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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > Klean Kanteen Insulated Food Canister > Test Report by Kathleen Waters

KLEAN KANTEEN FOOD CANISTER 8 OZ.
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - October 11, 2016
LONG TERM REPORT - January 17, 2017

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
AGE: 65
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)
WAIST: 28 " (71 cm)
TORSO LENGTH 18" (45 cm)

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.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Klean Kanteen
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.kleankanteen.com
MSRP: US $17.95
Listed Weight: 5 oz (152.9 g)
Measured Weight: 6 oz (170 g)

Other details:

Capacity 8 fl oz (237 ml)
Size 3.2" H x 3.1" W (81.3 mm H x 78.6 mm W)
Opening Diameter 2.5" (63 mm)
Responsibly Made in China
Klean Kanteen Canister
Picture copyright Klean Kanteen


PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

I really was excited about the whole food canister concept as soon as I saw it at the Outdoor Retailer Show earlier this year. It seemed like a really neat way to keep temperature-sensitive foods at their optimum temperature even while out in the wild.

When I received the food canister, I noticed several things about it that impressed me even more.

The canister is made of 18/8, food-grade stainless steel and has a mainly brushed body surface, so is shiny but not smooth. The base is smooth though and makes a nice subtle contrast to the body. Research on the Klean Kanteen website, I learned that the numbers 18/8 stand for the percentages of chromium and nickel in the steel, respectively. Chromium for hardness and nickel for strength.

There is an oddly-shaped indentation on the top of the lid so I could (if I were that organized and wanted to) label the canister with a grease pencil as to its contents. The grease pencil could then be washed off afterwards. On two sides of the lid, the words "klean canteen" are discreetly etched . The lid attaches to the body of the canister with a threaded neck and has a black-coated interior while the interior of the canister itself is stainless steel. On the bottom of the canister are random product information and the statement that the product is "Responsibly Made in China"!

The retail packaging on the food canister is very simple - just a heavy paper band wrapped around the body of the canister. This band declares that the canister will keep its contents cold for 10 hours and hot for 5 hours. It also states that stainless steel means the canister won't shatter or rust, is BPA and toxin-free and does not impart flavors. Interestingly, the Klean Kanteen website FAQ says that the canister will keep cold foods cold for 5 hours and hot foods hot for 3 hours. I guess I'll find out just how long the canisters keep the foods hot and cold during the next few months!


READING THE CARE AND USE INSTRUCTIONS

First, let me say, the enclosed directions were initially confusing and I'm not talking about the Chinese version! It appears that the Care and Use printed instructions enclosed with the Klean Kanteen are also used for their drink cups as well. I'm all for multiple use and avoidance of paper waste, but the "Disassembly" diagram would have benefited from a single line - "Disassembly of drink cups"! Of course, if I had totally read the instructions first instead of trying to "cheat" by just looking at pictures, I would have quickly found the Care and Use section labeled "Cafe Cup 2.0 Disassembly"! (Hey, it was late and I was tired!)

Once I got over my ditzyness, I learned Klean Kanteen advises that the canister be washed first before any usage. The lid is dishwasher safe but painted surfaces are not. Since there isn't any decal or design painted on the canister (thankfully!), I can put both the lid and canister in the dishwasher. However, I will most likely wash them both in the recommended warm soapy water. While bleach or cleaners with chlorine or abrasive elements are a no-no, a vinegar and baking soda wash is also deemed "ok".

When not in use, the food canister is to be stored with the lid off so as to allow the interior of the canister to completely dry.

The last line of the "care" portion of the Care and Use instructions let me know that dropping the food canister may cause it to become damaged or deformed and it may not hold its temperature. Uh-oh. This does not bode well for a klutz like me!

