Thursday, August 02, 2018

Happy Hour at the Campsite! (Hydro Flask Wine Bottle and Beer Growler Review)

I'd been hearing awesome things about Hydro Flask's beverage containers for a while now, but my interest was truly piqued when I heard about a couple products that would keep my favourite beverages cold on summer camping trips.

Backcountry camping with cold wine

The Hydro Flask Wine Bottle

Product Introduction:

"Whether you’re summiting peaks or chasing sunsets, think outside the wine box with our new 25 oz Wine Bottle. It holds an entire bottle of wine and features TempShield™ insulation to keep your whites perfectly chilled and your reds at room temperature." - Altitude Sports 
An entire bottle of chilled wine

Features (as copied directly from the Altitude Sports website)

• TempShield™ insulation and leak-proof cap keep wine at the perfect temperature

• Durable 18/8 Pro Grade Stainless Steel construction won’t retain or transfer flavors

• Pure Pour™ opening makes it easy to fill and pour without drips

• BPA-Free and Phthalate-Free

• Silicone base for extra traction on slippery surfaces

• Holds an entire standard bottle of wine

• Pairs with our 10 oz Wine Tumbler

My favourite beverage as a reward for reaching the backcountry campsite 

How we tested it:

A full bottle of wine fits in the Hydro Flask Wine Bottle
We first took the Hydro Flask Wine Bottle into a backcountry hut this past June. While I could have poured my wine into a plastic nalgene bottle, I don't like warm whites or ros├ęs (and don't really like hot red wine either.)

We then tried the product on an overnight backpacking trip and finally on an overnight paddling trip, camping on a beach along the Columbia River.

Initial thoughts:

I have to admit that the Hydro Flask bottle is heavy and is probably not ideal for backpacking when you're also carrying a tent, overnight gear, cooking gear, etc.

The flask weighs close to a pound (empty.) Add your wine, and it's not the best "lightweight" option for backpacking.

It also isn't ideal for backpacking because you probably won't clip it to the outside of your pack (meaning you need to find room inside your pack for it,) and it doesn't become any smaller once your wine is finished. (Unlike a platypus that would fold up very small for the hike out.)

Top uses for the Hydro Flask Wine Bottle: 

  1. Day trips. I know I could get in trouble for suggesting you drink in public places (so I'm leaving this choice 100% on you,) but the Hydro Flask would be ideal for picnics, day trips with boats to a quiet beach somewhere, a sunset hike, or for a movie or concert in a park.

  2. Overnight paddling trips. Let your boat carry the weight for you and appreciate your cold wine when you reach your campground or beach. This is the absolute best use of the Hydro Flask Wine Bottle.

  3. Backcountry hut trips. You'll be carrying less gear here, so an extra pound won't matter as much. In winter, you can also use a sled to get your wine to camp.

  4. Car camping trips. My family has a trailer (with a fridge) but many of my friends don't - and wine bottles take up a lot of space in a cooler. Use a Hydro Flask bottle and you won't have to worry about keeping your beverages cold.
Nothing beats a cold beverage at camp 

Other recommended uses:

The other day I filled my Hydro Flask Bottle with cold brew coffee (did you know that you can buy cans of Kicking Horse Cold Brew Coffee at the store?) The bottle easily held two cans of cold brew coffee (along with a special addition I used to sweeten and add cream to it.)

This has become my new favourite use for the Hydro Flask Bottle and I loved using the little tumbler to drink out of while watching my son play in the creek where we'd parked ourselves for the afternoon.

Pair with: 

You'll want to get the 10 oz insulated wine tumbler to pair with your Hydro Flask Wine Bottle. It is temperature controlled to keep your wine at the ideal temperature (trust me, I have several of these tumblers and they are amazing!!)

Make sure you get a lid to go with your tumbler as well. This way you can walk around with your drink without risk of spilling it. - And it helps to keep it cold.

I got both my flask bottle and the tumbler from the Altitude Sports website, but they are currently out of stock in the 10 oz tumblers so the link above is to the actual Hydro Flask website.

Overall opinion and recommendation: 

- The product performs as intended. It definitely keeps wine and other beverages cold, and I was surprised at how refreshing my cold brew coffee tasted out of the bottle (even while sitting in the hot sun for hours.)

- Not recommended for backpacking due to weight.

- Highly recommended for day trips, overnight paddling trips, hut trips, and car camping.

