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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Thermos Flasks > Avex Highland AUTOSEAL Travel Mug > Test Report by Bob Dorenfeld



Avex - Highland AUTOSEAL Stainless Travel Mug 
Test Series By Bob Dorenfeld
Initial Report    June 10, 2014
Long Term Report   Oct. 27, 2014

Tester Bio
Name: Bob Dorenfeld



I'm an active hiker, snowshoer, skier, and backpacker.  Home base is the Southern Colorado Rockies, where I'll hike from 7000 ft (2100 m) to alpine tundra, with desert trips at lower altitudes.  Six to 12 miles (10 to 20 km) daily is my norm, with elevation gains up to 4000 ft (1200 m).  Many of my backpack trips are two or three nights, other trips are longer, and I usually carry about 30 lb (14 kg).  My style is lightweight but not obsessively so - extras like binoculars, camera, and notebook make my trips more enjoyable.

Email: geartest(at)sageandspruce(dot)net
Age: 56
Location: Salida, Colorado, USA
Gender: M
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)


Product Overview

Manufacturer:   Avex
Website:  www.avexsport.com
MSRP:  
   
20 fl oz (591 ml)  US$24.99
    16 fl oz (473 ml)  US$22.99
Stated Volume: 
    large - 20 fl oz (591 ml)
    small - 16 fl oz (473 ml)
Measured Width x Height: 
    large: 3 in (7.6 cm) x 9.5 in (24 cm)
    small: 2.75 in (7 cm) x 8.75 in (22 cm)
Body Material: Stainless steel
Stated Hot Insulation:
    large: up to 7 hours
    small: up to 5 hours
Stated Cold Insulation:  
    large: up to 20 hours
    small: up to 14 hours
Carry Clip: No
Color: 
    large: black body, gray lid
    small: silver body, red/gray lid

 Brazos water bottle
Photos:  Avex
The Highland is a vacuum-insulated stainless steel water bottle for keeping contents either hot or cold.  The narrow body is designed to fit most car-cup holders, and it's tapered near the top to make a nice hand-hold; the steel surface is smooth yet has enough friction to not easily slip from my hand.  The small and the large sizes are functionally equivalent, and differ in color and size: the large is slightly wider and taller than the small.  The two sizes also differ in the recommended maximum keeping times for hot and cold liquids.  The BPA-free plastic lid, which screws off in only one turn, is designed with Avex's patented "one-touch AUTOSEAL" design that opens the spout for drinking or pouring via a horizontal tensioned slide operated by one finger.  A vertical slider locks the lid when not in use and to protect against dirt.  Avex says that both lid and body of the Highland are dishwasher safe.  The bottoms of the mugs have a non-slip plastic surface.  I weighed the small Highland at 10 oz (283 g) and the large at 12 oz (340 g), empty, and at 1 lb 8 oz (680 g) and 1 lb 14 oz (850 g), filled with water.  Inside the bottle and on removable paper wrapped around it are instructions about how to use and care for the Highland.  Also stamped on the bottom of both bottles are the reminders "Top Rack Dishwasher Safe" and "Do Not Microwave".


- Initial Report -

First Impressions     

Both of these water bottles are comfortable to hold and pick up, even when filled all the way with liquid up to the threads, the recommended levels.  They hold the stated volume of liquid - 16 fl oz (473 ml) for the small, and 20 fl oz (591 ml) for the large.  Highland small backI found the lids easy to screw on and off (in just one complete turn) and they engage tightly so I know they're in right.  I couldn't get any water to leak out of the lids or the closed and capped spouts when turned upside down, or even by swinging the bottles from the bottom.  The one-handed operation of the spouts works by pressing my index finger against the large button on the back of lid, opening the approximately 1/8 x 1/2 in (0.3 x 1.3 cm) spout.  Enough water came out to satisfy my thirst, and didn't dribble either.  The sliding lock feature of that back button is also easy to use with one finger - down to lock, up to unlock, with a reassuring click and enough friction to let me know it's working correctly.  There is no separate cover for the spout, it seems that it relies on a self-seal to keep dirt and other stuff out of it when in use.  Both of these Highland bottles stood firmly without easily tipping on my level tabletop, when either empty or full.  I like the non-slip bottoms, lots of friction to keep them from sliding about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ran a couple of informal tests to verify Avex's claims of hot and cold keeping times for the bottles.  For each test I filled the bottle with the maximum recommended volume of water, and kept it at room temperature during the test for the maximum time suggested by Avex.  The temperature results are consistent between the bottle sizes:

