Even though space is always at a premium during a backpacking trip, a good mug is a necessity for everything from rehydrating camp meals to cozying up with a cup of tea under the stars. The best backpacking mugs are made with lightweight, durable materials and parts that fold down to make it as compact as possible.
Weight is a key consideration when choosing a mug for backpacking. Mugs that are specifically designed for backpacking are usually light, but those that can serve multiple purposes may be worth a little extra weight. You'll also want to think about the desired volume of your mug. Larger cups are more versatile and can be used for drinks as well as small meals, but smaller cups are easier to pack and perfect for morning coffee before a hike. Some mugs also have convenient packing features, like collapsible designs or straps that can be used to attach it to your backpack.
Stainless steel is a great material for backpacking mugs because it is not only lightweight, but it's also durable and relatively inexpensive. Some stainless steel mugs can also be used directly on a fire to boil water or heat meals. There are also many camping mugs made from plastic, which is less durable than stainless steel, but usually cheaper and more lightweight.
Finally, consider how you'll wash your mug. You'll certainly be hand-washing it while out on the trail, but if you like to run your camping supplies through the dishwasher when you get home, make sure to pick a mug that's dishwasher-friendly.
If you're ready to hit the trail, check out this list of the best mugs for backpacking.
1. The Best Overall
- Volume: 20 ounces
- Material: stainless steel
- Weight: 4.9 ounces
Versatile, lightweight, and durable, this stainless steel mug from GSI is a great pick for any backpacking adventure. It's made from high quality stainless steel and has a 20-ounce capacity, so it's large enough to be used for soups and small meals, as well as morning coffee. The handle can be folded back to make packing easy, and the mug is designed to fit snugly around a 1 liter water bottle to save space in your bag. This mug can be used over a fire to cook or heat water, and should be hand-washed rather than run through the dishwasher. It's also available in a larger 24-ounce size.
One fan raved: “Tested over multiple extended overnight hikes and camp trips. Light weight and multi-purpose! This is advertised as a "bottle pot". I have to admit I have not used it as such. I boil cooking/cleaning water directly over the fire/coals in stainless water bottles (drinking water I generally cold filter and/or treat chemically). This bottle pot has worked great as both a mug for cowboy coffee, and a small pot for single servings of soup/stews, beans, and rice [...]”
2. The Best Collapsible Mug
- Volume: 9 ounces
- Material: silicone
- Weight: 3.1 ounces
This space-saving silicone mug has a convenient collapsible design that folds down to just 2 centimeters in height, and it's also the most lightweight option on this list. The insulating band keeps your hands from getting too hot, and there's a built-in stopper that prevents leftover coffee from leaking when the mug is collapsed. This mug is made from BPA-free silicone, and the leakproof lid is made from bamboo fiber and resin. This cup is also great for everyday use, as it is microwave-, freezer-, and dishwasher-safe, and can easily be stashed in your bag so you never have to get a single-use cup at your favorite coffee shop.
One fan raved: “Combine camping with your motorcycle and ... you need to pack light! This little cup fits the bill perfectly. It collapses down to a super-small size, but pops up to be a perfect sized water cup or coffee mug. It also comes with a strap to put around the cup to keep your hands off the silicone, which may become very hot when it is filled with coffee”
- Available colors: charcoal, pastel pink, sage green, and warm grey
3. The Best Insulated Mug
- Volume: 17.5 ounces
- Material: plastic
- Weight: 3.5 ounces
Enjoy hot coffee even while camping in the snow with this insulated travel mug. The cup is made from BPA-free recyclable plastic, and it's layered with an insulated neoprene sleeve to keep your drink warm. The convenient handle is made from tarp, so it can be easily folded down when packing, and the plastic top is sealable to prevent leaks. This mug also has measurement markers up to 2 cups for convenient backcountry cooking. However, it should be hand-washed after use.
One fan raved: “Must-have for camping. This isn't a verified purchase because I think I bought this at Bean or something, but this is a perfect camping mug. I store my ziploc of teabags in it so they don't get lost, and clip this mug to my pack with a carabiner so it doesn't take up space in my bag. It does a great job of keeping my tea warm for a long time, and if I need it to cool down more quickly, just take the lid off. The plastic insert slips out for easier cleaning or for use as a measuring cup when you need to get that accuracy for your freeze dried camping meals.”
- Available colors: blue, neon yellow, orange, and red
4. The Best Travel French Press
- Volume: 14 ounces
- Material: stainless steel
- Weight: 12.2 ounces
Enjoy perfectly brewed coffee wherever your adventures take you with this two-in-one French press mug, which features a double micro-filter for a super smooth brew. The insulated double-wall design keeps your coffee warm on the go, and the drip-free pour top makes it easy to share with friends, or to drink directly from the press. It can be used to brew up to 10 ounces of coffee, or you can remove the filter and use it as a regular travel mug for up to 14 ounces of liquid. It is made from stainless steel and is BPA- and phthalate-free. ESPRO recommends that you hand-wash this mug.
One fan raved: “Bought this for camping trips. Works so well! Keeps coffee warm for hours and hours. Did not experience any grounds in the bottom of the container, so good to the last drop. Fairly easy to clean. I don't even use filters; it does a great job on its own.”
- Available colors: matte meteorite black, gun metal grey, chalk white, and brushed stainless steel