Written By
Published Jul 30, 2022 10:35 AM

In these modern times, it’s a treat just to be able to get out and enjoy nature. The right gear helps you do that, whether you’re planning a short hike through the woods near your home, or a multi-day backpacking trip into the boondocks. In cold and hot weather, having the right camping mug can be just what you need to make any outdoor adventure perfect.     

To that end, we’ve put together a relatively simple list of the best camping mugs on the market. Take a look and find the right camping mug for you.

The GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker is geared toward the minimalist, lightweight style of camping gear. While the mug in itself doesn’t offer anything revolutionary that you can’t find in other cups, no others had the entire package. The dishwasher-safe, BPA-free polypropylene container comes in at just 3.5 ounces while capable of holding a whopping 17 ounces of liquid. The handle is a fabric strap that folds flat against the size of the cup, sliding perfectly into a standard outer pocket flap of most packs.

The manufacturers decided to forgo the double-wall vacuum insulation that’s become common among lounging mugs in favor of neoprene, which is easy to clean, lightweight, and has a large capacity for the price point. They also included handy measurement lines on the inside of the container for cooking. Your drinks won’t stay as cold or hot in the GSI as with many of the metal camping mugs, but this is offset by the removable cloth insulation cover, which still provides a respectable level of temperature control. For all these reasons, we recommend the GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker as the best overall camping mug for the savvy consumer.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Cost: $13
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Capacity: 17 ounces
PROS

Large capacity

Compact size

Lightweight

CONS

Limited insulation

Cloth cover must be washed separately

Best Quality

The Yeti Rambler follows in the footsteps of a long line of Yeti products renowned for their incredible insulating abilities. Whether you need to keep coffee hot at 10,000 feet in your basecamp at Mt. Rainier, or an adult beverage frosty-cold in the woods of south Florida, the Rambler can keep or reject heat for hours. It does this using double-walled insulation, with a vacuum in between the shells rather than air, massively reducing the heat-transfer properties of the mug. Several times I’ve finished a drink, left the ice in the Yeti, and placed the whole cup in the sink overnight. In the morning when I went to wash the dishes I found the ice was still solid. This insulation is no joke.

The pop-on lid also includes a mag-slider drinking opening, which allows you to slide the cover open and closed without a mechanical connection. When it’s time to clean the mug, the slide can be pried off with a bit of pressure and any residue underneath can be cleaned off. Drinking from the Rambler is comfortable and easy, though the lid is not leakproof. If you don’t press it down firmly after filling, it may leak when you tilt it back.

The Yeti Rambler isn’t cheap. You’ll pay more for the 10-ounce mug than similar offerings with much larger liquid capacities. However, the classic stainless steel design, myriad dishwasher-safe Duracoat color options, and hours’ worth of best-in-class insulation earn the Rambler our Best Quality recommendation.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Cost: $25
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 10 ounces
PROS

Hours-long double-wall vacuum insulation

Magslider removable drinking cap

Duracoat color coat (over 20 color choices)

CONS

Wide shape difficult to fit into cup holders

Smaller capacity than similar options

Best Backpacking Cup

The GRITR incorporates titanium to provide an extremely tough mug with the lightest weight of any mugs we reviewed. Anyone familiar with the infamous canteen cup holders of the military’s OD Green and BDU era will recognize the foldable metal handle designs, which can be used even when heating your coffee over the campfire. The GRITR cup was designed with the backpacker in mind. The whole assembly fits into a washable, lightweight mesh bag that can be clipped to the outside of a pack to preserve space.

Throw a small burner and fuel tank into your bag as well, and you can also quickly cook your meals in it, as the titanium construction makes the mug very thermally conductive. On the flip-side, this means any cold or hot drinks you put in it won’t stay that way for long. However, if you’re hiking, then that’s not really a factor.

On long hikes, when every ounce matters, the 3.2-ounce GRITR is an invaluable addition to your kit.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Cost: $28
  • Material: Titanium
  • Capacity: 15.2 ounces
PROS

Lightest weight of all reviewed mugs

Can be heated over direct flame

True lifetime warranty

CONS

Very thermally conductive, uninsulated

Lid doesn’t secure

The Otterbox Elevation Tumbler sets itself apart from the competition with a longer design and thinner base, giving it a larger capacity than similar products. The narrower shape makes it very easy to remove from a pack mid-stride, and the flip-open hydration lid functions like a sippy cup opening, ensuring minimal spillage as you walk. It will also fit most standard vehicle cup holders.

The insulation doesn’t come close to the dual-walled vacuum models, but the interior copper lining still provides perfectly adequate temperature retention for hot and cold drinks alike. With sufficient ice, the Otterbox Elevation Tumbler will keep your water icy all the way back to the trailhead.

While the weight is a little heavier than most similar designs, the slim profile, large capacity, and ergonomic drinking lid should earn the Otterbox a valued place in your day hiking gear.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 17 ounces
  • Cost: $28
  • Material: Stainless steel with internal copper lining
  • Capacity: 20 ounces
PROS

Large capacity

Easy-drinking lip

Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

Very large for the amount of liquid it holds

Smaller base may reduce stability when not stored in a bag pocket

Best Camping Cup

The Camelbak Horizon Camp Mug features a large capacity tumbler design with a wide, comfortable grip. The insulation is a dual-walled vacuum, which means your cold drinks stay cold for hours. At 12 ounces of capacity and a $24 price point, the Horizon Camp Mug gives the Yeti Rambler a run for its money.

While the tri-mode lid makes drinking a no-spill process, the slider can’t be removed for cleaning, which requires extra care if debris or mold ends up between the seams. This minor flaw is offset by its amazing non-slip silicone base, which prevents spills and protects the finish of any surface you may smash your coffee mug down onto.

