There are times when you don't need a hydration system for a walk in the (national) park, or when you're looking to pack a beverage other than water on your day hike or longer adventure. One option I recently came across offers a great solution: clean lines, food-grade materials, durability, and great insulation.
Innate, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company, makes a hefty range of drinking vessels, along with some that will tote meals for that afternoon break. What's special about these containers? Their construction, basically. Innate uses food-grade materials, including hefty single- and double-walled stainless steel that won't rust or impart/absorb tastes, and which is easy to clean. It also tends to be a bit more durable than plastics. While the company does use plastics in its lids and handles, it uses a food-grade polypropylene said to have no leaching characteristics.
The Kaze (MSRP $20) is a slim, 13.5-ounce vacuum bottle that keeps hot drinks hot, cold drinks cold. While the company's literature says this bottle, which debuted this past fall, will keep your coffee warm for up to eight hours, odds are you'll be out of coffee before one hour passes. Beyond that, though, the Kaze has some nice features: the bottle itself is made from double-walled stainless steel so it remains cool to the touch while the inside liquid stays hot; has a handle that fits nicely in the grip of your palm, a handle that can be removed so the bottle will slide neatly into a side pocket on your pack; employs a push-button stopper to allow drinking and prevent leaks when you're not drinking; uses a tapered "sipping collar" so the beverage of choice flows into your mouth, not onto your chin, when you tip the bottle back, and; the lid doubles as a cup, albeit a small one.
Innate offers larger options, too. The Vite (MSRP $11.50-$14) holds 15 ounces, while the Vite Plus (MSRP $15-$17) will carry 24 ounces. Both are made from single-wall stainless, and will fit most bike water cages. For those who enjoy adult beverages, the Esse Vacuum Bottle (MSRP $22) new this spring will be able to carry an entire bottle of Chardonnay (and keep it chilled), or Cabernet!
If you prefer tea over coffee on the trail, come this fall Innate will have an answer for that, as well, when the company releases its Tea Culture Vacuum Flask. This 12-ounce container will come with a removable tea steeping basket, complete with a filter to trap the leaves. Both basket and filter, like the container, are made from stainless steel for durability and a clean taste.
Many of these bottles come with interchangeable lids, so you can have a pop-top lid or a flip-top lid in addition to the cup lids they come with. Plus, most of the collars have threads that will accompany many backcountry water filtration systems, such as the MSR Waterworks.
For snacks on the trail that require more than a pouch or bag there's the Shiru Vacuum Food Container. This stocky container, which arrives this coming fall in both 13- and 17-ounce sizes, should keep soups warm for upwards of 5 hours. The lid doubles as a cup and is easy to open even if you're wearing gloves.
Another plus of these beverage containers is that they are BPA- and phthalate-free. Oh, and they come in a variety of colors, from Aqua Blue and Canadian Red to Purple Haze and your basic-goes-with-anything black!