While an insulated water bottle, travel mug, or coffee vessel might work for most days, a thermos is a must when spending time in sweltering heat (or the bitter cold). It will keep hot beverages hot for hours on end—or cold drinks cold—and you'll be able to toss it around without worrying about leaks.
Here are 15 different thermoses to consider, from small and lightweight bottles to large, heavy-duty containers.
This stainless-steel, BPA-free bottle from Hydro Flask has a small enough diameter that it can fit in a backpack side pouch or a standard cupholder. While it won't give you quite the same heat-retention capabilities of a heavier-duty thermos, it'll still keep beverages hot for up to six hours (or cold for 24), and it's lightweight, durable, and available in several colors. Fill it with ice water before a hike, and it'll still be cold at the summit; hot tea or coffee will stay well above lukewarm for hours.
Dishwasher-safe, with a comfortable carry handle, this YETI bottle is perfect if you're carrying water for two on a short trip—or if you're bringing your first pot of coffee to work with you. Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps the outside at room temperature, to prevent the bottle from sweating or burning your hand.
True to its name, the Ceramivac bottle from Stanley feels like a ceramic mug on the outside—but retains heat much longer. It also has silicone footpads on the base to improve traction and keep it from tipping over, making it a good vessel to keep on your desk throughout the day.
Stanley's Master Vacuum bottle is an updated take on the classic stopper + lid thermos design. The stopper prevents the contents from spilling; the stainless-steel lid doubles as a cup for the bottle's contents, and is insulated as well to keep your coffee or soup hotter longer than a regular mug or bowl. The bottle itself can keep its contents on the appropriate side of the temperature spectrum for a truly impressive 27 hours.
If it's hot liquid like coffee that you care about most, Klean Kanteen designed this wide-mouth vessel for just that purpose. Holding heat for up to ten hours, the bottle's wide cap is perfect for coffee, easy to clean, and seals up for leakproof peace of mind. It also doesn't hurt that it comes in 15 different colors.
Keeping your beverage cold for 24 hours and warm for six hours, CamelBak's Vacuum stainless-steel water bottle is beloved by Amazon customers, scoring a 4.4 stars out of five. Its magnetic cap helps easily stow the cap while drinking, and its daylong cool makes the bottle perfect for hikes. Keep in mind, though, that its cap design maybe isn't the best for hotter liquids.
Thermos' name is synonymous with, well, thermoses, and it's hardly surprising that its many insulated containers remain among the best-selling and highly rated. The 40-ounce Work Series Thermos is one of the company's more heavy-duty models, which promises to keep drinks hot or cold for up to 24 hours and also to tough job-site conditions. If you don't need quite that level of durability, you can save a bit with the standard model.
There's no shortage of people who buy Zojirushi's insulated water bottles, and the company's larger bottles and containers are equally well-regarded. This one is an ample 68 ounces with a large mouth opening, making it easier to clean than narrower thermoses. You'll also get a collapsible handle and a carrying strap for easy transportation.
Another of the most time-tested thermoses around, Stanley's Classic Vacuum Bottle is available in a range of sizes (and two different colors)—all of which come with a lifetime warranty and the same rugged design. The standard 1.1-quart container promises to keep drinks hot or cold for up to 24 hours (other sizes vary slightly), and the eight-ounce insulated lid will hold a decent-size cup of coffee.
YETI's gear can be pricey, but the company promises that you'll get your money's worth. The 64-ounce bottle is the largest in the company's Rambler line and has a wide mouth to make pouring (and cleaning) easy. The real selling point, however, is the Rambler's durability, which YETI says will hold up in the harshest conditions.
MiiR's smaller wide-mouth bottles can serve you as well as an everyday water bottle, but the company also produces a larger version that's more thermos than bottle. It's available in your choice of three different powder-coated colors, and promises to keep beverages hot for 12 hours or cold for 24 thanks to its double-walled design and so-called Temp Deflector lid.
You can find cheaper thermoses, but if you just want a small and simple stainless-steel one you likely won't be disappointed with L.L. Bean's 24-ounce bottle. It comes with what the company describes as "unbreakable, double-walled construction" that will keep drinks hot or cold "for hours." As a bonus, you can also take advantage of L.L. Bean's engraving service if you're giving one as a gift.
You can use any thermos for soup or another hot lunch, but if you're regularly doing so you may be better off with a more purpose-built container like Thermos' Stainless King Food Jar. It'll keep your meal hot for up to 12 hours (or keep things cold for up to 24), and you'll have an easier time both filling the container and eating or drinking from it, whether it's straight from the thermos or from the insulated lid that doubles as a serving bowl.
With the Food Flask, Hydro Flask's minimalist design is on full display, but don't let its simple look fool you. This leakproof flask keeps things cold or hot for three hours and even longer if you can squirrel this guy away inside a cooler. This means you can prep your hot stew in the morning and still have a warm meal by the lunchtime. But be sure to remember that the Food Flask is not microwave safe.
Klean Kanteen's smaller food canisters are great options if you're bringing a couple different things into work as leftovers, or out on the road for a picnic or trail lunch. For foods that need to be warm, simply reheat at home before putting into the canister. Leakproof stainless steel keeps odors from escaping, and cleans easily. It also comes in a single-walled version, if you care less about temperature maintenance.