• Until at least December 2, camping is NOT allowed. We will be in lockdown with only essential travel.
    Please stay home.
    Our most up to date information is here
    We’re an affiliate. We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate it!

The best insulated travel mugs and zero-waste reusable cups

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: October 2020

And while you’re thinking green, don’t forget to have a look at our BIG green guide to being environmentally friendly when camping.

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.

A choice

S’well insulated flasks

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! From around £30.

Best flask

Pioneer DrinkPod

For a more cup-like option, this is a fantastic choice.

The Pioneer DrinkPod holds 280ml, has a handle, a leakproof lid and will keep your drink hot for six hours.

A choice of colours, a cool-touch drinking lip and a remarkable price of under £15.

Opens

Contigo Westloop

We had a recommendation from Wendy (one of our readers) for the Contigo range of insulated mugs. Wendy says they’re leakproof, drinks stay hot for five hours, one-handed push-button opening and they look rather sleek.

A wide range of colours and a couple of sizes from around £20.

Simple works well

Tefal trustworthiness

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 at around £20.

A choice

Bodum insulated mugs

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.

From around £16, lots of colours and a choice of sizes.

My favourite is this stainless steel one with the cork band. Pretty!

Neat design

Camelbak Hot Cap

We like the Camelbak Hot Cap for its neat shape and leak-free design.

The 360-degree cap means you can drink from any side and. Holds 350ml. Costs around £20.

You can buy spare caps too.

Want a plant-based insulated mug? Try the BioGo rice husk wonder (see below).

Best for

Insulated cup from Artlive

It’s the cup-like shape of this insulated mug that attracted us, and it’s a good bet if you don’t want the sticky-out handle of the DrinkPod above. Plus it’s under £12.

Holds 350ml and comes in black or silver. Promises spill and leakproofness.

If you have a

An insulated flask for Wacaco users

We’re always recommending the Wacaco Nanopresso coffee maker (above), and now there’s an insulated flask that fits on to it so you have hot water ready to brew your coffee.

The Nanovessel holds 210ml and works as a stand-alone tea infuser or water bottle too.

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.

Joco glass cups 

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. Around £15.

KeepCup

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. 

KeepCups are spill- and splash-proof, but not absolutely leakproof, so you need to keep them upright. We especially like the cork range, with a cork rather than silicone band. From £20.

They’ve just brought out a stainless steel insulated version too. Looks great, but not leakproof. Go for one of the ones above instead.

A reusable cup made from throwaway coffee cups

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 price of around £12. The company also makes tide clocks, plant pots, house signs and more, all out of recycled materials.

A plant-based cup for your coffee

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!

Our two favourites are the £5 Cambridge cups, which hold 450ml and the fabulous BioGo insulated mugs made of rice husk (around £12). 

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!

 

Folding silicone travel mug

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, from £10.

Bookmark the permalink.

2 Comments

  1. I have the Contigo westloop and I love it. The winning points for me was that it doesn’t leak due to its double action needed to open and the opening mechanism within the lid folds out so it can be washed properly.

    For drinking water I use an Ion8, stainless steel bottle which I also love, it closes in two twists, doesn’t leak and keeps my water fresh and cold even on got days. The only negative is that it doesn’t for in all car drinking holders.

    Why do I have two? I find that no matter how much you clean them if I’ve had tea or chocolate in them (I don’t drink coffee) it always slightly taints the water.

  2. Amy Rowan-Buckley

    I’ve got a plastic reusable Costa cup and I’ve been using it regularly for a couple of years now. They don’t seem to sell them any more. It was £3! I know it’s plastic, but it’s got years of use in it. The lid screws on very tightly, and the flip bit that covers the drinking hole clicks shut. I’ve put it in my bag full of coffee and it has never leaked. It doesn’t keep my coffee hot for hours, it’s not a thermos, but it does keep it hot for a good while. I use it to make bulletproof coffee when I get to work mostly – I put cream, butter and coconut oil in it at home then add hot coffee when I get to the office and give it a really good shake to make it frothy. Works perfectly! ED: Wow! That sounds delicious. Bet you look forward to work just for the coffee treat!

Comments are closed