Terry’s Travel Mug Tips
Story by Blair Paterson
Hello. My name is Terry, Terry Travel Mug. You may have heard the remark: “Have a go, ya mug!” Well, as a mug I find this expression somewhat rude and defamatory. As a proud member of said species Muggas sippas noice beveragis, I suggest you make yourself a nice cuppa, take a seat and grant me the respect I deserve for what I am about to divulge.
Because as the euphemism suggests: I am about to HAVE A GO!! For I am not a thermos flask, nor am I a baby sipper – I am a whole lot more…
Why am I cranky? Have you noticed the glut of cheap travel mugs on supermarket shelves, camp-store stands and internet carts? Those mugs are charlatans, infiltrating the very cause for which my species has come to be.
Don’t be fooled! Before you purchase a phony I implore:
First look hard at yourself: What do you want from a travel mug?
Then look hard at your mug: Will it perform to your highest expectations when out and about? Is it merely a mug of promotional gimmickry or is there some substance?
And then look hard at the union between you and your beloved mug, when you touch lips and what follows is a soulful and beautiful transfer of fluid: Has your beverage spilt all over you or the ground? Are you scolded? Are you ruing the purchase of a sub-par item which promised so much and delivered so little?
Now, you may not kiss your pet dog as you do your travel mug – what happens between you and your mutt is none of my business – but believe it or not we travel mugs compare similarly to those smelly canines: as ‘man’s best friend’. I urge you: think about it. Please, think about it. Your relationship with your travel mug is unique and special.
A good travel mug need not be expensive. A good travel mug, however, does need some important attributes about it to carry forth on your most far-fetched and interesting adventures. So in regards to HAVING A GO, I would like to further share with you some secrets worth considering at the retail shelves, stands and carts to help you through the arduous selection of a travel mug worthy of all your Outdoor Type expectations.
The attributes are:
A good seal around the lid: Absolutely important! Travel mugs come with screw- or press-on lids. Both have pros and cons: the screw-on lid ensures security against bumps and knocks yet make for an uncomfortable ‘lip feel’ when sipping on the rim of the mug’s screw thread, while the press-on is less secure yet has a more comfortable sipping lip. Regardless of the type, whenever you drink from a mug with a poor seal, the contents will likely dribble all over your top. This can be catastrophic because not all people look good in wet t-shirts. And if a spill were to occur while driving, the consequences might be far more serious (to my knowledge hands free travel mugs are yet to be invented).
Reasonable thermal qualities: I say “reasonable” because almost any double-insulated mug with a lid will possess thermal qualities. More so, you want to be sure when you hold your mug that it will not burn your hands.
A non-plastic inner-mug: Obviously, it’s complicated to have fine bone China in our travel mugs. But taste is important and nobody likes their beverage tainted by old plastic. Not only does it taste yucky, think also of the toxins you’re imbibing. I strongly suggest selecting a travel mug with an easy-to-clean, hard-wearing stainless steel inner. Travel mugs also come with baked enamel or ceramic inners; these are also fine although they may chip or crack over time. Just don’t under any circumstance get plastic!
A useable sipper: The sippers in travel mug lids come in a multitude of forms and designs, from slide or screw panels, flip-up leavers or straw configurations. Whatever the type, be sure your sipper flows nicely. Because you don’t want the fluid to develop back pressure and all of a sudden spew forth a more-than-sippable quantity of hotness into your mouth. Ouchies! Burnies!
Sturdy overall form: You want something durable. If you’re the adventurous type, be confident your mug won’t get squashed or cracked in your over-stuffed pack. If you’re the car-sipping type, make sure your mug fits into your vehicle’s cup holders. If you’re the butter-fingers type (aren’t we all?), rest assured in the fact that if you drop your trusty vessel the trauma of the landing won’t render it useless from beyond that moment.
An adaptable handle: “Get a handle on it!” If you desire a mug with an ‘open’ handle (a fixed single point at the top), these are useful for hooking over fences, tree branches or on car the consol; but make sure the handle is securely attached. If you prefer a ‘loop’ handle, these are excellent for clipping onto the outside of your backpack with a karabiner. Some mugs come without handles. That’s fine too – we mugs are all-embracing; mugs sans handles have the advantage of slipping easily into pockets.
A non-slip base: This is important too, because for a travel mug to fit into your car’s cup holder – and with the extra thickness of double insulated walls – a travel mug can often be top-heavy. Add to this the fact that you might be placing your mug precariously on undulating surfaces and I’m sure you can see the reason for requiring a base which gives stability through being non-slip.
Am I still cranky? Slightly, though I do feel better having let off a bit of steam by ‘having my go’. On another note, we travel mugs are actually good for the environment. Lots of cafés are happy to make beverages in travel mugs, thus negating the stream of disposable cups into the world. There is nothing less gracious than a paper or foam cup floating empty and upturned in a waterway.
And when you next get up close and personal with your trusty travel mug, observe how nice we are to hold – we want to share the love. I mean it. Do you notice, generally, that our form is closely influenced by the flowing shapeliness of femininity and the pragmatic shininess of masculinity? Good marketing or the evolution of a sincere love affair between humans and travel mugs?
For now though, I’m Terry the slightly cranky Travel Mug, signing off. I hope my advice is of some assistance, and may I say to you and your travel mug whilst next out on your adventures: Happy sipping.