Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect five additional selections for 2015. Our earlier selections are on the following page.
Life seems to get difficult quick if you can’t bring your coffee with you; but if you spill, your treasured drink can become a mortal enemy. Nobody wants that. The solution is a great travel mug — one that keeps your coffee hot, your sips accessible and your crotch free of searing pain and disappointment. Finding the best mug for your cup holder (or mesh slot on your favorite backpack) isn’t as easy as you’d think, but we’ve gone ahead and vetted, researched and tested anyway, because hell, it’s your cup of joe, the most important part of the morning. Here’s 10 great mugs, from the backcountry hippie to the sharply dressed office warrior. – Chris Wright
Best Man-on-the-Run Mug: Contigo’s Autoseal mechanism is hands down the easiest commuter mug drinking system available, making it the most popular line of travel drink ware available. The Extreme mug adds versatility to its already impressive beverage-dispensing abilities by employing a carabiner-style handle and grippy surfaces for the man on the go. It clips easily onto a bag or pack, though we wouldn’t recommend all-out sprints for the train with a mug full of hot java.
Zojirushi SM-KB48TM Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Best Long Haul Mug: Plan on taking your coffee out for a full day of caffeine-pumping use? Zojirushi’s stainless steel vacuum insulation mug will keep the hot joe hot and the cold joe cold for hours on end thanks to the securely fitting lid and double wall. And in case you’re one of those guys who carelessly throw their stuff every which way but properly upright, the Zojirushi Travel Mug’s flip lid stays in place with the help of a safety lock, so the goods don’t come pouring out unless you want them to. Its slim design is easy to grip and easy to store, so now all you’ll have to do is upgrade your coffee beans to match your mug.
Thermos 14-Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Best Rough-and-Tumble Mug: If the Thermos name reminds you of pouring Spaghetti-Os out of a plaid canister in grammar school, you’re still stuck in the past. Their 14-ounce travel mug is the kind you can take anywhere, full of piping-hot coffee. The contoured mug holds hot or cold drinks, and thanks to the strong stainless steel body and robust rubber grip, it can handle the rigors of the day with ease. The addition of a handle-mounted carabiner means easy transport, even when there isn’t a cup holder or pocket in sight.
Camelbak Forge 16 Ounce Insulated Travel Mug
Best One-Handed Mug: Camelbak doesn’t just make liquid-filled backpacks for endurance athletes, they also make a damned fine travel mug for endurance drinkers (not what you think). The Forge is primarily designed to be the ultimate spill-proof, one-handed mug. And it does its job beautiful thanks to its leak-proof cap, which self-seals and snaps in place. And, it can lock open, if you plan on chugging for longer periods, uninterrupted. Throw it in a pack or bag without worrying about the embarrassing wetness, while the Forge keeps your coffee or tea hot for over four hours and your cold drinks even longer. And, should you worry that all of this fanciness is a pain to clean, everything comes apart easily so dark matter doesn’t fester in the dark places.
Bodum Insulated French Press Travel Mug
Best Repeat Self-Service Mug: If fresh coffee is what makes you happy, and you don’t want to pay for it every time you want a cup, then Bodum has your answer wrapped up in its brilliant French Press Travel Mug. The double-walled, BPA-free plastic mug holds 15 ounces of freshly brewed coffee and uses a miniature screen plunger to push down the grounds after properly steeping in hot water. Not only does it save you time in the mad morning rush to get out of the house, it also allows you to bring along your own grounds so you don’t have to settle for the hot brown swill at the office or on the road.
Stanley Classic 16oz One Hand Vacuum Mug
The Classic Mug: Stanley’s been doing this for a long time, and their vacuum mug has the old-school looks to prove it. The Classic hits all the sipping points, with a large capacity, durable stainless steel construction, leak-proof seals and one-handed construction with a button-push open-and-close lid. Vacuum insulation keeps your java hot for close to six hours, and the eminent pea-green exterior still somehow manages to look great.
Sigg Metro Mug
The Dapper Mug: Siggs’ sleek Metro mug is a dandy, indeed. At 13 ounces it’s on the small side, and there’s no handle or grip to ensure you don’t lose control. A screw-off lid trades heat endurance for two-handed operation, but again, six hours of warmth is a veritable marathon of warm sippin’. To get back to the selling point: eight colorways means you can match it to your outfit every time.
Snow Peak Kanpai Bottle 350
The Versatile Mug: This 13-ounce bottle is a backpacker’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean its use is singular. Three different lids (hot, cold, sip-top) make this the go-to mug for those who enjoy more than just coffee. It’ll keep Joe warm for over six hours and do the same for cold drinks; what’s more, its heavy stainless steel shell perfectly fits 12-ounce cans, which you can drop right in. That means a cold coffee stout, tab un-popped, at the summer summit of your choosing is just as realistic as piping hot coffee on the same summit in winter. If you ask us, that’s worth the expensive price tag. If you really want to break the bank, try out their Titanium version ($160) for half the weight.
OXO LiquiSeal Container
The Tanker Mug: This is more of a thermos container than a mug, but hell, we’ll allow it. At 24 ounces, it’s a tanker — perfect for the true addict — and the 10-ounce cap/cup means you can partition out that steaming joy as you see fit. Silicone seals make it ultimately leak-proof, and a click activation lid means only your thumb gets a workout. Loading it into the dishwasher will ruin it though, so take the time to give it some sink TLC. It’s worth it. It’s not yet available for purchase, but keep an eye out.
Thermos Element 5 Travel Mug
The Sturdiest Mug: This is easily the ugliest mug on the list. Still, you’ll feel like a proud mama with this clunky bastard, enamored of its rubberized stainless steel handle (they added a carabiner for those true coffee-drinkin’ wall hangers), wide-footed base for stability, and 360-degree drink lid. Speaking of the lid, it’s our favorite part: there’s no tiny hole to find, so you can drink from anywhere around its perimeter, yet it’s surprisingly leak-proof. Keeping 16 ounces of coffee hot for six full hours and beer cold for eight is the icing on the stainless steel cake.