Whether in route to work or to the campground, we all have a favorite food or drink that is best served at its peak temperature. Coffee is best served piping hot, while refreshing milk is best enjoyed after it has been chilled to perfection. Keeping these drinks and more at peak temperature can be challenging when you head outdoors…that is, unless you pack your favorite thermos for your journey.
While the technology behind thermoses dates back nearly a century, modern workers and outdoorsmen alike still cherish these specialized containers when it comes time to pack along their favorite temperature-sensitive food or beverage. While a thermos is a must-have for these situations, finding the best thermos to fit your needs and your budget can be a challenge.
Luckily, you need not struggle by picking through endless thermos listings online. This guide will provide you all of the clarity you need by providing you with insight into the qualities you should look for in a high-performing thermos. More importantly, this guide’s list of the 9 best thermoses for outdoor use will surely include a model for every member of your family.
Now’s a great opportunity to add a new thermos to your daily commute or camping gear kit! Read on and learn about the difference a purpose-built thermos can make in your adventures outdoors.
The best 9 thermos for outdoor
Last update on 2019-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Thermos Stainless King 40 Ounce Beverage Bottle
The generic name “thermos” derives from the Thermos brand, so it only makes sense that they have a wide selection of options when it comes to vacuum-sealed containers. This model stands out as one of their standard models, ideal for almost all outdoor uses. That’s because this model is able to keep both hot and cold liquids at their intended temperature for a full 24 hours, thanks to its capabilities of its patented vacuum insulation technology.
That’s not all, though. This model also provides a great deal of practicality in its construction. This can be seen its integrated carrying handle as well as its twist-and-pour stopper. Moreover, this model’s cap doubles as a 7 oz. cup, making it a great all-in-one liquid transportation option.
- Comes in timeless color options including black, red, and stainless steel
- Patented vacuum insulation technology seals in heat and cold for up to 24 hours
- Twist-and-pour stopper allows for a tight seal that is easy to manually adjust
- Integrated carrying handle can withstand long-term wear from regular use
- Cap doubles as a 7 oz. cup
- Metal handle makes noise when not secured
- Mouth opening not large enough for square ice cubes
2. Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle
Many folks associate the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle’s appearance and performance with their fathers, given how common this particular thermos has been over the past several decades. But indeed, anyone can make use of this “legendary” vacuum bottle to carry everything from hot coffee to ice cold water. To this end, this model’s core performance is unrivaled with its ability to keep hot and cold liquids at their respective temperatures for between 40 and 45 hours.
This model’s construction is also worth writing home about. With a 18/8 stainless steel exterior, you won’t ever see rust tarnishing this thermos’ iconic “Hammertone” green exterior. You’ll also be able to pop your Stanley Classic in the dishwasher when it comes time to clean it, making it a low-maintenance and low-cost option (if you buy it online, that is).
- 18/8 stainless steel exterior is rust-proof and resilient
- Double-wall vacuum insulation system locks in heat for 40 hours, cold for 45 hours
- Interior is BPA-free and dishwasher safe
- Comes in classic Hammertone green and matte black
- Affordably priced when purchased online
- Not made in the USA
- Some problems with the seal if not cleaned properly
3. Thermos Funtainer 10 Ounce Food Jar
The Thermos Funtainer makes up the core of its brand’s kid-centric offerings, with this particular model representing the best thermos option for use in a child’s school or field trip lunch box. This can be seen immediately across this model’s exterior, which comes in 32 different aesthetic variations that include everything from vibrant colors to popular entertainment characters from Captain Marvel, Pokémon, Minecraft.
Notably, the Funtainer has been optimized for children’s hands. To be precise, this model remains cool to the touch when filled with hot liquids. In the same vein, this model does not sweat when filled with cold liquids. Combine that with the ability to keep its contents at temperature for 5 to 7 hours and you have one versatile thermos option for your kids.
- Uses well-regarded proprietary vacuum insulation technology
- Double wall stainless steel construction ensures structural integrity
- Neither sweats nor burns when filled with cold or hot liquids, respectively
- Comes in 32 kid-friendly designs, including bright colors and popular characters
- Should be hand washed to prevent exterior degradation
- Plastic gasket moves out of place easily
4. Thermos Funtainer 12 Ounce Bottle
As the larger variant on the standard Funtainer, this model provides slightly more when it comes to space and temperature preservation. Even at its full 12 ounce capacity, this model can keep cold beverages chilled for a full 12 hours. Though this model cannot be used with hot liquids, it has been optimized for hands-on use, as seen in its push-button lid and built-in straw.
Of course, this model doesn’t stray far from its brand when it comes to core construction. This model’s durable stainless steel interior and exterior maintains its functionality even after an impact or two. Your kids will certainly keep this thermos close at hand, especially if you pick their favorite color or design from the nearly 30 options available online.