Other caveats are listed, such as: tighten cap completely before transport, do not heat with microwave, oven, stove or fire, do not freeze or use dry ice, let boiling liquids cool for 4 minutes before sealing, don't overfill, keep hot canister away from children, no carbonated beverages, no dairy or fermenting liquids for any extended period of time and MOST PUZZLING, "do not carry Kanteens containing liquids in bags to prevent accidental openings". Huh? Does that mean I can't carry the food canister filled with soup in my backpack? Are these instructions even right? Guess an e-mail to customer service is in order.

SUMMARY

I was sure hoping I would get the Klean Kanteen Canister in time for my trip to The Great White North! But I didn't, so I will have to wait until my next trip out into the wild to see how well the Kanteen Food Canister really works. We still have time for some "hot" climate conditions, so I will still be able to see how the canister keeps food cool and goodness knows, cold weather is right around the corner (I hope!), so I will need some hot soup/chili/etc. soon!


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since I received the Klean Kanteen Insulated Canister, I have been on six different day hikes where I attempted to use the canister. I also did several "in-house" trials as well.

All of the hikes were in the Rocky Mountain area of Colorado where the terrain varied from high desert scrubby pine to towering ponderosa forests. Most of the hikes were at altitudes between 9000 ft (2700 m) to 11,000 ft (3400 m). Temperatures ranged from an unseasonably high of 79 F (26 C) to a more normal low of 46 F (8 C). Mostly, though, I enjoyed an average very balmy 65-ish F (15 C).

Two day hikes in early October took place on Avon, Colorado mountain trails that should have already been covered with (at least, man-made) snow. Instead of snowshoeing as I had planned, I got to revel in the beautiful aspens on Beaver Creek Resort ski slopes. Brisk winds on the higher elevations, but sunny and refreshing.

In early November, I spent a week tramping around another world-famous ski area in Breckenridge, Colorado where again my snowshoeing plans were thwarted and only a dusting of snow in the highest elevations was to be seen. Still, I had a couple of gorgeous section hikes of the Colorado Trail at the crest of Hoosier Pass. Weather was cool early in the day(s) but warmed up nicely later on.

The last two days, I used the canister were day hikes in the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land just outside my back door here in Canon City. Hikes in my neighborhood start at just about that mile-high mark (1.6 km). A bit colder on those two hikes, in the mid-40s F (7 C).
Chicken Noodle Soup on the Trail
Chicken Noodle Soup on the Colorado Trail
Last Sip
Getting that last sip!

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

My observations as to the performance of the Klean canteen Insulated Food canister are as follows:

Looks

The canister is esthetically pleasing! Shiny brushed silver with smooth surfaces and nothing at all to catch on other objects. I particularly like that there isn't any glaring company logo emblazoned across the canister. The only feature that marks the sleek outer surface is a small indentation on the top which is perfect for using a "grease" pencil to label the contents if I so desired. Very pretty product!

Durability

Despite my initial misgivings based on my innate clumsiness, my canister held up well on my forays and is still (almost) as pristine as the day I got it. I never did drop it on any particular hard rocks/ground/kitchen ceramic tiles or the like but I wasn't necessarily careful when tossing it into the sink for washing either.

Care, Cleaning and Storage

Taking good care of the canister was easy. I never had any food stick to the interior that didn't come off with a swish of water and a paper towel on when on the trail. Once I'm home, I have usually tossed the canister into the kitchen sink with whatever else needs to be hand washed. Using regular dishwashing liquid and hot water is sufficient to loosen up any now-dried-on gunk. Once I've towel-dried the canister, I store it on my kitchen pantry shelf with the rest of my water bottles and thermos. I leave the lid off.

Capacity

The limited one cup/eight ounces (0.24 Ll) maximum capacity is a problem for me. One cup (0.24 L) is not very much. It certainly isn't a standard can of chili or can of soup. And while I know that food processors claim that a can of soup is two "servings" or a single package of instant oatmeal is one "serving", I personally, don't call that a "meal". And definitely, I need at least twice that if I am hiking or snowshoeing! Using the canister for a mid-morning, lunch or afternoon break means carrying an additional food bar or something else as well.

