Travel mugs don't have the flair of a martini glass or the classic appeal of a French Picardie tumbler or even the familiar hominess of a stand-by ceramic mug. And yet, travels mug are judged harsher than any of these vessels and upon a more rigorous set of standards.
Heat retention, cold retention, leak-resistance, cup holder compatibility, in-hand ergonomics and ease of cleaning are all must-have traits, and insufficiency in any one can be cause for abandonment. Also, a good one should be durable enough to last heavy use for years.
Stanley’s Classic Trigger-Action Travel Mug is a humble and competent contender for the best travel mug available. I discovered this in the pre-dawn cold of Wyoming — not the shiver-inducing type of cold but the kind that kills the nerve endings inside your nostrils with every inhale. Commuting in those conditions prompted me to search for a container that could maintain its internal heat better than my own body. Stanley's does it almost too well — once I'm safely indoors, I often remove the mug’s lid to bring my drink down to tastebud-friendly temperatures.
That this mug can also be operated with one hand is a boon to frozen fingers everywhere, and it’s never let loose a single drop of fluid (even after a sufficient jostling inside my backpack). It’s an easy way to spend $23, but right now you can get one for just $16 with a coupon on Amazon.