- Used hygienic, push-button lid to access built-in straw
- Can keep 12 ounces of cold liquid chill for up to 12 hours
- Durable stainless steel interior and exterior maintains functionality
- Comes in 30 different exterior designs, including vibrant colors and beloved characters
- Cannot be used for hot liquids
- Exterior coating may chip after a few drops
5. Thermos Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 10-Ounce Straw Bottle
Regular plastic sippy cups are flimsy at best and are unable to keep their contents cool for any longer than an hour. Fortunately, a better option is available in the form of this Thermos Straw Bottle. Thermos has engineered this model to be used by children as young as 18 months, as can be seen its uniquely contoured form factor. Though not listed as such, this model is part of Thermos’ kid-focused Foogo product line.
In terms of construction, this model offers a parent most everything they could ask for. All components in this model are made from BPA-free plastics or durable stainless steel, ensuring its long-term safety and reliability. These components are additionally dishwasher safe, making it easy to keep your child’s new favorite thermos sanitized.
- 10-ounce size and contoured body ideal for children as young as 18 months old
- Made from BPA-free plastics and durable stainless steel
- Part of Thermos’ parent-approved Foogo line of products
- All components are top rack dishwasher safe
- Difficult to obtain replacement lids
- Cannot be used with hot liquids
6. Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG Stainless Steel Mug
Though its name may be harder to say, the Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG’s performance is certainly memorable. That starts at it mouth, which is wide enough to accept full-sized ice cubes and is secured through a locking flip-open mechanism. This mechanism itself is made from BPA-free plastics, as are all plastics components on this model.
Meanwhile, this model’s 18/8 stainless steel interior features a unique component unseen in its competitors. This brand’s proprietary “SlickSteel” finish allows this metallic interior to remain even more durable over years of use, not to mention far more sanitary. You’ll even be able to purchase the Zojirushi SM-KHE48AG in a color to match your personality, with champagne gold, emerald green, and lavender options available online.
- Mouth is wide enough to fit full-sized ice cubes
- Unique “SlickSteel” finish is both durable and sanitary
- Flip-open cap can be secured to prevent accidental openings
- 5-year warranty against defects
- Only keeps contents at proper temperature for 6 hours
- Components sustain cosmetic and functional damage if cleaned in a dishwasher
7. Cresimo Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Carafe/Double Walled Vacuum Thermos
Sometimes, your outdoor adventures require a little extra when it comes to keeping your favorite hot or cold drink at hand. That’s where this Cresimo thermal coffee carafe and double-walled vacuum thermos comes into place. This model can store up to 68 ounces of liquid at peak temperature for 12 and 24 hours for hot and cold beverages, respectively.
This model’s carafe-style construction also lends itself to user-friendliness. This can be seen in its single-hand pouring method, which itself makes it easy to use while entertaining outdoors. If this carafe is tipped over, though, you’ll be able to count on its spill-proof top to prevent a messy disaster.
- Can maintain cold beverages for 24 hours and hot beverages for 12 hours
- Double-walled thermal carafe construction ensures resilience against impacts
- Single-hand pouring method is ideal for outdoor entertaining
- Top is spill-proof
- Challenging to clean without boiling the whole carafe
- Vacuum seal may degrade if allowed to rapidly change temperatures often
8. Thermos Stainless King 16 Ounce Food Jar with Folding Spoon
Camping, in particular, requires you to keep your packing to a minimum. But that doesn’t mean you need to leave your favorite hot or cold foods and drinks at home! This compact Thermos brand food jar shows this to be true, given its ability to tote 16 ounces of contents into the woods while also maintaining its temperature for between 9 and 14 hours.
Versatility is also essential for any experienced camper. This model provides in this department as well, as best seen in its lid-based serving bowl. This model even includes a collapsible metal spoon in its handle, making it a great option for those who want to minimize their load while heading outdoors.
- Can keep fresh foods cold for 14 hours and hot foods piping for 9 hours
- Lid doubles as a serving bowl
- Comes with collapsible spoon that fits snuggly into lid
- Comes in four non-flashy colors, including army green and midnight blue
- Lacks a handle of any kind
- Pricey considering modest volume
9. Pykal SplashProof Coffee Carafe with Adjustable Nozzle
Simply put, no other high-quality thermos on the market today can match the Pykal SplashProof coffee carafe’s raw capacity. While this model’s 120 ounce interior chamber may surprise you at first, you’ll be further surprised to learn that it can keep all of its contents at temperature for a full 24 hours. Though this requires pre-heating, such high end performance is well-worth the extra effort.
Operating this carafe-style thermos is also surprisingly intuitive, as primarily demonstrated by its pump action dispensing mechanism. You won’t even need to jostle with your cup to attain this carafe’s contents because it uses an adjustable nozzle system that transfers the carafe’s contents without splashing it all over.
