We have previously talked about the basic mate kit and how to create one targeted for travelling. In this article we’ll help you select an insulated water bottle or thermos, a non-essential, yet a crucial tool for modern-day mate drinking.
Insulated water bottles come in many different sizes. Which one to choose depends on where and when you plan to drink mate.
1L bottles are the most popular option. They tend to be more than enough for one person or a small group of people drinking mate all day. 0,7L bottles are useful for those that only drink alone, those that do not drink as much or those that have the possibility to refill their bottles through the day. Bigger bottles, of around 2L capacity, are a good option to take to camping or the beach, especially for bigger groups.
No matter what material, brand or model you decide to buy, keep in mind you should look for quality stamps and/or well-known brands. Reviews are often very helpful as well.
All the materials should be apt for food and high temperatures. There are bottles in the market that are made with toxic stainless steel or plastic that react specifically to heat.
Stainless steel bottles are (usually) a lightweight and robust option. They are made of two stainless steel ‘bottles’, one inside the other one. Usually they an airless space between them, which is known as vacuum technology.
However, it is important to remember that they are not unbreakable. A fall or strong hit might create a fissure in the solder between the two ‘bottles’ that form the bottles. This could affect the vacuum technology and therefore, the performance of the insulation.
According to the British Stainless Steel Association, this material has approximately 60% of recycled content and is, in theory, 100% recyclable. However, most lids are made of plastic, that may or may not be recyclable.
Stainless steel has pores, which is why it’s recommended to use this type of bottle just for water – and not for juice, coffee, alcohol, etc.
Glass bottles are usually made out of two very thin glass layers that have some space between them. They often have a cover made of neoprene, silicone or plastic to make them easier to carry and give them extra protection.
As it might be expected, glass bottles are extremely fragile. If you decide to opt for a glass bottles instead of stainless steel, we highly recommend choosing a brand that offers replacement parts.
Glass bottles transmit less heat than metal, allowing the drinks to potentially stay hot or cold for a longer period of time.
Glass is pore-less, which means it does not transfer any flavor. Due to this quality, glass bottles can be used for juice, coffee and water without any alteration in taste.
Our Top Choices
Due to their durability, efficiency and practicality, we recommend buying stainless steel bottles. Here are our two favorite brands:
- Stanley has been around for over a century and for good reason. Their ‘vacuum bottles’, come in different sizes, from 0.5L to 2L. They claim to keep hot drinks up to 32 hours (depending on the size), and they are ice-compatible, which is great for tereré drinkers. Stanley’s flasks are more expensive than other brands, but they have a wide variety of replacement parts and most importantly, a lifetime warranty.
- Thermos is another great brand that has been around for over a century. It uses vacuum insulation – actually, it claims to be the first company developing such technology. It supposedly holds both hot or cold drinks at their original temperature for 24hs. They also come in different sizes and have 5-year warranty.
Taking Care Of Your Bottle
Insulated water bottles do not require a lot of attention and are made to last for years. To keep them in pristine condition and use them safely for as long as possible, we recommend you to follow these guidelines.
- Before the first use wash with warm soapy water. Rinse and allow to dry.
- Temper or ‘preheat’ the bottle before each use. To do so, pour some warm water inside your bottle, move it around and leave it for 5 minutes. This process helps with the transition from a cold, empty bottles, to a hot and full one. By doing so, you contribute towards a better performance, both in the short and long term.
- Unless specifically stated, we do not recommend putting ice cubes in your bottle. However, if the company guidelines state that it is possible, we recommend adding cold water before the ice cubes.
- Make sure to empty the bottle after each use, washing, rinsing and allowing all parts to dry.
- If you notice signs of oxidation or wear, or if it tastes different than it normally does, contact the company to get a replacement or get rid of it.
When in doubt about how to take care of your thermos, we suggest contacting the company. To know how to take care of your mate cup and bombilla, you can check out our previous article on this subject, ‘Taking care of your yerba mate kit’.
Insulated water bottles are a great addition to your mate kit, as they allow you to extend the drinking experience in time and in space. We hope you have found this article helpful.