It’s pretty much a given that we take our coffee on the go nowadays. The only problem is that the coffee either gets cold too quickly or the travel mug leaks. If you’re looking to try a stylish and fun vacuum-insulated travel mug that does what it promises (for the most part), the Camelbak Forge is a worthy contender.
Are you a daily commuter? Do you go on hikes every weekend? Dodging the crowd or rough terrain can both be a challenge when carrying a hot beverage. When looking for a suitable travel mug, you want one that is easy to carry, leak-free, and insulated.
Camelbak prides itself on bottles that you can drink from using one hand, which is especially excellent for cyclists. The Forge’s special snapback opening makes drinking while cycling possible and spill-free. Once you release the button, the opening closes so you don’t have to worry about spilling your coffee if your hand slips or you hit a bump on the road.
Like other travel mugs, it has a stainless steel interior for trapping heat and comes in fun colors. However, it doesn’t have an actual handle.
The Camelbak Forge is great for commuting to work, outdoor fun, or even when hanging around your home with the family. It’s also good not just for coffee and other hot drinks, but for water and iced tea as well.
While the Camelbak Forge is not the first insulated travel mug to cross my path, I find there’s a lot to like about it. It’s made from stainless steel and has a one-handed drinking lever, making it easier to drink from while multitasking. Best of all, the double-walled vacuum-insulated mug helps keep your coffee hot and safe for several hours.
On the other hand, if you want to get the Camelbak Forge in a fun color, that color will rub off quickly, so the regular stainless steel mug might work best. While the mug is easy to clean, you may want to use a finger brush for some of the small nooks and crannies. If you’re prone to dropping travel mugs, the lid is not as durable, and the outside scratches fast.
- Self-sealing caps helps eliminate spills
- Impact-resistant construction
- Easy-to-clean lid and cap
- Lock-open button for continuous sipping
- Finger loop makes carrying with full hands easy
- Colors rub off easily and don’t last
- Opening for sipping is a little too small
- The lid isn’t as durable
The Camelbak Forge has plenty of features necessary for a good travel mug, so let’s take a look.
The Camelbak Forge’s self-sealing cap folds outward, allowing you to get all the hard-to-reach places. Whether you wash the mug in the dishwasher or by hand, it’s easy to get off all the gunk that builds around the drinking opening and the cap’s edges. You might want a finger brush on hand to really get the nooks and crannies, though.
Do bear in mind that the mug’s stainless steel body does need to be hand-washed and should not go in the dishwasher. On the other hand, go ahead and use the dishwasher for the removable cap.
It might seem like an insignificant feature, but when you have your hands full and still need to pick up your coffee mug, a finger loop is essential. I’ve often had to carry armfuls of lunch bags or work things into the house while also carrying my mug. The finger loop is also terrific for when you’re in a hurry with your arms full.
You can also use the finger loop to hang the bottle from a hook in your kitchen. The mug might also be uncomfortable to hold right when you pour your warm drink in, so holding it by the loop should solve that problem. If you prefer your travel mugs to have actual handles, you might want to look elsewhere.
With just a flick of your finger, you can pull up the drinking lever to sip your drink. Once you let the trigger go, it’ll snap right back into place, so you don’t have to worry about spills.
The opening you drink your coffee through might be a little small, but it does work to prevent major leakage. You can also lock the opening in place for easier consumption.
To prevent too much buildup, make sure to snap the lever closed as soon as you take your mouth away. Little drops can build up over time, and they might eventually spill onto your hand.
The Camelbak Forge boasts of keeping drinks hot for up to four hours, though it’s closer to two. While that might not seem like a long time, it’s a fact of life that coffee or tea eventually get cold, and you can only keep them warm for so long.
I don’t recommend putting your drink into the mug right when it’s fresh. If you put it in the mug right away, it’s going to stay quite hot, so let it sit for a few moments before filling the mug.
You can also use the Camelbak Forge to keep water or your iced coffee cool for a few hours. I used the Camelbak Forge as a water bottle during one summer, and even when I left it in a hot car for a few hours, the water stayed relatively cool.
The Camelbak Forge has many small parts, but you don’t have to replace the whole bottle if something goes wrong. I had a bottle once where the plastic around the hinge broke, so I asked Camelbak’s pretty excellent customer service to replace it.
If you’re more environmentally conscious or don’t want to shell out more money for a new bottle, you can rest easy knowing you’re not wasting a whole bottle for one part.
If you like smaller sips of coffee without worrying that you’ll spill your drink, the Camelbak Forge has that covered. That said, the hole is small enough that it’ll be hard to get every drop out of the mug. You may need to keep your head tilted for a while to get all the coffee out.
It’s always nice to brew your coffee right into your mug, and the Camelbak Forge is small enough to fit under most coffee makers. Just slip the mug right under your Keurig or regular coffee maker, and you’re set to go.
It also fits into almost all cupholders in backpacks, cars, and other motor vehicles, as per the standard coffee cup sizes.
The Camelbak Forge’s construction is pretty strong, so it can take abuse pretty well. I don’t recommend you drop it on purpose to test it out, but if you do, at least you won’t lose your drink. The snap-close mechanism by the drink opening closes as soon as you let go, so if you drop the mug, your drink will stay inside.
If you’re looking for something spill-proof, this is for you.
That said, the mug may still easily scratch when it is dropped or otherwise mishandled.
While on occasion, a few drops of coffee might escape the Camelbak Forge, it does not leak, for the most part. The mug itself might even prove versatile. I once tested out the Camelbak Forge as a cocktail shaker, and nothing came out, thanks to the tightly sealed lid and snapback closure.
Sometimes, I like to switch between coffee and tea in my travel mug, and luckily, the Camelbak Forge does not retain coffee or tea flavors. However, that’s because, once I finish my drink, I wash the mug out so it is clean and ready. If you leave coffee or tea inside the mug for too long, it will stain slightly, so wash it frequently.
At the end of the day, the Camelbak Forge serves its most basic purpose as a thermal travel mug. It has room for improvement, but it does keep drinks warm and has a unique mechanism for keeping the drink sealed inside. The finger loop will also come in handy if you ever find your arms full while still needing to carry your drink.
If you don’t think the Camelbak Forge is the travel mug for you, there are a few other excellent travel mugs, such as the Otterbox Tumbler. It has many of the same features as the Camelbak Forge but is slightly cheaper in price and has a wider lip for sipping. If you prefer more color in your travel mugs, the Otterbox’s colors should last longer.
For a much cheaper alternative with all the same features, the Contigo Snapseal travel mug might work too. You can choose from a variety of colors and snap back the lid with one hand as well.