We tested the $16 REI Camp Mug to see how well it stood up to Yeti and MiiR

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Up until receiving the REI Camp Mug, every single cup of my morning coffee for the last two years has been consumed from one of three vessels: a cheap enamel mug that I use while camping, a 12oz MiiR Camp Mug that is remarkably similar in looks to the REI version, or a Yeti Rambler 14oz mug. Since the REI Camp Mug is insulated like the MiiR and Yeti mugs, let’s use those for comparison. 

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$15.93 at REI

To test heat retention, I filled all three mugs up with hot water, 194 degrees to be exact, and put on each of the mug’s lids. After 30 minutes the water in the Yeti was at 171 degrees, the MiiR was at 173 degrees and the REI Camp Mug was at 156, still hot, but quite a bit cooler (for reference, coffee’s flavors are best highlighted between 120°F and 140°F. Beyond 150°F, distinguishing the coffee’s true taste becomes challenging). 

After an hour, the temps for each were Yeti 160, MiiR 161 and REI 137, and after 90 minutes the temperature for each was Yeti 150, MiiR 151 and REI 122. All of that said, I generally don’t wait 90 minutes to drink my cup of coffee. In fact, I am usually on cup number three by then.

Additionally, one of the things I like least about insulated mugs, as well as the enamel one mentioned above, is that while you’re holding your mug it won’t warm up your hands the cozy way a ceramic mug does. In the case of the MiiR or the Yeti, the double-wall vacuum insulation keeps the warmth completely inside the mug; in the case of the enamel mug, the complete lack of insulation means the sides of the cup are too hot to wrap your hands around, forcing you to use only the handle. The REI Camp Mug also features double-wall vacuum insulation, but it seems to let some of that heat out, which is why it cools quicker than the others. What that ended up meaning for me was I was not only able to enjoy my coffee a bit sooner, but the warmth from the mug added some comfort on chillier spring mornings in the tent/camper. 

Yeti Miir mugs

Buy a Yeti

Buy a MiiR

Aside from the heat retention, I’d say the biggest difference between these offerings is the lid. The Yeti comes with the Magslider lid, which allows you to close the top to keep the heat in and prevents spilling. Additionally, it is easy to clean, just pop the magnetic slider off and throw it in the dishwasher. The Miir also has a sliding mechanism but it isn’t as easily removable, but both prevent spills well. The REI mug features a pretty bare bones lid (pictured below) and it won’t prevent spills the way the other two do. All that said, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used the lids, mostly due to the fact that it keeps the drink too hot. I can see how they’d come in handy while carrying them around camp, but if you’re not moving around and enjoying your hot beverage, I’d say the lid isn’t necessary.

Some final things to consider are price and mug care. At MSRP the REI mug comes in at $22.99, followed by the MiiR at $27.95 and finally the Yeti at $30. All can be had for cheaper if you wait for a sale, including this version of the REI mug that is on clearance right now for $15.93. You’d be hard pressed to find a Yeti at that price. As far as washing, REI suggests hand washing, which is a bit disappointing. Additionally it should be noted that this mug, like all of the other double wall vacuum insulated mugs I’ve come across, isn’t microwave safe.

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