AVEX HIGHLAND AUTOSEAL STAINLESS TRAVEL MUGS
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
June 11, 2014
Steven M. Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
179 lb (81.20 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|AVEX 2O OZ BLACK MATTE HIGHLAND|
|AVEX 16 OZ STAINLESS HIGHLAND|
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.avexsport.com
Testing: 20 oz (591 ml) Stainless Matte Travel Mug & 16 oz (473 ml) Stainless Travel Mug
MSRP: Larger Mug - US $24.99; Smaller Mug - US $22.99
Listed Weights: N/A
Measured Weights: Bottle + Lid -- Larger Mug - 13.2 oz (375 g); Smaller Mug - 12.0 oz (341 g)
Measured Weights: Bottle -- Larger Mug - 10.1 oz (285 g); Smaller Mug - 8.9 oz (251 g)
Measured Weights: Lid -- Larger Mug - 3.1 oz (90 g); Smaller Mug - 3.1 oz (90 g)
Listed Height & Widths: -- Larger Mug - 9.25 in x 3.30 in (23.5 cm x 8.4 cm); Smaller Mug - 8.8 in x 3.3 in (22.4 cm x 8.4 cm)
Measured Heights: -- Larger Mug - 9.5 in (24.1 cm); Smaller Mug - 8.625 in (21.9 cm)
Measured Lid Widths: 3.125 in x 2.625 in (7.9 cm x 6.7 cm) for Both Lids
Measured Base Widths: -- Larger Mug - 2.875 in (7.3cm); Smaller Mug - 2.625 in (6.7 cm)
Listed Capacities: -- Larger Mug - 20 fl oz (591 ml); Smaller Mug - 16 fl oz (473 ml)
Measured Capacities to Brim: -- Larger Mug - 22 fl oz (651 ml); Smaller Mug - 18 fl oz (532 ml)
Listed Hot Insulating Times: -- Larger Mug - Up to 7 hours; Smaller Mug - Up to 5 hours
Listed Cold Insulating Times: -- Larger Mug - Up to 20 hours; Smaller Mug - Up to 14 hours
The Highland AUTOSEAL Travel Mugs are stainless steel insulated bottles designed to keep liquids both hot and cold. The smaller mug with a traditional stainless finish and red accents claims to keep liquids hot for up to 5 hours and cold for up to 14 hours. The larger mug is a new model in stainless, but with black matte with black and gray accents. The larger model claims extended hot times up to 7 hours and cold for up to 20 hours. They use lids with the patented AUTOSEAL technology designed to be both spill and leak-proof. The mug spouts are opened for sipping by depressing the AUTOSEAL buttons and are sealed by releasing them. The Highland lids also offer button locks that don't allow the AUTOSEAL button to be depressed and ensuring liquids can't be spilled. The mugs are made with double walled stainless steel that is designed to both insulate the liquids within, as well as eliminating external condensation. The mug bodies are vacuum insulated.
The mugs are designed to fit into auto cup holders and they offer patent-pending, dishwasher-safe bases that are designed to grip table tops and minimize the sound of metal clanking.
|NOTE LOCKED (RED) VS. UNLOCKED POSITIONS|
Both allow for one-hand operation and are made with 100% FDA-approved plastic materials. The website does not clarify if the plastics are BPA free. The FDA statement and BPA omission leads me to believe there is BPA in the lid, but I can't confirm or deny this, it is merely my opinion.
The bottles are not intended for use with pulpy beverages. They are not to be microwaved or frozen, and should not be cleaned with cleaners containing bleach, chlorine, abrasives or other harsh chemicals.
Both the lids and bodies are top rack dishwasher safe, however, they also may be cleaned by flushing the spouts with warm water or soaked in warm water for at least 10 minutes. The products should always be stored with the lid removed to ensure the parts are allowed to dry completely.
There are several warnings stated that particularly tend to lean toward hot beverage use. The warnings clearly state to always depress the AUTOSEAL button with the mug in an upright position and away from the face in order to release pressure before drinking. The body should never be overfilled and if the mug is filled with boiling water any liquid should be allowed to cool for at least three (3) minutes with the lid removed.
The Avex Highland AUTOSEAL Stainless Travel Mugs appear to be a well-made products series. Upon immediately picking up the mugs I found them considerably heavier than the average hydration bag I currently use in the backcountry. I generally carry hydration bags that weigh in just around an ounce (28 g), but they offer absolutely no insulating properties.
