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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > GSI Soft Sided Wine Carafe > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

GSI SOFT SIDED WINE CARAFE
August 15, 2013

BY KATHLEEN WATERS
Logo

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 62
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gsioutdoors.com
MSRP: US $9.95
Listed Weight: 1.3 oz (37 g)
Measured Weight: 1.5 oz (43 g)
Listed and Measured Size: 6" x 1.7" x 11.2" (15.2 x 4.3 x 28.5 cm)

Other details:

* Volumn: 750 ml (25 fl oz)
* Materials: PE Laminate, Polypropylene, Silicone
* BPA Free
* Two-stage cap opening - wider mouth for filling plus an upper cap for drinking
* Tapered silhouette with cork embellishment and foiled exterior
* Rewritable date bar on reverse to record varietal, vintage, vinter and uncorking date.

Made in China
GSI Wine Carafe
Pictures Courtesy of GSI
Back of Carafe
Back of Wine Carafe




FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE

The GSI Soft Sided Wine Carafe has been a very frequently-used item on my hikes and backpacks ever since I got it last autumn. My hiking companions and I often like to enjoy a celebratory summit toast - even when we don't actually "summit" - and when sitting around that nighttime campfire, well, wine is just fine!

I would have to say that almost all my all-day hikes and weekend backpacks have seen me utilizing this very handy carafe. From treks in our backyard playground of Cooper Mountains and the bordering Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property to the 11 Mile Range in Breckenridge, Wasatch Mountains in Utah and various other trails in Colorado's Rocky Mountains region, I've been able to enjoy wine in the wilderness with this carafe..

Temperatures have spanned four seasons now since receiving the carafe, with lows as low as 20 F (7 C) and highs as high as 100 F (38 C). And while the carafe doesn't offer any real insulation, I have never had the contents freeze or get so hot as to be undrinkable, though after a long day in 90+ F (32 +C) blazing sun, the wine wasn't at its best. Hmm, maybe that's not a good thing - not finding a wine almost simmering to still be drinkable!

Let me explain why I like this GSI Carafe so well.

I'll start with - it's easy to fill. Well, let me say, it's easy to fill once I found the knack of it. This is where the "two-stage cap opening" comes into play. Opening the whole cap assembly - by grasping the cap at the cork band and twisting it - reveals a 1 inch (2.54 cm) opening which is about the size of any soda bottle, so aiming is crucial. I'm not the most nimble and graceful person, so pouring a bottle of wine with one hand while holding a semi-floppy carafe in the other can result in a rapidly expanding red puddle, stained pants/shirt and muffled words of frustration. It's not the carafe's fault - it's mine. I found if I blow strongly into the carafe before I start to fill it, the carafe will expand and the envelope bottom will change from knife-edge to a more stable shape I can then stand on a flat surface. I usually use the kitchen sink so as to contain any dribbles. I also prefer using a funnel to be even safer - wine stains are just plain nasty!
On the trails in Beaver Creek
Aspens and wine. It's a wonderful life!
To prepare the carafe for use in very warm weather, I fill it with water and put it in the refrigerator overnight to chill it. If white wine is on the next day's menu, I fill the carafe with the wine and chill the whole kit and caboodle overnight with great success. This process helps keep the wine from tasting like something to be served at a Wassail feast.

Once filled, the carafe is securely sealed via the attached cork-banded cap. I can't thank GSI enough for that little 2.5 inch (6.4 cm) piece of cord that keeps me from spending half the day searching among the rocks or trail for an errant cap I've managed to drop. In the past, losing a wine bottle top has resulted in some wobbly knees after having to hastily finish off the remaining liquids!

Two of the most notable features of the carafe are its soft sides which enable it to be packed in my backpacks more easily than a glass, plastic or metal container, and its negligible weight. I can mold the carafe into corners and pockets of my pack where a rigid bottle wouldn't go and it definitely weighs less than any other liquid-toting container I own. Once empty, the carafe collapses and can even be folded small enough to fit in a leg pocket of my cargo-type pants, if I choose.

On the trail, the upper portion of the two-stage cap can be opened and the contents can be squirted from the carafe similarly to many water bottles on the market. I never really drink wine while hiking - I only partake when in a resting position because I'd probably trip and fall on a trail if I tried to "drink and hike". But I did test out the "squeeze, squirt and slurp" feature once to write this review. It works but wine tastes so much better when poured into a glass, I believe. Oh well, all right - poured into a cup, even if it is a plastic one!

The carafe doesn't change the taste of the wine, even rather light white wines, though I found I need to be very careful about washing it out thoroughly particularly after a long hot day with a robust red vintage on trail or else the previous wine contents' odor lingers.

And since I mentioned "cleaning", I've never done more than filling the carafe with hot water, vigorously shaking it, repeating a few times and then letting it air dry before storing it in a cool place lying flat. I found that inserting a plastic straw into the mouth of the carafe and letting it air dry upside down with the straw balancing the carafe in a tall glass works well. Once dry, the carafe gets stored until the next adventure calls.

STARRING ATTRACTIONS

1.) Light-weight option for carrying wine into the backcountry.
2.) Easy to fill up.
3.) Takes up minimal space in my pack, especially when empty.
4.) Has an attached two-stage cap so as to not lose it on the trail.
Fill-Top
Two-Stage Opening - Fill
Fill Top
Two-Stage Opening - Drink

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1.) Would be easier to clean if the opening were just a bit larger.

SUMMARY

Last September, I was given the GSI Soft Sided Wine Carafe by a PR rep at a (different) manufacturer's annual press day. At the time, I thought it a neat little gadget but was totally clueless as to just how neat a little gadget it was! After using the carafe multiple times over the past almost-year, I'm convinced it is one of the most useful items a backpacker who is a wine drinker (or a wine drinker who backpacks) can have.

It's easy to fill, packs in any day or backpack, and washes/dries/stores without any fuss. And, most importantly, it's easy to drink from.

I'm so glad I have one of these and have even given 2 as gifts since I got mine (mostly to keep mine safe from my admiring hiking buddies!).

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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