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Equipment

For the Coldest Drinks on the Go, Use a Travel Mug

Hiking? At the beach? On a picnic? During the hottest months, the best way to keep your drinks refreshingly cold is with a travel mug.
By Published Aug. 16, 2022

I live in Kentucky where summer involves subtropical heat and humidity levels. This year it’s been particularly steamy; if I spend more than 5 minutes outside, my clothes begin to soak through with sweat, even if I’m just sitting in the shade and pulling weeds out of my garden bed. Staying cool becomes not only desirable but necessary.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon: my favorite travel mug.

You might think that travel mugs are just for coffee and other hot drinks. You’d be wrong. As I learned when I tested these things, the best travel mugs are just as good at keeping cold drinks cold as they are at keeping hot drinks hot—maybe even better!

Believe me, it's worth the strange looks you might get when sipping from them in the sweltering summer heat.

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During testing, it took a whopping 73 hours for ice water to warm to room temperature in our winning travel mug, the Zojirushi Stainless Travel Mug (SM-SE). That kind of performance is, frankly, stunning. (If it’s as hot where you are as where I am, you’ll probably have drunk that frigid water within the first hour, but it’s nice to know that it can keep your drinks that cold if you need it to.)

Travel mugs are ideal for any situation where you’re on the go. Friends looked at my travel mug with longing during a recent trip to New Orleans, which was even hotter and swampier than Kentucky. Water heated up in their conventional clear plastic water bottles the minute we all went outside, while mine stayed unbelievably, deliciously cold. 

But I don’t just fill my travel mug with water. I can attest that our favorite will also very happily hold 16 ounces of lemonade, wine, or even cocktails, making it perfect for picnics and parkside get-togethers. 

My trusty travel mug kept my wine ice-cold on the way to (and during!) a recent picnic.

Even if you’re not battling the heat, the Zojirushi travel mugs are great. Despite their awe-inspiring heat and cold retention, they’re ultralightweight, so they’re easy to tuck inside a tote or backpack if you’re going hiking or to the beach.

A lock keeps the top from opening unexpectedly, so you never have to worry about spills. And once you’ve unlocked it, a simple press of a button flips the top open so you can drink from the spout.

Just one tip: if you usually use your travel mug for coffee, I’d recommend getting a second dedicated mug just for water and other non-caffeinated beverages. Coffee and tea tend to leave odors in the mug that will leach into your water or wine, so keep those mugs separate. (I actually have three—one for coffee, one for my boyfriend’s cold drinks, and one for my own drinks.)

Staying home? Using a travel mug to keep your beverage of choice cold might not be the classiest method, though it would certainly work wonders. You can also keep carafes and bottles chilled in our favorite wine cooler and ensure that your drink stays cool while you’re sipping in our favorite insulated tumbler.