James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

Read our expert's Summit 475ml Travel Mug review for our verdict on how it compares to all the cheap travel mugs – and premium brands – we tested

Overview

We frequently test new camping gear and accessories for drivers at Practical Motorhome magazine, to single out the best touring kit you can buy. One of our latest group tests was on a selection of thermally insulated travel mugs.

We love driving off in our motorhomes, with an exciting new holiday in prospect. And it's great to get right away from our home patch without stopping for a couple of hours. Some of the most useful accessories we pack are some simple travel mugs, filled with an assortment of hot and cold drinks to suit each passenger. These handy little mugs come in assorted colours, so we can each stick to our own favourite mug.

Filling those mugs and putting some lunch snacks in the motorhome fridge certainly saves time on the first leg of any journey, and it saves us spending a fortune at the motorway service station, too. 

There are loads of thermal travel mugs to choose from now and you can buy them in supermarkets, online and in Argos as well as in more traditional camping shops in the UK. So which are the best-value travel mugs you can buy?

To find out, we assembled a colourful selection of travel mugs on the Practical Motorhome camping accessories test bench and checked such things as thermal insulation, how easy they were to hold and use, whether the spout was easy to drink from and delivered enough liquid at a time.

We checked whether the mugs could be taken apart and reassembled for cleaning. We wanted to know the materials used, because inner walls made from superior plastics, stainless-steel or aluminium seemed to give drinks tasting as they should, whereas cheap plastics are inclined to absorb the flavours of previous drinks. Finally, we gave extra marks to travel mugs that we'd be happy to use on holiday – those you can drink from without the spout and which have a nice handle. 

In this review we're reporting how we got on with the Summit 475ml Travel Mug, which looked like quite a bargain, at just £6.99 at the time of our test. We compared it to the Vango 450ml Stainless-steel Mug at £6, the more bulbous shaped Vango 450ml Mug at just £4, the Thermos Thermocafe Zest Gift Set of two mugs for £13, the Bodum Travel Mug at £20 and the Bodum Double Wall Travel Mug at £12.

The £6.99 price of the Summit 475ml Travel Mug puts it in the 'fairly cheap travel mugs' bracket – but is it good value for money?

It appears to be an alternative to the two Vangos, but it’s not a great one, given that it’s dearer and, we feel, is not as well-specified. Apart from the anodised piece of trim, most of this mug is plastic. While it doesn’t noticeably flavour hot drinks, it lacks the durable feel of some other all-plastic travel mugs, and despite being plastic it is not rated for dishwasher use. 

Thermally, the Summit 475 Travel Mug was on a par with the Vango traval mugs we tested, and it’s just as nice to drink from with the lid in place. When the lid is removed, though, the wall’s thin edge and external thread pretty much rule out unrestricted drinking. This is also splash-proof, rather than fully leak-proof.

Technical specs

Materials usedPlastic, with anodised trim
Colours availableGreen, blue, red, orange
Volume475ml (16oz)

Verdict

At the end of our testing we decided to give the Summit 475ml Travel Mug two stars. It's pleasant to drink from if you keep the lid on and it's splash-proof. We wouldn't want to use it as an everyday camping mug, though, and we preferred the two rival travel mugs from Vango, which were slightly cheaper at the time of our test. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • Low price
  • Good to drink from with the lid on
  • Splash-proof
  • Good thermal properties

Cons

  • Not leak-proof
  • Not dishwasher-friendly
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