Hydro Flask 12 oz Insulated Coffee Mug review: a java lover's best friend for camping

 Hydroflask 12 oz coffee mug on a rock.
Hydroflask 12 oz coffee mug on a rock.

Meet the reviewer

Hydro Flask 12 oz Insulated Coffee Mug: first impressions

If you're a coffee drinker, your mug matters. When you go camping, you can bring along the best camping coffee maker in the world to ensure the perfect brew when you wake up, but none of it matters if you have to sip it out of your battered old enamel mug that burns your hand every time you pick it up. Enter the Hydro Flask 12oz coffee mug.

Built for campers and anyone on the go who wants that tactile feel of a soft, weighty mug in the palm, this mug combines double-wall vacuum-insulation with Hydro Flask's soft touch finish for a mug that keeps your brew warm in the wild and feels like home. A functional handle makes it easy to tote around, while it's not too large to wrap your hands around.


• List price: $35 / £28.95
• Capacity: 12 oz / 355 ml
Weight: 10.5 oz / 300 g
Materials: Stainless steel
• Colors: Black, Birch, Indigo, Goji, Blue
• Best use: Car camping

Just fill it with your favorite warm (or cold) beverage to the fill line and press down the lid for a secure fit. The lid has a slider that makes it easy enough to sip from, though as always, you'll want to take care with very hot drinks. When it's closed, you can gesticulate wildly around the campfire without worrying about too much splashed.

This mug may not have the insulating power of Hydro Flask's water bottles like the 32oz Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel which can keep drinks warm for eight hours, but if you're a true coffee lover you don't want to be sipping from the same drink all day anyway. It keeps your drink hot or cold for as long as you'd reasonably want it to be warm or cold and it's dishwasher safe for easy maintenance.

Compared to other camping mugs, its on the weighty side but it's about the same as a ceramic mug at home. It doesn't fit in a cup holder, but it's great for car camping and stable on wobbly picnic tables and rocks. It's priced for those who want to the best, but if you're looking for something designed for heavy use, this will hold up.

Hydro Flask 12 oz Insulated Coffee Mug: in the field

Julia Clarke with the Hydroflask 12 oz coffee mug
Julia Clarke with the Hydroflask 12 oz coffee mug

I enjoy a great cup of coffee and bringing my AeroPress Go and camping stove along with me on an outing is a great way to ensure I start my day on the right foot. I often camp in my car to get an alpine start which means I can bring along some luxuries like my pillow from my bed and a proper mug for my morning jolt. I've been testing this travel mug out on my adventures since I received it a couple of months ago.

Here’s how it performed:

Insulation and leakproofing

Like all of Hydro Flask's mugs and bottles, this features double-wall vacuum insulation to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks hold while the outer material doesn't get hot or build condensation so it's always comfortable to hold. This mug doesn't keep things hot for days, but in my field test I filled it with boiling water and when I checked it after three and a half hours it will still warm enough to drink. All it really needs to do is keep my coffee hot while I drink it, which only takes a few minutes, and it excels at that thanks to the insulation and lid.

Speaking of the lid, don't think you can fill this with coffee and throw it in your backpack by any means, but it does a fine job of preventing splashing if I'm in a clumsy mood and if it topples off the rock I've perched it on it won't spill too much before I save it. I love that it has a fill line on the inside so I don't over fill it.

Hydroflask 12 oz coffee mug
Hydroflask 12 oz coffee mug

Weight, size and portability

Compared to other camping mugs, this is on the heavy side, but it's about the same weight as my ceramic mugs which I use at home so in my mind, it's perfect for its intended use, which is car camping and not backpacking.

The capacity is probably perfect. I tend to like a couple of shots of espresso with milk so I don't need a massive vessel, but it's large enough that I can have a proper mug of tea or could even use it for soup.

It's also great for toting around, much more functional than the Yeti Rambler 14oz  with a really functional handle and it's not so big that I can't just wrap my hands around the mug. Obviously, the design doesn't work for the cup holders in my car and the handle makes it less packable than more streamlined cups, but for carrying in hand it's ideal.

Versatility and durability

I've only used this mug for coffee and tea, but as I've mentioned it's suitable for soup and can hold a beer, too. It doesn't hold onto odors or tastes either so you can use it for whatever you want really.

As for durability, this is one sturdy piece of kit. The soft outer material isn't just nice to hold, it's dent-proof so this doesn't end up taking a bashing like their bottles.

Hydro Flask 12 oz Insulated Coffee Mug: the bottom line

If you want your morning coffee at camp to feel just like it does at home without worrying about breaking your ceramic mugs, this travel mug delivers everything you need and feels fantastic in your hand. If you want a more streamlined mug that you can slide into a backpack, check out the slightly cheaper (and less nice to hold) Yeti Rambler 10oz Tumbler.