Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Survival Monday: My travel mug got me through Daylight Saving Time

When it comes to outdoor sports, an insulated mug isn't necessarily a key survival item. In the urban jungle, however, it's an entirely different story.

While I enjoyed every last drop of evening sunshine yesterday, the first Monday of Daylight Saving Time is no joke. My slothful reaction to my morning alarm ("It's really 4:30 a.m., you can't fool me!") meant that I didn't have time to make my usual pot of home-brewed coffee. Even worse, I really needed that coffee.

No big deal. Just grab a cup on the way to work, right?

Well, somewhere along the line, the great outdoors gave me a little bit of a green conscience. Or, perhaps, I've simply stopped isolating my life on the trail from my life in the city.

On hikes, Andy and I try to practice leave no trace (LNT). On its most basic level, LNT means carrying your garbage out of the woods and respecting the trails that everyone comes to enjoy. After numerous camping trips of lugging around our empty food wrappers, drink cans, and other unmentionables, we eventually started to think about reducing the amount of garbage we created in the first place.

I also took a fresh look at my city life. As much as New York can feel like a bubble, it's not. All those disposable products come from somewhere, and they go somewhere, too. What if we had to carry our garbage with us all the time, and not just on the trail? 

I'm trying really hard to eliminate my use of disposable items, like paper and plastic cups, but it can be difficult in a fast-paced lifestyle. That's where my favorite piece of Monday morning survival gear comes in: my insulated 12oz Klean Kanteen. Why do I love it so much?
  1. It's insulated. The Klean Kanteen uses double-walled vacuum insulation. In normal words, this means that the insulating liner is nothing but an empty space with all the air sucked out of it. (Remember science class, air particles, and convection?) Regardless of how it works, this thing can keep coffee (or tea, or soup, or so on) hot for up to 6 hours. I tested this on a cold hike, and it works. Exactly six hours after I had put hot chili in my little Kanteen, it still served up a satisfyingly hot lunch. 
  2. It's a canteen. With a well-fitting screw top, it won't leak when you throw it in your bag.
  3. It's a mug. If you like your coffee on-the-go, I would recommend purchasing the Klean Kanteen café top. It's comfortable for drinking, it has proven relatively splash proof, and it snaps apart for easy cleaning. No more coffee gunk stuck in reusable lids!
  4. It's 12 ounces. Some New York City cafés like to charge for a large coffee, even if you only fill your tall travel mug halfway. Why pay extra for doing the right thing? Eliminate any chance of dispute and save money with this standard-size small container.
I got my cheap coffee fix, and I still lived to see another Monday.

What mug helps you get through the day?


  1. Oo! I love my Klean Kanteen water bottle, but have been on the lookout for a smaller, coffee-friendly cup that isn't too heavy. And it's chili-friendly too? Thanks for the tip, Sara. :)

  2. "Chili-friendly" should be a measurement for judging most things in life :)