Performance

As a food carrying container for cold items, the Klean Kanteen Insulated Food Canister works very well. However, as a food-carrying container for hot items, not so much.

To explain: I have tried everything from ice to pudding, to butter and mayonnaise in the canister. Outside temperatures have been as high as 85 F (29 C) but mostly in the 75 F (24 C) area. I had good success with keeping the canister contents decently cool for up to 8 hours. Before I even tried using the canister on a hike, I tried filling it up with ice cubes to the maximum limit and 10 hours went by before all the ice cubes had totally melted. That was with the canister sitting on my kitchen counter at room temperature (70 F/20 C). I found that if I put the food in the canister in the refrigerator overnight, the food would stay colder for a short time longer, but of course, that's not a useful tactic in the back country. Nonetheless, the canister does a fine job of keeping cold items more or less, cold.
Where the canister fell short for me was with hot items. Under several different scenarios, I was disappointed to find my lunch or break meals to be lukewarm to downright cold and inedible. And that was after only a mere 4 hours or less.

One of the first tests I tried was my favorite dried chicken noodle soup. I made the soup according to the package directions and ladled it carefully into the canister. After securing the lid, I noticed that the lid was rather warm. Hmmm. That didn't seem right. After all, I could feel heat; some of it must be transfering to the lid and out of the canister. After a four-hour trek in 45-50 F (7-10 C) temperatures, I was not happy to find the soup barely warm. Good thing I was starving and had a backup tuna snack!

On a subsequent hike, I prepared a couple of packages of instant oatmeal for a mid-morning snack. We were leaving early in the morning and I'm not much of an early-breakfast-eater, so I thought the oatmeal would be a good source of energy a few miles/kilometers into the day. The oatmeal is made with boiling water and usually I add a bit of milk to it. Since I was not going to eat it immediately, I added a bit more boiling water and left out the cold milk.

To put it mildly, the oatmeal could probably have substituted for patching up some cracked cement and probably tasted like that too. It was stone cold and definitely not edible. No warm breakfast for me. Another food bar. Blech! Outdoor temperatures were even a bit higher on this trek - 65 F (18 C) average over the four hours.

One more time I tried to bring along hot soup for lunch. This time I boiled the heck out of the soup before I put it in the canister AND while I was making the soup, I poured boiling water into the canister to warm it up a bit. Same results, four hours later, the soup was cold. Okay, I was now done with trying to have a hot meal on the trail that didn't require me making it on the trail!

At first I thought it might be something I did. Maybe the food wasn't hot enough to begin with. Well, I nixed that possibility when I boiled the soup. Then I theorized maybe altitude had something to do with it. After all, all my treks were at altitudes above 5600 ft (1700 m) with some of them close to 11,000 ft (3400 m).
While I don't know if that is the case, it really doesn't help me much if it is as almost all my outdoor adventures are at high altitudes.

I highly suspect the heat is escaping from the lid. I don't think the lid is insulated well enough to keep the foods within hot.

Whatever the reason, I'm sad to say, while I will probably use the canister for home-base purposes, it will not be something I will grab when I go dayhiking or backpacking.

SUMMARY

The Klean Kanteen Insulated Food Canister is a well-made, beautifully-crafted item. It's shiny, sleek, compact and I just SO wanted to love it. But I couldn't. It just didn't keep food warm enough for me and I really struggled to find a use for it as a container for cold items. With pack weight always a consideration, if I have to try to manufacture a reason to use a piece of gear, well then, I guess I really don't need it, do I?

Currently, the canister is sitting on a shelf in my kitchen pantry waiting for me to brainstorm a use for it, but sadly, it most likely won't be in my backpack on any future day or overnight hikes. The canister just isn't for me.

Thank you to Klean Kanteen and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to try out the Insulated Food Canister.

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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