One of the beauties of being outdoors is nature’s simplicity. Unfortunately, all the gear we tend to pack to appreciate nature’s beauty can tend to undermine that simplicity. A company called Xtreme Canteen is trying to change all that, offering a lineup of just two insulated beverage containers. I hadn’t heard of them before, so I was eager to do include some Xtreme Canteen reviews in my 2015 insulated container roundup. The containers run large — 32 ounces and 40 ounces — so they seemed like great additions. Plus, the need to carry only one extra-large container seemed a nice touch.
The Xtreme Canteen containers both share a basic form factor, and both are made of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel. They also both have similar handles, a utilitarian style that has plenty of room to fit three fingers. The downside with the bare-bones handles is that they’re a bit thin, which leads to a digging-in feeling when they’re heavy with all that liquid. However, the thin design allows you to easily clip the Xtreme Canteens onto a carabiner to carry them around, minimizing the finger-gouging to a degree.
If you’re considering carrying a canteen via carabiner, you’ll need the lid to stay on at all times. All that clanging around requires a steadfast top. While doing these Xtreme Canteen reviews I never encountered a top coming undone. But I would advise being very deliberate when screwing the top on to ensure it doesn’t come off. The Xtreme Canteen lids only have a few threads, and they can be hard to align with the grooves on the container’s neck. Misalignment is an irritant, but more importantly it can lead to lids popping off at inopportune times. Again, I never had this happen, but I had to be a bit more careful when affixing the Xtreme Canteen lids than I did with competing canteens to get a proper alignment.
Size-wise the Xtreme Canteens dwarf the competition. Whereas most other insulated containers tend to be somewhat narrow, these bad boys aren’t meant for small hands. I like to think of them as the F350 of beverage canisters. “Manly men” will like that they feel big, strong and tough. Unfortunately, working on these Xtreme Canteen reviews showed that one container is tougher than the other when it comes to insulation. And for me, that heat retention is the most important element.
Both Xtreme Canteens are rated to keep beverages cold for 24 hours and warm for 12 hours. I didn’t find that to be universally true, but there are legitimate reasons. I prepared for these Xtreme Canteen reviews by testing both the 32- and 40-ounce containers in two distinct environments. One was cold and outdoors: 36 degrees Fahrenheit with 25mph winds and up to 35mph gusts. The other was warm and indoors, designed to mimic conditions in late spring or early fall: 69 degrees Fahrenheit with no wind.
I poured boiling water into both containers at the beginning of each test 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 insulated Xtreme Canteen with 215-degree water.
I began the 40-ounce Xtreme Canteen review indoors, thinking it would be a slam dunk for the big boy. After two hours the temperature had already dropped to 145 degrees. After four hours the temperature had dropped to 115 degrees. The water was down to 100 degrees (barely lukewarm) after just six hours, a far cry from the advertised 12-hour hot rating. In the cold outdoor conditions the container performed only slightly better: 165 degrees after 2 hours, 127 degrees after four hours and 107 degrees after five hours. In both cases, the 40-ounce Canteen failed miserably.
So I moved on to the 32-ounce Xtreme Canteen. The results here were much better. After two hours in a 69-degree setting, the water had dropped to just 190 degrees. It was 171 degrees after four hours, 159 after six hours, 147 degrees after eight hours, 139 after 10, and 127 degrees after 13 hours. Clearly the 32-ounce Xtreme Canteen performed well even past it advertised 12-hour mark.
In the colder outdoor setting, the 32-ouncer performed just as well. After two hours in 36-degree weather, the water temperature inside measured a piping hot 195 degrees. After three hours it was still 170 degrees, it was 162 degrees after five hours, 153 degrees after six hours, 140 degrees after eight hours, 130 degrees after 10 hours and 120 degrees after 12 hours. Once again, the 32-ounce Xtreme Canteen attained its hot-water rating much better than its 40-ounce big brother.
Considering the discrepancy between the containers’ performance, as well as that of their competitors, I think I may have gotten a “lemon” with the 40-ounce container. But I can’t be sure. [UPDATE: Following this review, Xtreme Canteen representatives confirmed that the 40-ounce bottle I tested was a lemon, and that their tests of other like-sized canteens were on par with the 32-ouncer.]
Interestingly, while both Xtreme Canteens lived up to the no-sweat-exterior billing, the double-walled vacuum-sealed insulation seemed much better on the 32-ounce container. Obviously the insulation kept liquids warmer for longer periods of time on the smaller canteen. However, it also kept the sides of the smaller canteen much cooler to the touch than the 40-ouncer. Since the two are so similar in material and construction, I can only presume the 40-ounce Xtreme Canteen had some factory defects that resulted in such a disappointing performance.
Presuming the smaller of the Xtreme Canteen reviews represents reality, you’d be well served with these canteens keeping your drinks warm. However, one of the two canteens I tested performed poorly, and although the Xtreme Canteen folks said it was a lemon, my own tests are enough to recommend a bit of caution if you’re exploring the Xtreme Canteen lineup. In that case, you may want to review my head-to-head canteen comparisons roundup to see what best meets your needs.
These Xtreme Canteen reviews were based on products provided by the manufacturer. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and there are no affiliate links herein.
- Nice large sizes for longer trips
- 32-ounce size blasts through hot-liquid tests
- 40-ounce size didn't keep liquid warm but was warm to the touch (may have been a lemon)
- Narrow handle can dig into fingers
- Finicky threads make it tough to align lid to base