- Pump action dispensing mechanism is surprisingly user-friendly
- Nozzle is adjustable to fit cup height and cuts down on splashing
- Can hold a whopping 120 oz of liquid for the same price as competitors at half the size
- German temperature retention system has been lab-tested for up to 24 hours of efficiency
- Warranty only available when bought online through Pykal
- Requires pre-heating to reach peak heat retention capacity
What to consider when buying a thermos
As the high-performing models above demonstrate, not just any old thermos will suffice when it comes to meeting the rigors of use outdoor. Of course, these models were not simply chosen randomly; rather, we determined that each of these models deserved recognition based upon their outstanding specifications and performance in the field.
We’re not here to keep secrets, though. As such, we want to share the criteria we used to evaluate each of the above models with hopes that you’ll use these same criteria while you complete your own independent comparison shopping. With these criteria in mind, we believe that you’ll absolutely find the best thermos to fit your personalized needs and budget.
At its very core, a thermos is a specialized container designed to preserve its contents at the user’s desired temperature. As such, a thermos’ internal capacity can go a long way towards differentiating itself based upon your anticipated needs. For example, while some folks only need a small thermos to accommodate their children’s hydration needs, others may desire a larger carafe-style thermos in order to keep their daily coffee palatably warm.
When it comes to thermos listings, “capacity” and “volume” are often used interchangeably. As such, you should remain vigilant for volume-based measurements when determining how much a particular thermos is able to hold. While most small and medium-sized thermoses denote their capacity in ounces (oz), some larger models may denote their storage capacity in liters.
Temperature preservation capabilities
In addition to capacity, most thermoses are fundamentally compared based upon their built-in ability to preserve their contents at a palatable temperature. As anyone who has ever held a hot cup of coffee or a sweating can of soda can surmise, not all food and beverage containers are able to performing this task. Thermoses, as it turns out, actually use a specialized convection method to ensure that contents within the holding chamber remain uniform for as many as 40 hours.
To this end, most thermos manufactures communicate their models’ temperature preservation capabilities in a measurement of hours. While smaller models typically carry ratings between 5 and 7 hours, some larger, reinforced models are able to keep their contents piping hot or ice cold for 24 hours or more.
Also, a thermos’ temperature preservation capabilities may be determined heavily by its internal construction components. Typically, a thermos’ inner chamber is made of a specially-coated glass that ensures a uniform distribution of heat throughout the internal vacuum chamber. However, many brands also make use of stainless steel chambers that are equally efficient while also remaining sanitary and durable.
If you intend to take your thermos outdoors, then you absolutely must take durability into account. The great outdoors has a tendency to cause accidents to occur, so it is essential that you pick out a product that can remain sturdy and productive in the face of unexpected impacts.
Store-bought thermoses tend to feature plastic exteriors. While these models are cheap, they are also prone to breakage after even a single impact. As such, a wise shopper should invest their money into a more reliable, metal-encased thermos. These can be made from any number of resilient metals, though most use a specialized steel with a wear-resistant coating (such as powder coating).
Cap seal quality
If thermoses suffer from any single chronic shortcoming, it is their tendency to leak through the cap after a period of use. For those that use their thermos every day, this can be a real hassle that may necessitate a costly replacement down the road. As such, a mindful thermos shopper should always evaluate a prospective model’s cap seal quality before hitting the “buy now” button.
Compared to other thermos specifications, this quality is firmly based on objective performance. As such, one of the best places to look for information on a given model’s seal quality is in the user reviews. If you notice any trends within these reviews, you’ll be better able to decide in favor of or against that particular model.
Tips for maintaining your new thermos
In order to keep your new thermos at peak functionality, you must care for it according to its manufacturer’s instructions. At the same time, maintaining your thermos also means ensuring that it remains fully sanitary from use to use.
Each thermos requires different types of routine maintenance, often depending on what materials they are made from. However, the following tips will help most stainless steel thermos owners attain the most functional use out of their new favorite vacuum-sealed container:
- Always clean your thermos with warm, soapy water before using it for the first time
- Never microwave your thermos to pre-heat it
- Always leave some space below the thermos cap to prevent dangerous spillage
- Do not immerse your thermos in water to ensure that the vacuum chamber does not become compromised
- Do not store carbonated drinks in a thermos, as the released pressure may cause the cap to dislodge forcefully
For more visual tips on cleaning your thermos, consider checking out this video:
All in all, a purpose-built thermos can be a game-changer when it comes to keeping your favorite foods and drinks at their most-optimal temperature. At the same time, a properly-sized thermos can also be productive when it comes to keeping your kids hydrated and well-fed when they head to school or into the great outdoors. Though it may take some time to compare every top-tier model based upon their functional and aesthetic qualities, you can be sure that your time investment will pay off when you find the best thermos to meet your needs and budget. Be sure to keep this guide close at hand when you decide to