Although the Highland series offer features like the AUTOSEAL with a button lock that suggests preventing spills in backpacks and other gear, I personally see this product designed for keeping beverages insulated during commuter travel or office work. This is merely my opinion, and I plan to test the mugs in both outdoor, exercise and the aforementioned conditions.
The design has many interesting features that intrigue me. I was immediately impressed with the base grip that both allowed the mugs to remain secure to a table top while not creating excessive noise in an office setting. I also found it interesting that the lid threaded into the base on the interior of the bottle. Nearly every bottle or mug I've ever owned thread on the exterior. In fact, I can't think of any bottle/mug I've owned that threads in such a manner.
|CUT MARKS ON BOTH LIDS|
The mugs appear stylish and fit comfortably in my hand. The 16 oz (473 ml) mug fits better into my 'medium' sized hand. I generally wear a 'medium' glove. However, the larger black matte mug is more aesthetic and visually appealing in my personal opinion. I found the one-handed operation to be accurate, and I can do so with ambidextrous precision without problem. I am, however, left handed and have learned to have to do many things in life with my weaker side.
During the Initial Report phase of this test I've done no formal heat or cool testing on the mugs, and I certainly am aware that varying conditions will affect the thermal insulating capabilities of the products as I move forward into the Field Review. I did take the opportunity to fill the 16 oz (473 ml) mug with a hot cup of coffee as I embarked on a five (5) hour drive. It was early morning and I sipped on more than an estimated 3/4's of the drink before I decided to allow the remaining liquid to sit in the mug for an empiric test. After approximately 3 1/2 hours I took a sip of the coffee. If certainly did not find it to be what I would call 'hot'. It wasn't even what I'd subjectively call 'warm', but it also wasn't 'cool' or 'cold' in my subjective opinion.
Again, the volume was well over 3/4's empty before I attempted this test, and understanding basic physics I'd expect with more liquid volume in the mug I'd foresee it remaining warmer for a longer period of time than with less volume. Certainly the product is said to be sealed, but I look forward to testing the mugs more extensively to verify my theories.
During initial inspection I did notice one peculiarly odd thing about both of the mugs' lids. They both had what I presume to be a scratch created by what I could only assume would be a box cutter. At first I thought it was likely a lid feature, as both had quite similar cut marks. However, when I took a closer examination I verified the cuts/scratches were not symmetric on the lids. To clarify, one cut was closer to the drink spout at what I'd call a 10 o'clock position, and the other was at an 8 o'clock position. Please refer to the adjacent image for more clarity. I hypothesize these were made by a box cutter or similar item in opening a bulk package in which the mugs were stored. I can't be certain by any means, but I can assure the reader the mugs arrived well protected in a plastic wrap and with plenty of corrugated protection and I didn't create these cuts when initially opening the package.
|PRESSURE WARNING REMINDER|
These cosmetic blemishes don't deter from product performance, but I am noting them because had I purchased these $23 - $25 products and they'd arrived in this condition I likely would have been an unsatisfied customer.
As mentioned in the Product Information Section warnings clearly state to always depress the AUTOSEAL button with the mug in an upright position and away from the face in order to release pressure before drinking and the body should never be overfilled. I'll verify this warning should be headed. The first time I filled the vessel with hot coffee and allowed it to sit for a few minutes before taking a sip, I quickly noticed a pressure expulsion when I depressed the AUTOSEAL button. This occurred with a hot beverage filled well below the maximum fill level. Based on this, I don't plan on ever testing the true brim capacity limits of the mugs.
I'm quite excited to begin testing the Avex Highland Mugs over the next several months. I'm interested in seeing how long each vessel will keep liquids both hot and cold based on their respective suggested maximums.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
I'm relatively impressed with the technology and design of the travel mugs.
|INSIDE VIEW OF AUTOSEAL LIDS|
I truly only have one key concern with the mugs, and it pertains to the lids. They appear quite intricate with plenty of 'parts' that I think could be a breeding ground for bacteria. Notice the accompanying image to the right. The lids and the bodies of the vessels are both top-rack dishwasher safe, but in my lay opinion this is something that needs to be done regularly to avoid potential problems. How will I address this if I'm in the backcountry for 7-10 days?
The mugs are certainly heavier than most hydration vessels I currently use when backpacking, but they do offer insulating properties. The question that I hope to answer in the Field Report is whether the weight penalty I'm accepting gives me the cooling and/or heating properties I expect after a day on the trail?
I do see the mugs as an ideal asset to daily commuting and exercise life and I intend to report on performance in these areas as well.
I invite the reader to return in approximately four (4) months to review how these products have performed. I'd like to thank Avex and to BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Highland AUTOSEAL Stainless Travel Mugs.
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