Best Portable Gear For Slinging Drinks On The Trail
Whether it’s beer, wine or spirits, just because you don’t have access to your home bar doesn’t mean you can’t have a good adult beverage while on the road. From techy carbonation systems to ascent-ready vodka, here are a few trail-made containers and beverages that’ll crown you camp barkeep.
If you hike or camp a lot, chances are you already have one of these guys from Cascade Designs for your water. However, the brand also manufactures its PlatyPreserve wine pouches for those who like their hydration to be of the vine varietal. The containers are collapsible, designed to prevent oxygenation, and have a food-grade lining which both preserves the flavor and cuts down on any weird plastic after-taste.
Money-Saving Tip: For trail winos who want to shave off some dollars and minimize gear supply, just remove the plastic bladder from any boxed wine container. As long as it’s kept away from sharp edges, they’re usually fairly durable.
The Hydroflask containers, hands down, utilize some of the most amazing insulation technology out there. The Oregon-based company makes a range of container sizes and types, but the 64-ounce Hydroflask growler was built with beer and the outdoors in mind. These durable containers maintain their pour-in temperature (hot, or cold) for a really, long time — like 24 hours long. This means your beer of choice will stay cold and pretty damn fizzy even when left in the sun or after a day-long hike.
I can support the claim, because after over 10 hours of hiking and climbing in direct, midsummer Colorado heat, the IPA I poured into my Hydroflask stayed almost as chilled as it was when taken out of the fridge. They also come with a Lifetime Warranty. However, while definitely hardy, you’ll want to be careful about dropping them on hard surfaces — this can damage the TempShield technology which works to insulate your beverages.
Bonus: Some breweries will refill these growlers if you bring ’em in.
Pat’s Backcountry Beverages
Pat and his crew at Backcountry Beverages engineered a portable carbonation system that is both energy-efficient and earth-friendly, running on just pure, non-dehydrated beer concentrate and good old fashioned water. The whole thing is pretty simple: Load one of two beer options into the carbonation system (Pat’s Pale Rail or Black Hops) add water, let carbonate. Enjoy!
Pros: System is lightweight and Mother Earth approved.
Cons: There aren’t as many flavor profile options and some have felt it tastes a bit watered down.
KRU 82 Vodka
The company’s based in Wyoming, but the packaging is distinctly European discotech. KRU 82 Vodka boils down to vodka in a 750 ml stainless steel water bottle and comes with a carabiner attached, so you can secure it on the go. The vodka is 82-proof, distilled in Holland and available for purchase both online and at most commercial liquor stores.
Pros & Cons: While the reviews on the taste are mixed, at around $20 for both vodka and a reusable, it’s a pretty good value. Throw some orange juice in one of your platypus pouches, add a splash of KRU, and you’re set up for a pre-hike screwdriver or summit-worthy cocktail.
Vargo Outdoors Titanium Funnel Flask
Sometimes, when it comes down to it, all you need is a good flask. They’re compact and you can put whatever you want in it. This one from Vargo Outdoors has a built-in silicone funnel so there’s no back-pouring your expensive whiskey all over the place or having to construct a DIY from a plastic water bottle.
Bonus: This 8-ouncer is made from titanium and is engravable, which also makes it a great gift for a trailmate.
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