Product Reviews

Top 5 Best Budget Vacuum Bottles and Thermos Flasks for Hiking and Backpacking

ParagonTrails presents our comprehensive guide on the top five best thermos flasks and vacuum bottles on the market today for hiking and backpacking.

Hot water is a luxury on the trail, and although a vacuum bottle uses up a significant amount of total carry weight when it’s filled with water, it’s truly wonderful to have a hot thermos filled with coffee, tea, or even soup, for a nice boost of warming energy while out on a hike.

Below, you’ll find the Official ParagonTrails list for the top five best vacuum bottles and thermos flasks available on the market today. Each bottle was selected with concern in regards to its construction materials, warm and cold temperature retention, and several other factors such as portability and weight.

We hope that you enjoy our list, and if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions, please leave a comment down below. Thank you, and Happy Paragon Trails!

Top 5 Best Vacuum Bottles and Thermos Flasks for Hiking and Backpacking

Table of Contents

5. Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Bottle

  • Price: ~$47.95 – $50.00 USD
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs (0.50 kg)
  • Volume: 40 oz (1.14 Liters)
  • Heat Temp. Duration: 6 Hours
  • Cold Temp. Duration: 24 Hours
  • Cons: Lower hot temperature retention duration than other bottles of only six hours, but the bottle is quite lightweight and well-suited for cold liquids. If you wanted to only fill this bottle with hot water, you would need to stop and boil water every 4 to 6 hours. This time frame is great for lunch, dinner, or rest breaks with portable fire sources, or other heating methods.
  • Pros: Highly rated and very popular double-walled vacuum bottle with a fantastic cold temperature retention time, excellent weight to volume ratio, a convenient loop for carabiner pack storage, and an easy to use spout. This is a bottle best for keeping water cool on long hikes.

4. Thermos King Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Bottle

  • Price: ~$30-50 USD (Stainless Exterior – Army Green)
  • Weight: 1.45 lbs (0.658 kg)
  • Volume: 50.0 oz (1.14 Liters)
  • Heat Temp. Duration: 24 Hours
  • Cold Temp. Duration: 24 Hours
  • Cons: Cup lid can become too hot to hold when containing very hot liquid for long periods of time, however a pair of gloves can help with any long term heating issues.
  • Pros: Excellent hot and cold temperature retention, stainless steel interior and exterior, and twist and pour lid with top lid cup for soup or coffee. This thermos is top of the line, and worth its weight to bring along on the trail.

3. Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated Bottle

  • Price: ~$50 USD
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs (1.13 kg) (Heavyweight!)
  • Volume: 67 oz (1.9 Liters) (High Volume!)
  • Hot Temp. Duration: 32 Hours
  • Cold Temp. Duration: 32 Hours
  • Iced Temp. Duration: 160 Hours
  • Cons: Very heavy, but makes up for it with its exceptional durability, and extreme temperature retention duration.
  • Pros: Incredible durability, lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, multi-functional cup pour lid, and strong handle can be used to tie the flask to your pack, or may be used for easier carrying.

2. GSI Outdoors MicroLite Vacuum Bottle

  • Price: ~$35 USD
  • Weight: 0.813 lbs (0.37 kg)
  • Volume: 33 oz (0.94 Liters)
  • Heat Temp. Duration: 18 Hours
  • Cold Temp. Duration: 32 Hours
  • Cons: Higher potential for denting due to more advanced thin wall vacuum design, but still very durable and remarkably lightweight. A protective sleeve for this bottle is advised.
  • Pros: Exceptionally efficient design with one of the lowest weight per volume ratios available on the market, convenient loop for carrying with carabiner, and roughly one day’s worth of heat retention, and 1.5 days of cold temperature retention. This is an outstanding vacuum bottle, and one of the very best on the market.

1. Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated Bottle

  • Price: ~$45-55 USD
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs (0.77 kg)
  • Volume: 64 oz (1.82 Liters)
  • Heat Temp. Duration: 30 Hours
  • Cold Temp. Duration: 50 Hours
  • Iced Temp. Duration: 100 Hours
  • Cons: Since these bottles are very popular at the moment, locating them when they’re in stock can be tricky due to the high demand. The 64 ounce bottles are also be quite heavy when filled, but they’re worth the carry weight and are nearly unmatched when it comes to hot and cold temperature retention.
  • Pros: Excellent vacuum bottle technology with 1.5 days of hot temperature retention, and over 2 days of cold temperature retention. The Klean Kanteen bottle is also capable of retaining icy temperatures for up to an astounding 4 days!

