For centuries, humans have stored alcoholic beverages in glass containers, in large part because glass bottles have been inexpensive and easy to produce compared to other options. But also, because glass is chemically stable – there is no leaching of chemicals into the booze, nor is there a chemical reaction between the container and its contents. But glass isn’t an ideal material for rough travel in the backcountry. It’s fragile, and when broken, dangerous.
Fortunately, modern adventurers have spent considerable effort in developing great alternatives to the glass to ensure they can have their after-adventure drink. We’ve tracked down the best solutions for various drinks and offer the results here.
Best for Beer
With the boom in the popularity of craft brewers, growlers have become ubiquitous in our culture. Glass, plastic, ceramic, steel, and titanium containers exist to help beer drinkers carry their favorite draft home. But the TrailKeg offers something few other growlers offer: Perfect preservation of the beer’s carbonation and character. The TrailKeg is truly a tiny portable keg, pressurized with CO2 cartridges to keep your beer fresh, and its headlight and airy. Other growlers, when toted along on a bucking river raft or bounced around the back of a truck heading up a rough mountain road to a remote camp, end up with flat or depressed beers since the CO2 suspended in the beer can be agitated out. But the pressurized TrailKeg keeps the brew intact, making it as fresh at that remote camp as it was when it was pulled from its original keg at the pub.
The complete TrailKeg kit included the growler and the complete pressurizing lid system. Growler bottles are also sold separately so you can share a pressurizing lid between two or more kegs. The TrailKeg is available 64- and 128-ounce sizes. $149 and $179. Buy now.
Silicon, like glass, is chemically non-reactive so its contents won’t be tainted by unnatural flavors. The Silipint is constructed from food-grade silicone that is dishwasher and microwave safe, impervious to stains, and safe for hot or cold beverages. Orvis’ 16-ounce tumbler is available with a variety of images and colors. $13. Buy now.
Best for Booze
High Camp Firelight Flask
A week-long run down a river, or up a long mountain trail, calls for more than a few ounces of whisky in a hip flask. For extended adventures, you’ll want the Firelight Flask from High Camp. This vacuum-insulated stainless-steel flask swallows an entire fifth of liquor– 750 ml. The high-grade steel won’t leech into the fluids, keeping them pristine and perfectly flavored throughout your outing. And the Firelight includes two tumblers that securely attach to the ends of the flask via powerful magnets. The Firelight features a wide mouth, so no funnel is needed to fill it, yet that mouth has a no drip-lip so you won’t spill even a drop of precious nectar. High Camp also offers a 375-ml (half-bottle) version, the Half-Light Flask. The Firelight runs $129 and the Half-light is $75. Buy now.
Well Told Topo Map Flask
In the right moment, and the right setting, the act of pulling a flask from a pocket is itself a flash of style. When that flask is as unique and outdoor-oriented as the Well Told bottles, your style points go off the chart. Wilderness explorers will love the land-inspired designs of the Topographic Map flasks. With more than 1000 geographic features available, you can get a 6-ounce stainless steel flask emblazoned with your favorite mountain, canyon, or river valley. Our Mount Rainier test sample features a perfect topographic map of the iconic mountain. The flask is slim enough to slip into any pocket and holds enough to share a few after adventure sips with a handful of friends and trail companions. $30. Buy now.
Klean Kanteen Tumbler
Sitting around a campfire, it’s nice to sip a quality bourbon on the rocks. For this, the Klean Kanteen 8-oz tumbler is ideal. The insulated steel vessel keeps your drink well chilled, but your hands nice and warm as you sip your bourbon – or rum, tequila, or Scotch. We’ve tried a host of different tumblers, glasses, and cups, but the Klean Kanteen 8-ounce tumbler comes closest to the traditional ‘rocks’ glasses favored by boozehounds for the last 60 years. The narrow base and wide mouth let your whiskey breathe, while a slim lip edge makes sipping your spirits easy and drip-free. $18. Buy now.
Best for Wine
Yeti Wine Tumbler
There are a lot of options of durable vessels from which wine connoisseurs may enjoy their fermented grapes. But the Yeti 10-ounce Wine Tumbler stands as the best of the lot. This insulated stainless steel bell-shaped tumbler will keep your whites cold and your reds at ambient temperature. The slight texture of the color coating gives you a firm grip on the glass, even if wearing gloves. And the 10-ounce volume is big enough to enjoy a full serving while leaving enough room for a full-bodied wine to breathe. Available in an array of colors. $25. Buy now.
GSI Wine Carafe
Before your adventure, transfer your favorite grape juice into this leak-proof soft carafe and you’ll be able to enjoy that wine in camp without worrying about broken bottles or tainted flavors. The silicone and polypropylene ‘sack’ holds 750 ml – a complete standard-sized wine bottle – and is non-reactive so there will be no leaching of chemicals. And the material also resists holding flavors, so the last bottle of red you carried won’t affect the next bottle of white you pour into the Carafe. When empty, the Wine Carafe can be rolled into a compact package for easy, out-of-way storage. $10. Buy now.