Going the Distance: The 9 Best Travel Mugs

There’s a lot of travel mugs and commuter cups that claim to be “thermal” but most of them are just cheap imitators made in China that couldn’t keep a cup of coffee at the ideal 198-205 degree temperature that the true drinker demands. Don’t get ripped off by any second-rate piece of plastic with a styrofoam insulator that claims it will keep your hot beverages hot and your cold beverages cool for long drives and longer days at the office. Go with one of our picks for the best travel mug and drink happy.

Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop

Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop

This is the most affordable vacuum seal mug you can find. It’s ideal for the commuter thanks to the simple, one-handed flip design. It is guaranteed to be completely leak proof whether you are shaking it, rocking it, or rattling it. Stands up to the worst you can throw at it for those times when you just need a little caffeine after you roll your car. Works for both righties and lefties with equal ease. Large enough for even the hardiest coffee fiend and simple to use. If you need style and substance without dropping a lot of dough, the Contigo has you covered. Comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. [Purchase: $21]

Suns Tea Double-Wall Glass Mug

Sun’s Tea Double-Wall Glass Mug

If stainless steel isn’t right for you, then Sun’s double glass mug is your ideal choice. It seals in your hot beverages and can be shaken without spilling a drop. The double glass insulation keeps your coffee piping hot for hours, just like the best thermal carafes. For those that prefer an iced drink, it works equally well at keeping your liquids frosty. Just don’t drop it or you’ll end up with a very sharp drink. It also doesn’t have a nozzle or other way to sip your coffee, so you might want to let it cool lest it scald your mouth like fresh pizza. [Purchase: $16]

Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug

Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug

When Stanley does something, be it tools or mugs, they do it right. You’ll want a Stanley Vac mug for those hard days fighting off Kodiak bears, building a log cabin, or ice road trucking. It comes in sizes ranging from 12 to 20oz so you can get as little or as much caffeine as you need. It has smooth one-handed operation for those times when you need your coffee but just can’t drop the nail gun. Rugged, rough, and ready, it takes a licking without batting an eye. Can be disassembled and run through the dishwasher for a deeper clean. [Purchase: $15-$39]

Thermos Nissan Tea Tumbler with Infuser

Thermos Nissan Tea Tumbler with Infuser

Know someone from across the pond that prefers Earl Grey to Folger’s dark roast? Then they need the Nissan Tea Tumbler. It uses a vacuum seal to lock in heat and freshness, but gives you a wire basket infuser that keeps your tea bag from dissolving in your drink. Also works perfectly for those that like to add tea bags or flavored packets to their coffee for a titillating taste addition. The only down side is that it is hard to drink from on the go, so if you have a long drive ahead of you, the Tea Tumbler might not be what you need. Spill proof screw on cap. [Purchase: $30]

Trudeau Donoti Desk Mug

Trudeau Donoti Desk Mug

This the perfect choice you for the klutzes of the world. It is far too wide to fit in a car’s cup holder, but it is extremely sturdy and great for anyone with butterfingers. The stainless steel thermal reservoir won’t keep coffee or tea hot for hours on end, but it will retain heat better than a standard mug or a cheap piece of styrofoam. The covered lid also helps keep heat in. It works much better for hot beverages than cold. If you need a big thermal cup for the office that won’t let you spill, then the Donoti will do you proud. [Purchase: $15]

Liquid Solutions Sof-t Tumbler

Liquid Solutions Sof-t Tumbler

This is the mobile mug that can take abuse. It has a molded rubber exterior for an easy grip that will ensure you never fumble it and helps retain a constant internal temperature. The insides are pure stainless steel, so even if it does manage to escape your slippery fingers, it won’t break. It’s dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The vibrant colors might not appeal to some, but for those young at heart that need a basic commuter mug that can go the distance, the Sof-t is the obvious choice. [Purchase: $16]

Zojirushi Stainless Mug

Zojirushi Stainless Mug

You wouldn’t necessarily expect high technology in a mug built for morning commutes, but this stainless darling brings a level of thermal retention that is head and shoulders above the competition. The trick is using a partial vacuum so that there is a minimum of air surrounding the insulated walls of the mug. This will prevent heat from being sapped away by the environment. It’s great if you are camping or backpacking and need your caffeine jolt to be toasty warm, even on a snowy peak. The flip-top cap ensures almost no spilling even through the roughest rides. [Purchase: $32]

Thermos Vacuum Insulated

Thermos Vacuum Insulated

This is a tall drink of water. It gives a beastly 24oz capacity yet still fits in most cup holders. Like the Zojirishi, it uses a vacuum seal to prevent loss of heat or cold. It will protect your drink from losing its luster for hours longer than almost any other choice. It is a Thermos so you might have a little trouble drinking directly out of it since the design seems to be intended more for pouring than for direct imbibibing. Ideal for the true addict that needs to keep their caffeine buzz going all day long or works somewhere where the coffee is wretched. If you need to take your special blend on the go, this model will keep it fresh and hot. [Purchase: $25]

Snow Peak Kanpai Bottle 350

Snow Peak Kanpai Bottle 350

This is the backpacker’s buddy. It has a lid with a gel insert that can be put in the freezer to help keep drinks refrigerated even while scaling Kilimanjaro. The small size means you can take it just about anywhere without a lot of liquid weight. It has a double-walled, vacuum sealed interior that will prevent the elements from seeping away the heat or cold of your precious cargo. Want to celebrate your outdoor adventure with a frosty microbrew or steaming cup of Swiss roast, then pack it into the Kanpai. The only downside is the high cost thanks to the inventive thermal engineering. [Purchase: $86-$216]

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