Introduction and Information

Vacuum bottles, or thermos flasks, often weigh around 1-2 Lbs (~0.5-0.9 kg), and the average lightweight, or ultralight bottle will weigh a bit less than this, but regardless of the bottle’s weight, water is very heavy! Thus, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into before you decide to carry a vacuum bottle out on the trail.

To illustrate how much water weighs; 1 Gallon of water is equal to 4 Liters, and 1 Liter of water weighs 1 Kilogram, so 1 Gallon of water weighs 4 Kilograms, or almost 9 Pounds! Compared to something of similar weight, lifting a gallon of water is like picking up a medium-sized bowling ball, or the average house-cat!

Not to dissuade you though, because vacuum bottles are really nice to have out on the trail, but one of the largest and best vacuum bottles on the market, which is on this list, has a half gallon capacity (64 oz, 1.8 L), and when it’s filled with water, it weighs ~5-6 lbs (~3kg), including the bottle’s weight.

Thus, a vacuum bottle may consume up to a whopping 15% or more of the average person’s total carrying weight capacity. This is if you take into consideration the general rule which advises hiking with gear that only weighs a maximum of 20% of a person’s total bodyweight. So, for the average 200lbs person, this would mean a total carry weight of 40lbs.

In addition, a person needs to drink around 10-25 ounces of water per hour (0.25-0.75 Liters), to stay hydrated depending on the weather conditions, and the intensity and speed of travel.

This is a huge amount of water weight, so unless you have the pack weight available, it’s advised to only carry a 32-40oz sized bottle, or smaller if you think you’ll be hiking and walking a lot.

The larger 64oz bottles are very nice though if you do have the weight available, and a 64oz bottle will last around three or four hours of consistent drinking, so it’s a really good value.

Regardless, without further ado, ParagonTrails presents our curated list of the best BPA free double and triple walled vacuum bottles and thermos flasks available on the market today.

We hope you enjoy the article, and if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions, please leave a comment down below. Thank you, and as always, Happy Paragon Trails!

5. Hydro Flask Stainless Steel 40oz Vacuum Insulated Bottle

Hydro Flask’s vacuum insulated and double walled bottles come in at number five on our list, and they’re one of the most popular vacuum bottles on the market with an almost five star rating. These bottles sport a convenient loop making it easy to affix this bottle to a pack with just a bit of paracord.

The Hydro Flask also comes with an easy to use spout, so it’s a favorite of hikers and trail runners alike. If you’re looking for a faster pour, you could always twist off the secure top lid and pour more liquid, however the flow rate’s really quite good on the nozzle, so it’s great for on-the-go hydration.

The Hydro Flask comes in six unique color options: Frost, Graphite, Olive, and Pacific, as well as Black and White. Fortunately, all of these color variants are available at the exact same price which is rare because most brands of bottles varying coatings which sometimes increase the price.

The Hydro Flask 40oz Vacuum Bottle also has a wide mouth top which makes it easy to clean with a soft scrub brush. If you do find yourself with access to ice, the bottle will easily accommodate that as well due to its wide mouth top, but take care in placing ice cubes into this container, or any other container for that matter, as it’s possible to dent metal when dropping ice cubes from a high distance.

If you’re going to use a Hydro Flask we’d also suggest picking up a silicone sleeve to protect the exterior of the bottle. This isn’t something we only suggest for the Hydro Flask either, as it’s truly best practice for all vacuum bottles to protect them, and extend their lifetime to the fullest extent.

While the Hydro Flask does have a shorter hot temperature retention time than other vacuum bottles on this list, this bottle truly excels with cold liquids, and with its convenient drinking spout for easy pour access, it’s a great bottle for running or hiking. It’s no wonder why this is one of the most popular vacuum bottles on the market.

4. Thermos Stainless Steel King 50oz Vacuum Insulated Bottle

The highly popular and exceptionally well-manufactured Thermos King Stainless Steel series starts comes in at number four, and is a top of the line double walled vacuum insulated bottle with a great carrying handle for better portability.

One thing we really like about this vacuum bottle is if you’re looking to get a little creative you can loop paracord through the carrying handle a few dozen times, and then loop into a carabiner and tie it to your backpack, and you’ll have extra paracord for emergency purposes, and a well-secured thermos.

