What works for me: Mugs and cups

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When it comes to choosing a drinking vessel whether it be a mug, cup or a pot it is very much a personal choice. Over the years I have tried many, sometimes my choices have been driven by fashion, other times by weight and occasionally by practicality. When I first started walking I used an enamel mug, which was cheap and readily available in camping stores. Such mugs continue to be easily found and I note that GSI Outdoors even has a range of enamel mugs these days. I moved on from enamel mugs to aluminium and plastic mugs as well as bakelite mugs at one stage.


Returning to hiking I began to look for lighter and functional gear and was attracted by many different products and these attractions have continued. I have experimented with many different drinking vessels including, Folding cups
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Pots as mugs, such as the BPL Ti pot.


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Collapsible mugs, such as the Sea to Summit X-Cup, or X-Mug, I note you can even buy an X-Shot these days.

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The rolls royce of cups; the Kupilka 21

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The ziploc or Multix pot

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A Ti pot such as the Evernew 900 mug pot.

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What do I prefer, well it depends really, lets assume I am carrying one cooking pot. If I am seeking the lightest weight and packability it has to be the Foldacup, if a little more volume is required then I could consider a Ziploc cup, or the X-Mug.

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If I am looking for an extra cooking pot then I would use a pot such as the AGG pot.

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If I want to enjoy my coffee then it has to be the Kupilka, however, the handle does inhibit packability.

When travelling up north I use a Kupilka as I often adopt the dip and drink strategy, a routine that I prefer not to use in more populated areas.

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Bottles as drinking vessels? I am not really convinced about using a bottle for hot liquids, though the advent of the stainless water bottle may provide a segue into the use of such containers as drinking vessels, and they can be used as pots for boiling water.

Words of warning

1. Metal cups will burn your lips when filled with a hot liquid.
2. Plastic cups can produce tomato soup flavoured tea if not cleansed thoroughly.

Are there other options I have not considered?
Do you have a preferred drinking vessel?
Are you a one pot does all hiker, or do you prefer to have separate pots and drinking cups?

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16 Responses to What works for me: Mugs and cups

  1. I'm always amazed at how many times I'm drawn back to the packability, low weight and simplicity of the good ol'Foldacup. Too bad the handle sucks and the perfect size is somewhere between the two common versions I've seen on sale.The Kuksa is, hands down, the nicest to hold and use when you're taking some time over a proper brewed coffee. It's a luxury item for me though, there are lighter, more compact options, but it's a nice addition when you know you'll be savouring refreshments with a view, a fire or friends.Other vessels? I often use my 16oz Nalgene bottles for hot drinks in the winter, to save weight and space and because they make such excellent boot warmers when filled with hot liquid. And the 'UL' cup I have used the most these past few years is simply the base of my Jetboil. I'm already carrying it, it weighs next-to-nothing, takes up no space and holds a brew no problem.

  2. Snowpeak/ Evernew Ti cups/ mugs you forgot, though I find these have the backdraw you mention in the end: Burned lips. Although they work as pots, too.I 99% of the time carry the Kupilka (I have a wooden Kuksa, too, which I carry in summer). Packability is not a problem, it's usually in the front pocket of the pack together with my spoon (if not forgotten at home) and easy at hand.btw, really love the series!

  3. Quite a collection! Ti cups for me, I have never had any problems with 'hot ti' – maybe I have asbestos lips … My favourite combos are the Titan kettle and an Alpkit ti cup (looks like a proper pot of tea on the hill, I am English) or the Snow Peak Solo with it's nesting cup.

  4. I agree Joe on the Foldacup, is that protuberance a handle? I thought it was a grip to enable the gloved user to unfold the cup. Jetboil definitely it seems to have the ideal diameter to drink out of, and is my cup of choice when carrying it. I also feel that Ti mugs in general provide taste free drinks where as most "plastic" items become tainted. As for the Kuksa, a luxury item worth carrying in my view. Thanks for the suggestion of the Nalgene bottles, one I will keep in mind.

  5. Thanks Hendrik, agree on the Kuksa, and one day I will find a good wooden one. Usually I find the rim of a Ti Pot not too hot to drink from, it is more likely my haste to have a drink that burns my tongue : ). Thanks for your comment on the series, it is one of those ideas that I have had bubbling around for a while and in a sense they are a reflection of my thinking over an extended time period.

  6. I was a little surprised myself when I found so many drinking containers, I suppose they are usually cheap and easy to buy so it is easy to collect them. I think because Ti cools as quickly as it heats the rim of the pot tends to cool quickly. Nesting cups/pots are the way to go if you trying to save space and want/need 2 pots. I have been playing with the Evernew 900 in conjunction with Hard Anodised pot shown above and it is interesting to see the difference in heat retention in the two pots.

  7. If you guys want to have a second pot/cup along with the Jetboil, replace the plastic base with an Evernew 400ml Mug.It's a perfect fit (at least on the Jetboil SOL Ti).The pack volume stays the same, it adds versatility of your cook kit (an added pot/cup good also for cooking on fire), can take more abuse, and titanium will be more hygienic than plastic in the long run.I don't know about weight saving/penalty. Haven't bothered taking the scales out of the cupboard for that.

  8. My that is a collection of drinking vessels. I keep going back to an enamel coated tin cup, I recieved for my 1st Anchor boys (Boys' Brigade) camp at the age of 6. It's probably the oldest piece of kit I own. I think it's just a comfort thing knowing I've had it for so long and it's still going strong with the addition of a few chips. I learned a long time ago to let my brew cool a bit before trying to drink from it 🙂

  9. You learn something new everyday, thanks for the tip Karl, and I agree about Ti being more hygienic than plastic.

  10. Yeah I was surprised about the number of drinking vessels that have accumulated over the years. My first enamel mug was with the scouts, a loooong time ago. I agree on the brew cooling sometimes they even cool too quickly.

  11. As I found out this w/e in frozen Scotland a ti-cup meant I could warm my red wine (vin chaud …) whilst my pasta rehydrated in the titan kettle/cosy. Handy

  12. Ahhh, another good reason to pack a ti cup.

  13. My current favourite is the sea to summit Delta Insulated Mug. Big enough to take soup, no handle to get in the way, lid to keep the warmth in and the dirt out. Only drawback is its plastic and has taken on that colour that comes from many different beverages.

  14. LOL yeah I know what you mean about pouring liquid anywhere but in your mouth. I used the x-cup last weekend, and was very happy with it and the Xmug is also very good. And they are ideal for packing, and seem to retain the heat of the drink better than a Ti pot.

  15. Thanks wazza, I have not really looked at the Delta Mug, must take a closer look when in the outdoor shops. One of the drawback of plastics, no matter what the quality is discolouration and taste. I tend to only use a cup for coffee (or tea) and pots for soups and meals.

  16. Thanks for stopping by loon, we all need luxury items and I like my coffee to be warm and taste like coffee. As for metal versus other materials, there is a lot be gained by using an Al or ti cup especially if you need extra cooking capacity and it will not absorbs tastes and colour like a plastic cup does. Packability does become important as you decrease the volume of your pack. A good cup is worth its weight.

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