How To Pick The Best Travel Coffee Mug

If you need a high level of caffeine in your bloodstream, a good travel coffee mug might be the most important piece of hunting equipment you own.

Woman holding coffee cup
A travel mug is also a great way to save money if you buy your coffee from the corner store.Javier Molina via Unsplash

For some coffee-loving hunters, missing their morning cup of joe can lead to headaches, grogginess and even crankiness. Even if they don’t fall asleep in their stands and miss seeing a big buck, they come back to camp with all the congeniality of a bear with a toothache. A good travel mug can ensure even the most caffeine-addicted hunter gets to have his coffee and drink it too. To make a good selection, consider three important factors—insulation, size and whether or not you prefer a handle.

Insulation

Black coffee tumbler
This double-walled steel travel mug comes with a lifetime warranty.Amazon

Twenty years ago, the thought of a travel mug that would keep coffee hot for more than just a few minutes—maybe a half-hour, tops—was only a dream. Then double-walled steel insulated cups came along and everything changed. A good travel mug will now keep your coffee hot during the drive to your hunting area, and even sometimes while you walk to your deer stand or duck blind. And that just flat makes hunting better. Beware of mugs that don't feature double-walled insulation design, as they allow coffee to lose its heat quickly. And always avoid plastic travel mugs, which never worked well in the past and still don't.

Size

Red Yeti drink travel mug
This steel travel mug is made to hold 20 ounces of hot or cold liquid.Amazon

Since mugs in the past didn't keep coffee hot for long anyway, most hunters used small ones. Now, however, new technology can keep a LOT of coffee hot for a LONG time. Consequently, the sky's the limit when choosing the size of travel mug to purchase. Keep in mind, however, that depending on the size of the drink holders in your vehicle, a big one might be more of a nuisance than a convenience. The same goes for wide-bottom mugs designed to be less likely to spill. If they won't fit in your cup holder, they're actually more likely to spill. Buy as big of mug as you find handy, though, so in the afternoon your coffee mug can morph into an iced tea glass!

Handle Or No?

Contigo travel mug with handle
This travel mug comes with a handle for those who prefer that added convenience.Amazon

It might sound somewhat silly, but whether or not a travel mug has a handle or not is a really big deal to some people—maybe even most people. In a cup holder in a dark vehicle, a handle can give you a reference point to help ensure you are bringing the lid opening straight up to your mouth and not spilling coffee down your cheek. Likewise, a handle can make it easier, and safer, to pick up your cup if it becomes wedged in a cup holder while in transit. On the flip side, who doesn't enjoy wrapping their hand around a nice, smooth travel mug for a good, hot sip of java?!! Some companies make add-on handles that can mount on their no-handle models just to keep their customers happy.