The Thermos King Series comes in five color varieties: Army Green, Midnight Blue, Cranberry, Matte Black, and Stainless Steel. This is also the order of the most expensive color option to the least expensive, respectively. We prefer the stainless steel option for this bottle, which also happens to be the least expensive.

One fantastic feature about this bottle is its ability to retain very hot temperatures for one full day, while retaining a cool to the touch surface, which makes it great for hot soups as well. However, the manufacturer does suggest to never leave any food or beverages inside the container for longer than a day due to the standard spoilage rates of foods.

The manufacturer also strongly warns to never use carbonated beverages or dry ice inside the bottle since the stopper, lid, or the contents of the container may be ejected, and this also applies to any other pressurized vacuum bottles as well.

Another important safety measure Thermos mentions is to never drink directly from a vacuum bottle if there are exceptionally hot beverages inside. In general, this is because the contents of a vacuum bottle may be near boiling point inside, and can cause tissue damage. This sounds a bit scary, but it’s a testament to this fantastic product that it’s able to maintain boiling temperatures for long.

Thus, it’s always best to pour the contents of a vacuum bottle into a cup, like the one the Thermos King has built directly into it, or cool the liquid with your breath, or by adding ice or snow. Regardless, with the Thermos King’s sturdy handle, secure stopper plug, convenient pour hole, and very large top lid cup, this bottle is perfect for enjoying delicious hot beverages, or even soups.

The Thermos Stainless Steel King Series vacuum bottle comes in at number four on our list, and it’s a truly wonderful vacuum bottle with a fantastic hot and cold temperature retention duration of a full day. This is one of the best options on the market if you’re looking for a very versatile bottle that can handle both hot and cold temperatures equally well.

3. Stanley Classic 67oz Vacuum Bottle

Upon reviewing the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle we were certain this bottle would have been overtaken or outstripped by some advanced vacuum bottle technology, but the Stanley Classic’s truly incredible, and will last a lifetime. If it weren’t for the extreme heavyweight status of this bottle, it would be in the number one slot, but it is the gold standard.

The only advancements other bottles possess over the Stanley Classic are more lightweight materials, but in almost every case, other bottles sacrifice durability or temperature duration retention, and ultimately fall short of the Stanley Classic.

The Stanley Classic really is in a league of its own for durability, and you’ll still see these bottles in action 50+ years later in great working condition, and with only very minor cosmetic damage to their outer casing. No structural damage to the bottle unless it’s run over by a truck, and even then, it might be fine.

The entire interior of the bottle is made from a high grade 18/8 stainless steel, and when it comes to color options there’s a very wide variety of colors…Hammertone Green! This is the only color option that has been available since the 1913 when the company was founded, and it has a certain charm to it.

Stanley’s a family name, and a trusted company with extraordinarily durable vacuum bottles, and over one hundred years of renown, but for hiking they’re tricky to use unless you have them well-secured in your pack and within your center of gravity.

With a full bottle that’s 2 quarts in size, or about 1.9 liters, you’re looking at around 6.62 lbs, or about 3 kg. That’s a lot of weight if you consider that a 200 lbs person only wants to carry about 40 lbs, or twenty percent of their bodyweight, at the absolute very most. So, this thermos can take up to anywhere between 15-20 percent of your total desired carry weight.

In conclusion, if you’re going to use the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle, we’d suggest only using it on day hikes to your favorite destination where you plan to hang out, or for camping trips where you’ll be mostly stationary. Otherwise, plan to use a lot of carry weight for this bottle, but it’s honestly worth the weight.

We truly wrestled with placing the Stanley Classic this high up on the list because of how heavy it is, but due to its astounding vacuum bottle technology, world class durability, and unmatched lifetime warranty, it definitely deserves the number three slot on our list.

2. GSI Outdoors Microlite 33oz Vacuum Bottle

With new technology being invented every day we get to enjoy the spoils in the form of new ultralight hiking gear. GSI Outdoors, founded in 1995, is a relative newcomer to the block compared to a well-known company like Stanley, but GSI Outdoors is continuously redefining the industry with affordable hiking and backpacking gear of fantastic quality and durability.

The GSI Outdoors MicroLite is no exception to their line of products, and this bottle has one of the lowest weight to volume ratios of any on the market. This means the bottle’s construction allows for it to hold more liquid using lighter and less materials than other bottles, while still maintaining exceptional hot and cold temperature durations.

