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Published Apr. 22, 2021

Who doesn’t appreciate a quick nip now and then? It’s all well and good when you’re at home or out with friends, but what happens when the mood strikes for a sip of spirits and there’s none to be found? We have it on good authority that the Donner party didn’t pack enough alcohol for their trip across the Sierra Nevadas, and we know how that worked out for them (That’s not to suggest correlation equals causation, but it’s a very real case of people not having enough booze, then eating each other. Draw your own conclusions). You’d be smart, then, to play it safe and own a flask that can carry a few ounces of your favorite liquor. You’d be downright brilliant if that flask was capable of being concealed in plain sight.

Here are eight flasks that will have your back when you get that hankering. Traditional or novelty, there’s something here for you. 

This Stanley flask set might be the ultimate wilderness adventure upgrade. Heavy-duty stainless steel makes each item in this set strong enough to throw in your pack and endure life outdoors without rusting. The eight-ounce flask holds more alcohol than most so you’ll have enough to share. A hinged cap seals tightly and stays attached so you don’t misplace it after imbibing. Pour out a shot for yourself and three friends with the two-ounce, stainless steel shot glasses. The matching carrying case stores the glasses and makes a great shaker if you manage to bring along a mixer or two. Stainless steel doesn’t absorb flavors, so you’ll get a fresh taste every time. This kit takes up more space than a basic flask, but you do have the option to buy the flask on its own if that’s an issue. All Stanley products are backed by a lifetime warranty.

This Fairly Odd Novelties oil can flask is great for striking up a conversation in more ways than one. The unique design will be a hit with anyone who loves classic off-roaders, and the 4.5 ounces of spirits inside will be a hit with everyone. Stamped steel construction and chrome plating are strong and easy to clean, but this isn’t as rugged as some of our outdoor-oriented flasks. The cap creates a tight seal, but be careful not to lose it since it isn’t attached once unscrewed. This option doesn’t have quite the level of refinement and build quality of some of the alternatives, but its price makes it an easy purchase and a great gift to brighten someone’s day.

These flasks from Ink Whiskey get our award for most style points. You’ll get an undercover place to hide 4.25 ounces of alcohol (or a period-correct soft drink like Tab or Hi-C), but the real fun is showing off your Nintendo-themed flask. Choose from 14 video game cartridge flasks that riff on classic Nintendo games, including Drunkey Kong, Drunk Hunt, and Fine Ale Fantasy. Pouring into the small spout on these flasks is tricky, and they’re really not that practical. What you’re paying for is the fun of showing off your ’80s paraphernalia and becoming the coolest person at every retro party you go to. They’re also fun gifts for the gamers in your life. Now, which one will you pick, Player One?

Show some personality with this uniquely outdoorsy flask from Wudn. This six-ounce flask is made from stainless steel for durability and strength, then wrapped in real wood for a one-of-a-kind look. The chrome-plated lid closes tightly and flips out of the way with a retaining hinge. Choose from a wide range of engravings and types of wood to get the perfect combination. Blank wooden flasks are also available and can be customized later — perfect for special occasions or making a flask that’s as unique as you are. The conventional size and shape make this a great way to carry a small amount of alcohol without making a show of it. All Wudn flasks are handmade in Idaho. Remember that these use real wood, so each flask will be one-of-a-kind and might not look exactly like the color and grain shown online.

This eight-ounce Future Hydrate hip flask is slim enough to slide in your pocket and tough enough to take anywhere. Its unique shape is taller and slimmer than traditional flasks, so it’s a great alternative if you plan on throwing it in your pack or coat pocket. Food-grade stainless steel creates thick, impact-resistant walls and doesn’t impart a metallic taste to your liquor. The screw-on cap is made from the same stainless steel and uses a thick silicone seal. The silicone hinge is also quieter than a metal hinge just in case you need to grab a quick sip without drawing attention to yourself. A funnel is included for easy filling. Choose from black and stainless steel, matte black, and bare stainless steel finishes.

