I’ve been a Klean Kanteen user for years, probably more out of existing ownership than any particular brand affinity. That’s the point of stainless-steel beverage containers, after all: buy once, use forever. But while I’ve been moving merrily along through life, a company called Hydro Flask has taken the stainless-steel canister market by storm. So as I embarked upon an exploration of the insulated food and beverage containers available today, I naturally needed to include some Hydro Flask reviews in my evaluation.
Like most other insulated-container makers, Hydro Flask uses food-grade stainless steel and features a sweat-proof exterior. The Bend, Oregon-based company also offers both food and beverage canisters, each of varying sizes. In other words, it sounds just like “one of the guys” and not particularly unique. So why all the fuss?
Quite simply, because they outperform the competition.
The pursuit of warmth often involves staying warm inside, and I don’t mean just your baselayer. I mean food. Drink. Literal warmth from your core. Finding products to keep food and drinks warm for hours is very important to me, and to other people who have Raynaud’s syndrome. And I found that warmth throughout my time doing Hydro Flask reviews.
Knowing that hot drinks and meals are equally important, I ran three separate Hydro Flask canisters through their paces. First was a 16-ounce wide-mouth beverage container, followed by a 20-ounce insulated drink canister, and an 18-ounce Food Flask. All three containers are advertised as keeping their contents hot for 6 hours and cold for 24, which is comparable with their Klean Kanteen counterparts. I also tested an insulated True Pint, though its lid-free design mean it’s not rated to keep beverages hot or cold for nearly as long. Think of the True Pint as a container for consumption, not storage.
I ran two separate tests with each non-pint container, knowing that doing thorough Hydro Flask reviews needed to mimic different environmental conditions. The first was a cold (for the Northwest) scenario: 36 degrees Fahrenheit with 16mph winds and 32mph gusts. With the wind chill, the National Weather Service said it felt like 22 degrees. The second environment was designed to mimic late-spring or early-fall outdoor conditions: 69 degrees with no wind. Considering it’s now winter in the Pacific Northwest, I obviously ran those tests indoors.
In general, the larger (20-ounce) Hydro Flask container performed considerably better than the smaller 16-ounce kin. I imagine this is because the larger Hydro Flask contained more liquid, which gave its contents a bit more mass-related heat retention. However, they both exceeded their advertised specs.
In each of the Hydro Flask reviews, I poured boiling water into the containers to see how long they could keep it warm. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so for easy math, let’s say I filled each Hydro Flask with 215-degree water.
During my indoor tests, the 20-ounce container had only allowed the water to drop to 187 degrees after two hours. After four hours, it was only down to 174 degrees. After six hours, the advertised spec, the water was still a crazy-hot at 161 degrees. I was curious how long the 20-ouncer could keep on chugging, so I pushed the clock even further. After eight hours the water was still 151 degrees, after 10 hours it was 144 degrees, and after a full 13.5 hours it was still plenty warm at 130 degrees. Folks, that’s incredible.
The 20-ounce Hydro Flask performed almost as well even in cold outdoor conditions. Two hours into that evaluation, the water had only dropped to 190 degrees. After two hours, it was 175 degrees. The five-hour mark saw the temperature drop to 167, then to 157 at the six-hour mark. Even the cold conditions hadn’t kept the Hydro Flask from faltering, so I pressed on. After eight hours the water was still 145 degrees, after 10 hours it was 136, and after a full 12 hours the water was still a tad hotter than lukewarm at 125 degrees.
The 16-ounce container also performed well, though not quite as strongly. In the indoor tests the 16-ounce Hydro Flask allowed the water temperate to drop to 166 degrees after two hours, 142 degrees after four hours, 129 degrees after six and down to 115 degrees after eight hours. Like the larger container, this smaller one beat its advertised spec, but not by as wide a margin.
My water-temperature results were only slightly worse during the outdoor Hydro Flask reviews with the 16-ouncer. In my opinion, that’s a testament to its insulation. Had it not been for their proprietary TempShield double-wall, I might have seen greater variation in temps. The temperatures in the cold outdoor setting were as follows: 165 degrees after two hours, 145 degrees after three hours, 131 degrees after five hours, and 120 degrees after six hours.
Hydro Flask’s insulated food container performed well too. In my indoor test, the liquid only dropped to 173 degrees after two hours, 152 degrees after 4 hours, 138 degrees after six hours and an impressive 127 degrees after 8 hours. The outdoor test delivered comparable results, if just a bit cooler. After two hours outdoors, the water measured 180 degrees. After three hours, it was 158 degrees; 146 degrees after five hours; 132 degrees after six hours; and 113 degrees after eight hours.
After these successful lidded tests I moved on to the True Pint. In some respects it was rewarding, because I got to test it with this cold Belgian beer. Yes, I tested with hot chocolate too, but I live in Portland, so you know darn well I was most excited by the beer. Regardless, whether I poured boiling-hot or 40-degree liquid into the Hydro Flask True Pint, my drink remained at an appropriate temperature for at least 45 minutes, and not once did the exterior feel warm or cold to the touch. Most impressively, the top rim where your lips touch the pint didn’t get too hot or cold either. Color me impressed.
In fact, on the whole the Hydro Flask containers blew me away. No, I’m not a scientist. And no, I didn’t perform the Hydro Flask reviews in a laboratory setting. But the outdoors aren’t a laboratory either, and most of us aren’t scientists. In these real-world tests, I felt incredibly confident that Hydro Flask’s containers would keep my food and beverages warm when I most need them to. And, yes, frosty cold when I want them to, too. If you’re looking for the best performer across multiple brands, you should check out my head-to-head canteen comparisons roundup. In the meantime, I heartily recommend Hydro Flask to keep your hots hot and your colds cold.
These Hydro Flask reviews were based on products provided by the manufacturer. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Hydro Flask Canisters
- Insulation far exceeds its advertised spec
- Great lid selection, including flip-up and flat-top
- Narrow bases accommodate cup holders
- One more size up would be a nice option
- Ummm...doesn't include beer or cocoa?