The GSI Outdoors MicroLite 1000ml Vacuum Bottle only weighs 13oz (12oz without the lid), or about 370 Grams, and it’s easily one of the lightest, if not the absolute lightest one liter vacuum bottle available on the market.

According to the GSI Outdoors website, the Microlite’s one third lighter than other bottles, and containers 25 percent more liquid than traditional vacuum bottles of the same size, and it’s true. The Microlite is an exceptionally well-engineered piece of hiking and backpacking equipment, and one of the absolute best bottles you can buy.

The GSI MicroLite also has many color options which include: Black, Fuschia (Seen Above), Blue (Light Blue), Mariner (Dark Blue), Aqua, Green, Olive (Brown), Brushed Stainless Steel, and White.

The GSI Outdoors MicroLite is an awesome vacuum bottle, and should be added to every hiker’s bag since it’s such a lightweight investment to add to your pack weight. For the the ultralight hiking enthusiasts, this is a top tier choice.

1. Klean Kanteen Classic 64oz Vacuum Insulated Bottle

At the top of the list, and one of the most sought after vacuum bottles, is Klean Kanteen’s 64oz Vacuum Insulated Bottle. This thermos flask is truly exceptional and boasts the highest iced temperature retention at an incredible 100 hours, with 30 hours of hot temperature retention.

The reason this bottle is in the number one slot above all the others is because it is in way a synthesis between the GSI Outdoors MicroLite, in terms of its lightweight materials and advanced vacuum technology, and the exceptional hot and cold temperature retention and durability of the Stanley Classic bottle.

The Klean Kanteen 64oz bottle really represents the highest quality product available on the market today, but the only drawback is its mouth size width which requires a smaller brush to clean the interior compared to other bottles.

With its top loop affixed to the middle of the cap, the Klean Kanteen’s super easy to store on your pack, and it balances better than other bottles when hanging from a pack. We’d highly suggest using paracord and carabiners for the best carrying experience.

In addition, if you want a really nice carrying sleeve, a dedicated bag for your vacuum bottle can help protect it from any surface damage it may receive while you’re walking through tight spaces. For example, this bottle pack by GoNovate has extra pockets too, and is designed in a sling style with a carrying handle for super easy transportation and accessibility.

The Klean Kanteen vacuum bottles are arguably the best thermos flasks on the market today, but their only drawback is their availability due to their rising popularity.

If you can find any of these bottles, particularly the 64 ounce variant list below, consider picking one up because like we said, these can be hard to find, and even though there are approximately ten color options, often the only color available is the brushed stainless steel, which is actually best because stainless steel can’t chip from any slight damage during hiking and backpacking trips.

Regardless, if you’re unable to find the Klean Kanteen bottle in the 64 ounce size, like the one in the link provided below, it may be best to simply pick up a GSI Outdoor MicroLite if you’re looking for a solid lightweight bottle, or buy the Stanley Classic, if you’re looking for a heavier campsite vacuum bottle. The Thermos King Stainless Steel Series is a happy middle ground between those two. If the Klean Kanteen bottles are available though, don’t miss the opportunity!

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Each bottle has a specific use, but a couple of them reign supreme. In our first slot is the Klean Kanteen 64 ounce vacuum bottle which excels at keeping beverages hot and cold for very long periods of time while remaining very durable. Due to the availability of the bottle however, the GSI Outdoors MicroLite is an exceptional secondary option due to its price, and super lightweight material construction.

If you find yourself on a short hike though, or you’re camping in the same spot for a few days, and want some hot beverages, then the Stanley Classic vacuum bottle will be the best option.

For all others you can’t go wrong with the Hydro Flask bottle with its convenient spout nozzle, or the Thermos King series of vacuum bottles, which are great as an all around vacuum bottle for any situation.

Personally, we absolutely love the Stanley Classic bottle for camping, and the GSI Outdoors MicroLite for hiking and foraging trips. They’re both great bottles, and once you bring one of these along for the first time out on the trail, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing out on.

We hope we’ve helped inform you on your journey to find the perfect vacuum bottle for your hiking adventures, and we’d love to hear from you in the comments down, so if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions, message us down below.

Thank you, and as always, Happy Paragon Trails!

0 comments on “Top 5 Best Budget Vacuum Bottles and Thermos Flasks for Hiking and Backpacking

Leave a Reply