- I'd like to see the 10 oz tumbler (and lid) included in the price of the wine bottle. The bottle is currently on sale for $39.99 from Altitude Sports. The tumbler though is an extra $29.95 from the Hydro Flask website - which seems a bit expensive for a cup. (And the lid is an extra $7.50 - which is actually crazy.)

Future plans for Our Hydro Flask Wine Bottle: 

I'm excited to try using it more for day trips. It has a date with some backcountry hot springs I want to visit, and I definitely plan to use it for picnics at lot this summer after my experience with cold brew coffee. I'll be taking it straight into the nearest Starbucks store all summer long to fill.

The Hydro Flask Wine Bottle is great for overnight paddling trips 

The Hydro Flask 64 oz Beer Growler

Product Introduction:

"The 64oz Beer Growler by Hydro Flask was designed to make happy hours even happier. It’s made from pro-grade stainless steel and features the Fresh Carry System™, which keeps beer carbonated throughout the day or evening. The TempShield™ double wall vacuum insulation keeps every sip as carbonated and icy cold as when it was first poured. The new streamlined handle makes transporting this Growler easy." - Altitude Sports 

Features (as copied directly from the Altitude Sports website)

Cold beer wherever you want it

  • Pro-Grade stainless steel

  • Fresh Carry System™

  • TempShield™ insulation

  • Streamlined handle

  • BPA-Free & Phthalate-Free

  • Lifetime warranty

How we tested it:

We quickly discovered that the 64 oz beer growler is way too big to take backcountry camping. We therefore tried the product on a car camping trip to see what we thought of the whole "growler experience."

Initial thoughts:

We are brand new to using a growler, so finding a growler bar to fill the flask was the first task I had to undertake.I then learned that liquor stores don't really like to fill growlers they can't see through. It makes them very hard to fill when the staff can't see how much beer (and foam) is filling the bottle. It took the store a good 20 minutes to fill the bottle (while my son went stir crazy.)

Lesson learned - go fill the growler when my son isn't with me, and find places to fill it where they have solid experience with a wide variety of growlers (including ones that are not clear glass bottles.)

Car camping with our Hydro Flask Beer Growler 

Top uses for the Hydro Flask Beer Growler:

  1. Car camping! If you are tenting and limited with space in your cooler, this will be a lifesaver for you! Skip the cans of beer taking up all the room in your cooler and fill your beer growler instead.

  2. Overnight paddling trips. This is the ideal situation for a Hydro Flask Beer Growler. Let the boats carry the weight of the flask (close to 2 pounds empty + the weight of beer.)

  3. Winter hut trips. If you're using a sled to tow your gear to a hut this winter, you'll love bringing a beer growler in for your group to enjoy.

Pair with: 

You'll want to buy a 16 oz tumbler to go with your flask. As with the wine tumblers, it helps to control the temperature of your beer.

Filling our hydro flask at a local growler bar 

Overall opinion and recommendation: 

- The product performs as intended. It keeps beer cold and carbonated.

- Not recommended for backpacking due to weight and size

- For backcountry use, I'd recommend purchasing the 32 oz Hydro Flask beer growler instead.

- Highly recommended for overnight paddling trips, car camping, and winter hut trips with sleds

- I'd like to see the 16 oz tumbler included in the price of the beer growler. The growler is currently on sale for $57.99 from Altitude Sports. The tumbler though is an extra $21.99  - which seems a bit expensive for a cup.

Future plans for our Hydro Flask Beer Growler:

I can't wait to use it in the winter on backcountry hut trips when we have a sled to haul the heavy stuff in with.

I'm also very excited about our upcoming road trip across BC. I plan to fill the growler up at micro breweries across the province from Fernie through to the Okanagan.

Finally, I think this could be an amazing Christmas present for friends who love car camping (and always struggle with not having enough cooler space.) - Though I'll have to buy them another one because I'm definitely not giving mine up.

Nothing like returning to camp for cold beverages 

Disclaimer: We were provided with Hydro Flask products for review from Altitude Sports, Canadian online outdoor adventure store. As always, all opinions and reviews are my own. 

And, shopping tip: If you're thinking that these products would be good Christmas presents for somebody in your family, they are on sale now! Buy early and save yourself some stress come December.

The face of a happy backcountry camper 

Visit the Altitude Sports website to see all Hydroflask products available for purchase

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