Gear: The Humble Thermos

Sometimes an incentive helps get kids outdoors. When the weather turns cold, kids never refuse hot cocoa with marshmallows. The next time you head outside for a chilly day walk/hike/whatever consider whipping up a batch of hot cocoa before you leave the house. Not only can you use it as a lure to get them outside, if they are already excited to hike, you can surprise them with it in the woods. Pull that off and they may be retelling the ‘hot cocoa surprise story’ for years to come.

If you want hot chocolate in the woods you’ll either have to build a fire or bring a thermos with you. Any will do the trick, but here are a couple to consider:




Zojirushi Tuff Slim Zojirushi Tuff Slim Zojirushi Tuff SlimA thermos with a mug top is fun. There’s an inherent MacGyverness to the cap turning into a mug that is pleasing to everyone, especially kids.No mugs taking up space in your pack is a bonus and when you are all done, the messy mug screws tightly back in place so you don’t have a sticky mess in your pack when you get home.  Zojirushi makes this sleek, simple version, but there are plenty of others that look and behave just like it.
Stanley Wide Mouth Stanley Wide Mouth Stanley Classic
A classic. The wide-mouthed Stanley performs double duty. Coffee, cocoa, tea…any hot beverage will be at home in here.And with that wide mouth and extra large cup you can also fill it with chicken soup, chile or pretty much anything hot and viscous.  Mmmm…hot viscous meals…It’s just like 1950!
Thermos 61oz Thermos 61oz Thermos 61ozHey, these guys coined the name! Good for you, Thermos! They are the Kleenex of insulated beverage bottles!This huge 61oz bottle is cavernous enough to keep four adults in ice cold sangria for an entire day at the beach(It’s also great for cocoa with the kids).
Sea To Summit X-Cups Sea To Summit X-Cups Sea to Summit X-CupsThese mugs are collapsible, lightweight, easy to clean and compact. They are well suited for your camp kitchen as well as a day hike.
Snowpeak Kanpai Snowpeak Kanpai The Snowpeak KanpaiThis one will fit a 12oz can right inside…huh…Now what could that be used for…


Closing Thoughts:

  • Buy from a place like REI with a good exchange/return policy. If it doesn’t live up to your standards, you won’t be stuck.
  • Consider a small thermos for each kid and one larger one for the adults. We firmly believe when kids have ownership of some of their outdoor gear they feel more connected to their experiences. There’s that, and if you decide to drop a few shots of espresso or baileys (or both?) into the adult thermos, you won’t be breaking many ethical boundaries.
  • Did you ever think you could learn this much about thermai?
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