James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

The ThermoCafe Zest Travel Mug Gift Set is a bargain at £13 for two – but read our review to find out why we'd leave these cheap travel mugs on the shelf

Overview

The great thing about having a motorhome is being able to stop beside the road, or in a beauty spot, to have a comfortable picnic, whatever the weather. If you want to, you can put the gas on and brew up. So why might you need travel mugs? 

We find that we often want to 'break the back of the journey' and get out of town and away from the busiest parts of the route without stopping. We definitely don't want to get caught in jams around the rush hours or school finishing times. So it's really handy to fill up some travel mugs for every passenger and just get going!

Which are the best travel mugs in Britain at the moment? We assembled a good collection of thermally insulated mugs with lids and tested them against each other. 

We looked at the Bodum Double Wall Travel Mug, which cost £12 at the time of our test. It's transparent, so you can see how much liquid is left inside. That one impressed us enough to warrant a four-star-rating. Better still, we decided, was the Bodum Travel Mug, which cost £20, our five-star-rated travel mug test winner! We also tested the Vango 450ml Mug at £4, Vango 450ml Stainless-steel Mug at £6 and Summit 475ml Travel Mug at £6.99. Read all our travel mug camping accessory reviews before you make up your mind which ones would suit you best.  

In this review we're concentrating on the Thermos ThermoCafe Zest Travel Mug Gift Set. When you're looking for a couple of travel mugs for the motorhome, the name 'Thermos' may well draw you in to consider this great value gift set. The sets pair compatible coloured travel mugs, so you can choose this red and blue set, or pick purple and lime; pink and aqua or black and white twin sets.

All the mighty original household names, such as Hoover and Thermos, still have the power to sway our purchasing decisions. Many of us do still call all thermal flasks 'Thermos flasks', whatever their actual branding – and we can't help but expect high quality from such familiar brands. So how does the ThermoCafe Zest Travel Mug Gift Set measure up?

With the flashes of stainless steel, those stylish handles, and the unusual satin-finish exteriors, this twin gift set of travel mugs from Thermos looks an absolute bargain for the price. But, don’t be misled. 

Appearances aside, these are pretty basic mugs, much like various Vango travel mugs on the market, and at that point, the price doesn’t make these the must-haves they appear to be.

That’s not to say they aren’t worth considering. We do like the colourful soft-touch plastic outer layer. The stainless inner walls won't get tainted by the last drink you put inside it. We also like the round-edged, deeply recessed lids, and the reasonable insulation properties of that double wall insulation, handy for hot or cold drinks. 

However, on the minus side, the Thermos ThermoCafe Zest travel mugs are splash-proof rather than leak-proof, and it’s impossible to clean the lids’ sliders completely. 

These mugs hold 0.4 litres of hot or cold liquids and measure 17cm tall, 12cm wide including the handle and 8cm in diameter at the base of the mug. 

Technical specs

Gift set colours availablePurple & lime; pink & aqua; black & white; red & blue
Inner liningStainless steel
ExteriorPlastic
InsulationDouble wall
Capacity0.4 litres
Height17cm
Diameter8cm
Width12cm including handle

Verdict

Travel mugs range from £4 to £20 each, so the Thermos ThermoCafe Zest Travel Mug Gift Set is modestly priced at £13 for two. They look stylish, too. We've marked them down to just two stars, however, because we found the lids hard to clean, and they're not completely leak-proof. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • Cheap price for two
  • Stylish
  • Eight lively colours
  • Stainless-steel lining
  • They fit into most vehicle cup holders

Cons

  • Splashproof, not leakproof
  • Lids are hard to get clean
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