perfect for making oatmeal) and seems to be virtually indestructible.

Before leaving for another camping trip this weekend, the boyfriend and I are going to stop at REI to pick up one for him. Which means we’ll probably end up dropping a buttload of money on other odds and ends that suddenly seem utterly indispensable.

3 Comments so far

  1. John Eddy (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 9:12 am

    > other odds and ends that suddenly seem utterly indispensable.

    If you have wide mouth nalgene or other polycarb bottles, I highly recommend the splashguard *and* the gription from I know REI had the splashguard last I looked (much nicer than nalgenes model) and they should be getting in the Gription soon too. No, I’m not related to the company, but they did show me some great customer service, so I’ll evangelise them :)

  2. naiah (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 1:51 pm

    Ha! My husband is a total gearhound, too. (I might be, but I’m hiding in denial.) We love REI for clothes, kids’ shoes, and of course those little luxuries that make that ‘just a little farther out’ just a little more pleasant. Everybody loves new toys! Whee!

  3. Brian Fey (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 6:28 pm

    Garg! I want one! But I am too far away!

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.