Never buy a throwaway cup again! That’s what we’re aiming for. We now take our own reusable cups to coffee shops and staff are happy to fill them.
But you probably don’t want a porcelain mug in your bag, so what are the best reusable coffee cups? And is an insulated travel mug the answer?
Latest update: March 2021
And while you’re thinking green, don’t forget to have a look at our BIG green guide to being environmentally friendly when camping.
In a hurry? If you don’t have much time using the links below to quickly find our favourites for you. You can be assured we only choose the best products…
What a sad statistic
In the UK, 2.5bn disposable cups are thrown away every year. Only 0.25% are recycled (according to an environmental audit committee report).
We campers care about the countryside, so we ought to make a stand…or at least not add to the problem ourselves.
So, let’s find a cup we can keep handy. Maybe folding? Maybe insulated? Definitely nice to drink from. For me, the optimum size is 12oz or 350ml – big enough for a decent size coffee, but not too big to hold or carry.
And while you’re thinking about cutting waste, have a look at our article on plastic-free tableware like plates and bowls, and ditch the disposable barbecue in favour of one you can use over and over again.
Meanwhile, here are our recommended insulated travel mugs and reusable coffee cups.
Leakproof and insulated travel mugs
Chris Miller, the reader who won our Tentsile competition a while back, got in touch to ask us to help him find the perfect travel mug.
“I’ve always hated waste and don’t like single use cups or anything disposable,” says Chris. “Also, while my work sold Costa coffee, I could make a nicer cup myself and save a few pennies too.
“I have no issue buying expensive if it performs and lasts and my ideal would be a single container that’s usable from Ben Nevis to boardroom. The ideal would work as a car cup, flask, reusable coffee cup, travel mug and even occasionally a wine glass around the campfire.”
Tall order? Here’s what we came up with.
12 hours of heat (or cold) and a thing of beauty, S’well’s water flasks are everywhere these days and the wide-mouth versions for coffee are just as well-designed.
These insulated travel mugs have three layers and the outside won’t get condensation on it, which is a big bonus. Screw-off rather than flip lid won’t suit some, however.
Three sizes and a big range of colours and patterns, plus an ethical company. Love this teak one!
Utterly leakproof (providing you close the lid properly!) and in an easy-to-hold and stash shape. This Tefal insulated travel mug will keep drinks hot for around four hours in our experience.
Simple, elegant, colour choices and not a bad price.
Bodum’s well-known for tea and coffee gear, so it’s no surprise that they’ve designed a rather good insulated travel mug.
People do love them. They look good, are nice to hold and keep drinks warm. They aren’t leakproof, however.
My favourite is this stainless steel one with the cork band. Pretty!
Take a reusable cup and ditch the single-use takeaway cups
And here are our choices for cups you can take to the coffee shop for fill-ups. Not insulated, but with more of a cup-like feel.
The Joco has been my cup for using at home (without the lid) and for taking camping for a year now.
Lots of colours and sizes.
I like that it feels like a real cup to drink out of and it makes a generous wine glass in the evenings! Its only downside is that the lid isn’t sealable, so it needs to be kept upright when full.
Another glass range with plenty of choice. Glass doesn’t taint your water and it feels nicer to drink from.
Most of the KeepCup mugs are made of toughened glass, which will stand up to a lot, but does take a bit of care.
They’ve just brought out a stainless steel insulated version too. Looks great, but not leakproof. Go for one of the ones above instead.
Funny this. If we all stop using disposable cups, presumably Cornwall-based Ashortwalk will have to find another material for their travel mugs. At the moment, though, there’s no shortage!
Their rCup is leak-proof and has a push open/close lid. Nice designs and a great price. The company also makes tide clocks, plant pots, house signs and more, all out of recycled materials.
When I first researched and wrote this round-up, bamboo cups were fairly rare. They’re everywhere now, but not all can stand up to our tests!
The latter are the perfect shape for drinks holders, keep contents hot, feel nice, don’t scald your lips and can even be put in the dishwasher. Great!
Personally, I haven’t found a folding or collapsible cup that I like. The feel of the silicone isn’t pleasant and they can be hard to clean.
My sister likes them, but I hate them. Definitely choose a dark colour because they soon get stained.
Best of the bunch so far is this Stojo foldable coffee cup. Available in lots of colours and in three sizes.