We enjoy food and drink with our eyes first, so upgrade your drinking enjoyment with this clear Mochic flask. The 13-ounce capacity is great for sharing or sustaining yourself on arduous, multi-day camping trips. Safe, BPA plastic absorbs drops and bumps without denting. The transparent walls let you enjoy the color of your favorite spirit and keep track of what’s what if you have multiple flasks (which sounds like a great idea to us). Keep this flask close by with a handy wrist strap. Once the strap is removed, the flask is dishwasher safe for fresh flavor every time you fill it up. Choose from black, gray, pink, and white frame colors. The size of this flask makes it less convenient to carry, but it’s a fine addition to your backpack or overnight bag.

This BellFlask pouch is the perfect solution for people who need to travel with alcohol and don’t want to take a chance on glass bottles in their luggage. These bags are free of any metal and BPA, and each holds 12 ounces of your chosen spirit or wine. Measurement lines are provided at two, four, six, eight, 10, and 12 ounces. The four-layer plastic is easy to clean with soap and water, doesn’t change the flavor of your drinks, and is sealed to the spout to prevent leaks. Choose to buy individually or in packs of three or five. You’ll also get a small plastic funnel for filling. This option might not be much to look at, but it’s a great way to transport larger amounts of alcohol safely and under the radar.

This pair of GoPong flasks is here to save the day when you need a low-key buzz at the pool, beach, or outdoor family reunion (seriously, though). Each flask holds eight ounces of alcohol and presents a convincing sunscreen bottle appearance. You’ll get one labeled with 15 SPF and one with 30 SPF to remember which is which — and justify carrying around two bottles of sunscreen. Foam seals prevent leaks. Better yet, you’ll get faux tamper-proof seals to make these look like unopened bottles of sunscreen if they get inspected. Not only will you get two of these, they’re still one of the least expensive options on our list. We’ll admit the practicality of these flasks is pretty situation-dependent, but they can sure save the day under the right circumstances. Don’t forget to reapply every hour.

Related: 5 barware items for crafting the perfect old fashioned

Types of flasks

Most flasks are compact enough to conceal about six ounces of alcohol. Their slim shape was originally designed to fit discreetly under a sport coat or dress. This type of classic flask can be found in metal, leather, and wood trims to suit your personal style. If you need to get more creative, there are bag flasks and flasks disguised as everyday items like sunscreen bottles. We’re not advocating bringing your own booze on a cruise, into a game, or to a cash-bar formal event; but it would be possible with the right flask.

Key features of flasks

  • Size: The smallest flasks are designed to provide you with a few sips of your favorite alcohol. Travel options can transport larger amounts when you want to go on vacation and glass bottles aren’t practical.
  • Concealment: Sometimes we conceal flasks because it’s the tasteful thing to do; like when you tuck it in your waistband at a wedding. Other times, you might want to save some money by supplying your own liquor on vacation. In that case, you’ll want something that looks like an everyday item. 
  • Materials: Most flasks are made from stainless steel or some kind of durable plastic. Additional protection like wood or powder coating can strengthen your flask and add a dash of style.
  • Perks: Each flask on our list has something unique to offer. If you’re shopping for your groomsmen, look for something tasteful. If you want a conversation starter at your next party, maybe opt for something with a sense of humor. 

Benefits of flasks

For starters, flasks are incredibly portable. They are by far the best way to carry alcohol in your socks without leaving 90-proof footprints. Pick one up for times when you can’t bother with a bulky glass bottle. Flasks are also discreet by design. Even if everyone else is drinking at a formal event, you may not feel like paying $10 for a drink mixed with bargain-basement liquor. Rather than toting around plastic shooters, take the classy route and spike your soda with a stainless steel flask engraved with your monogram. Bonus points for asking the person next to you if they’ve been following recent developments in the international futures market while you pour (you don’t have to know what that means; nobody does).

Flask pricing

The great thing about flasks is that you can choose from a tremendous variety with a very reasonable budget. We found inexpensive novelty options for as little as $8. About $20 will get you a solid flask that’s versatile enough to break out around the campfire one weekend, and be your date to the ball the next weekend. Premium flasks run about $40. For that, you’ll get top-tier materials and a durable flask that’s capable of being passed down for generations. If you’re buying a flask as a gift, consider one that can be engraved or etched locally and budget for the additional cost.

Related: 13 pieces of gear that will help you enjoy a cold beer in the great outdoors

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