Gear Review:Coffee Travel Mug

Test crop (Lto R): Starbucks, ceramic, insulated aluminum, Contigo, Thermos

I can not help it. I love to drink coffee and often I can not sit and wax poetic while I sit and drink a cup of Peet’s Major Dickanson’s Blend and I have to take my cup of love with me. Throughout my varied travels with hot liquids I have used different vessels with some success and a lot of spilling. About a month ago my ‘precious’ (coworkers name given to my mug) disappeared. Thousands of man-hours spent searching and untold monetary rewards would not bring her back to me. Because I like to take my coffee with me I already had a few others in the cabinet, one a sibling of my lost love. This sibling was broken and had suffered some damage, making it an unworthy replacement so I started a search for a new mug.

You are sitting there at your stationary desk thinking that I have lost my mind and how can this guy really be writing about this. Well my friend it is the little things. Until you have watched your black gold roll across your upholstery like a tsunami or think that you will have a hot sip of love after an extended camp tear down but find a cold kiss, this will be meaningless. Let’s start with what I lost..

My precious was purchased nearly a decade ago at the Alma Coffee House on my first trip to Moab. The illustration of a Schwinn Orange Crate on the side caught my eye. As the years rolled by stickers of travels adorned the side and brought back memories of trips past. I loved it so that I bought another, third from left, but it proved inferior. My precious was not perfect but I accepted her shortcomes and took care not to anger her or else I would pay the price. If I did not place her in the cup holder just right off with the lid. Spilling contents about the truck or me. Well, she is gone and I have found a newer, younger model. Lets get to the mugs.

I will comment moving from left to right on the mugs pictured above. Yes, there are other types out there. I felt this represented a wide selection. Have ever looked inside of a styrofoam cup after drinking coffee out of it? There is a line where your hot beverage melted away part of the cup and you ingested it! Yumm! Anyway, here we go.



  • Reusable, that is why it has green and Eco all over it.
  • Securely seals, when you seal it.
  • Somewhat insulated.
  • Durable.


  • It’s from Starbuck’s.
  • Small volume.
  • Sealing mechanism holds liquid that dribbles out.
  • Sealing mechanism is manual and requires two hands to operate.
  • It’s from Starbuck’s.



  • Holds decent amount of coffee.


  • Fragile.
  • Hard to hold if you lose the condom around it.
  • Does not self-seal.
  • It is my wife’s and I hate the color.

INSULATED ALUMINUM (younger sister to my precious)


  • Fairly well insulated.
  • Manually seals.
  • Steel liner allows for cleaning.


  • You can never replace the original.
  • Fragile, dropped and the plastic exterior is separated from steel liner.
  • Lid is not secure and will eject when dropped.



  • Well insulated.
  • Self-sealing.
  • Stainless interior.
  • Secure lid.
  • Holds perfect amount of coffee.
  • Durable.


  • There is a technique to drinking so that you don’t drip on yourself.



  • Holds a lot of coffee.
  • Fairly well insulated.
  • Durable.
  • Secure lid.


  • Top heavy and will tumble out of my cup holder during braking.
  • Manual sealing mechanism.

Winner: Contigo

As you can see from the picture I have already started to adorn her with stickers. This cup has actually caused me to change the amount of coffee I make in the morning. It keeps the coffee so hat that I can not drink what was my usual amount. I am not complaining because I like my coffee HOT. It is also rubberized on the bottom for grip and protection. My testing was purely anecdotal, no probing was allowed. Sorry. If you feel that you just have to have one get yourself over to Costco and you can have 2 for $20.


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