With the same heat transfer properties as the Yeti Rambler and a larger capacity, the Camelbak Horizon Camp Mug earns its rating as the Best Camping Cup

While the weight is a little heavier than most similar designs, the slim profile, large capacity, and ergonomic drinking lid should earn the Otterbox a valued place in your day hiking gear.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Cost: $24
  • Material: Stainless steel with silicone base
  • Capacity: 12 ounces
PROS

Larger capacity than similar products (Yeti Rambler)

Hours-long double-wall vacuum insulation

Got Your Bak lifetime guarantee

CONS

Lid slider is not removable for cleaning

For the cost, the Life Gear Carabiner Mug is a great addition to your hiking gear. At 3.2 ounces, it’s tied for the lightest product we reviewed. The lack of a lid can be irritating, but this isn’t a “lounge around the camp” mug, it’s a “stick on your pack and go” mug. With repeated use, the screw attachments at the carabiner may begin to wobble, but that possible issue is countered by double-walled insulation, which is a great value at this low price point, and enough to keep your coffee piping hot as long as it takes you to drink it.

A minor annoyance is the enormous logo/sticker, which is wrapped around the entire cup. After one or two washes it will begin to tear and fade unless you remove it beforehand. Whoever came up with that terrible bit of on-product advertising should be fired, but we’ll forgive Life Gear since it does exactly what it’s supposed to do: stay secure and keep your camping drinks insulated.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Cost: $7
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 8 ounces
PROS

Lightweight

Carabiner handle and attachment point

Double-walled insulation

CONS

Large sticker needs to be removed for regular use

Small capacity

Hand-wash only

You all know it, you love it, and you’ve probably burnt your mouth on it when your old man gave you your first sip of coffee on that camping trip back in elementary school. No other product evokes the classic image of a campout more than the Coleman Enamelware Mug. At six bucks, you can buy one for each of your friends, plus a few extra for trail mates you run into along the way. The uninsulated design ensures your first sip of coffee will be blazing hot, and your last will be icy cold. However, the curved enamel lip makes drinking your favorite beverage a comfortable, nostalgic experience. Even if your go-to mug is something a little more modern, there’s always a place in the gear bag for at least one Enamelware mug, especially since they can be heated over direct flame. At this point, packing one is basically tradition.

Old reliable. The Coleman Enamelware Coffee Mug is a classic design that’s been a staple of camping sets for time eternal. This blue, uninsulated, stainless steel, and enamel-covered cup will always have a special place in the outdoorsman’s heart.

Product Specs
  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Cost: $6
  • Material: Stainless steel with enamel finish
  • Capacity: 12 ounces
PROS

Classic design

Low cost

Can be heated over direct flame

CONS

Uninsulated

Things to consider before buying a camping mug

Weight and shape

The type of mug you buy will really be determined by what type of outdoor activities you plan on doing. Higher-end double-walled vacuum-insulated options are great for stationary or semi-stationary excursions, as they are heavier than plastic, neoprene, or titanium mugs. Backpacking, day hikes, hunting, or other more mobile activities mean weight and space may be more of a factor. If you plan on moving any sort of distance, make sure your mug of choice fits in a standard backpack pocket and can be easily removed. 

Lids

When purchasing a camping mug, pay attention to the lid. Check for an ability to secure it tightly. Can the cap/lip/slider be removed for cleaning? After repeated use, this can be a major concern if bacteria or mold begin to form in the seams that can’t be removed. Ergonomics are also very important. How easy is it to drink while walking? If it’s not secured or formed well, you may be dealing with a wet shirt on a cold day.

Insulation

This is also determined by what you plan on doing outside. Double-walled vacuum-insulated mugs are larger, heavier, and have a smaller capacity than similar metal and plastic mugs, but they can keep ice frozen or coffee hot for hours on end. Metal (especially titanium) mugs will absorb and shed heat incredibly fast. That means they’re great for heating and cooking, as long as you plan on consuming the contents quickly.

FAQs about camping mugs

Q: Can I cook with an enamel mug?

A: Absolutely. An enamel mug is designed to take a direct flame, which is why they’ve been so popular with campers for decades. The uninsulated metal ensures a quick heat transfer, but be sure to move it around a bit just to avoid warping, especially if your mug is old. 

Q: What are BPAs and why do they matter when buying a mug?

A: BPA stands for bisphenol A. It’s a chemical found in certain types of plastic material. Why it matters to campers is that some storage products containing BPA have been found to seep into the food and liquids they carried. While studies are still ongoing, there is a correlation between known BPA consumption and negative effects on the brain and prostate glands of babies and young children. Additionally, new studies have shown there may also be a connection between the ingestion of BPA and heart issues. This is why most non-metal mugs will explicitly state they are BPA-free. 

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, the mug you buy will be catered toward your outdoor hobbies. While there are thousands to choose from, we had to set the limit somewhere, choosing to only review camping mugs under $30. The GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker was the best option which included the best of what we considered the ideal components for a great product. 

Methodology

After choosing our price point ($30 and under), we excluded any mugs from consideration that were not explicitly designed for outdoor or mixed-use. Once we had that narrowed down, we compiled a large list of the best-reviewed and/or most popular brands available for purchase.  

Those mugs were compared by cost, weight, liquid capacity, type of insulation, and material used. Any models that were similar to others but slightly inferior were removed from the review pool. For example, the Yeti Rambler is an incredibly well-known and popular brand, however, there are hundreds of copycats out there that offer nothing different aside from a lower price point and fewer features. Once the finalists were narrowed down, we used our personal experience with the mugs, along with manufacturer-provided data to arrive at the best choice per category.

For more information about our process or methodology when selecting products, check out the Task & Purpose review guide

Task & Purpose and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Learn more about our product review process.