  LARGE SMALL
Hot   7 hours, started @ 170 F(77 C), finished at 110 F (43 C)    5 hours, started @ 170 F(77 C), finished at 110 F (43 C)
Cold 20 hours, started @ 40 F (4 C), finished at 60 F (15 C) 14 hours, started @ 40 F (4 C), finished at 60 F (15 C)

In this test, the hot was still warm, and the cold was only cool but still somewhat refreshing.  Of course, this is only one test, and I didn't vary all of the factors that I could have, such as starting with colder or hotter water, keeping the bottle at other than room temperature, and sampling the contents before the maximum time is up.  However, it's useful as a baseline, and I think it shows that the Highland vacuum bottles are keeping liquids cold or hot for reasonable lengths of time.

 

- Long Term Report -

It's been about four months since I started using both of these Avex Highland bottles.  In that time I've carried them on five day hikes lasting from two to eight hours each, all in the Sawatch range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains where I found plenty of water that I could purify for refilling the bottles along the way.  They also accompanied me and a friend on four car-camping trips, and I carried them to various outdoor events such as concerts and picnics.  Across all of these trips I had temperatures ranging from 45-85 F (7-29 C).  I mostly filled them with water or iced tea, but also occasionally with hot tea or coffee.  Sometimes they had additional ice cubes to keep the liquid cold for longer periods.

Highlands on the riverUsability

I have found both the Large and Small Highland bottles easy to use (they have the same lid design).  It was easy to unscrew the lids and fill them, as well as screw the lids back on securely.  No liquids spilled as long as the lids were tight and the sip-opening wasn't accidently pressed open (actually hard to do unintentionally).  The locking mechanism to keep contents from spilling ("one-touch AUTOSEAL") worked well and it didn't take much thought to use: a mark of good design.  Both sipping using the lids and drinking from the open bottle without the lids was comfortable and neither method spilled while drinking.

Cleaning the bottles is not a problem.  Usually I just rinsed them out well and set them to dry on the counter with the lids off.  I dishwashed both bottles twice, and the lids and bottles came out clean and ready to use.

Both bottles have non-skid surfaces on the bottom.  I really like this feature as it helps keep them from being accidently knocked over, especially outdoors when set on non-level or rough places like rocks and grass.


Heat Retention

The hot coffee and tea remained hot to warm in both of the Large and Small Highlands, depending on how long they were stored.  Although I didn't carry out precise measurements during testing like I had done for my First Impressions (see above), I was satisfied with my coffee and tea temperature after 1-5 hours for both bottles.

Cold Retention

Cold liquids also remained very cold in both the Large and Small Highlands, especially when they contained some ice at the start.  In fact, both my friend and I commented that we wished the ice tea had warmed up just a little bit to make it easier to drink!  Leaving the lid off for a while allowed the very cold contents to warm a little.

Wear and Tear


I have used the black Large Highland bottle more than the silver larger one (see photo above), and it has suffered some small nicks and scratches on its matte black outside surface from being placed next to other metal objects, on the ground, and occasionally rolling around the car floor.  This hasn't affected the bottle's functionality at all.  The Small Highland has a brushed unpainted metal surface, so it shows less wear and tear compared to the Large; even if I'd used it as much as the Large, I don't think it'd show as much wear on the outside.  For both bottles the plastic lids have held up very well and work like new.


Summary
 
Both bottles - Large and Small Highland - were easy to hold, and the lids operated intuitively without much fuss.  I liked the sip-opening locks to keep them from accidently spilling, but the sliders never inadvertently opened even when unlocked.

Pros
  - keeps liquids hot or cold very well
  - easy to use
  - comfortable to drink from (both with and without lids)
  - unpainted metal surface of Large bottle wears well without showing dings and nicks
  - non-skid bottoms keep them from sliding where set down


Cons
  -
black matte surface on Small bottle shows all dings and nicks

 

Acknowledgments    

Thanks to Avex and to BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Highland Travel Mugs.


Reviewed By
Bob Dorenfeld
Southern Colorado Mountains





Read more reviews of Avex Sport gear
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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Thermos Flasks > Avex Highland AUTOSEAL Travel Mug > Test Report by Bob Dorenfeld



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