Monday, August 05, 2013

Other Stuff I Like: Klean Kanteen 16 oz. Insulated

Klean Kanteen Full

I realize this is out of my usual scope, but caffeine addiction seems to go side-by-side with writing material obsession, no? So here we are.

Not long after the new year, I acquired an insulated 16 oz. Klean Kanteen. This is a heavy-duty stainless steel double-walled vacuum insulated tumbler. Now that I've spent over six months putting it through the wringer, I feel qualified to share my experience.

NOTE: Keep in mind that this has been in (rough) daily use for pretty much that whole period, so this is not your usual pristine review model.

You can get these with a variety of different caps and lids. When I ordered mine, I opted for a "coffee set" that came with both a solid, leakproof loop cap and a sippy "cafe" cap.

Left: loop cap Right: cafe cap

Loop Cap Interior
The loop cap is lined with steel, so no plasticky flavors in your beverage. Any dust and gunk is my own, not Klean Kanteen provided.

I use both caps on a daily basis. Typically, I'll make my coffee in the morning and put on the loop cap for the journey to work, so I can toss the bottle around without worrying about spillage. I carry the cafe cap in my lunch bag and switch to that once I get to work, enabling me to sip without having to fiddle with the lid each time. Now...I realize there are fancy caps that have press and seal gadgets so you can sip and then close them. However, a) I am the queen of forgetting a dirty coffee cup somewhere on Friday and not getting around to cleaning it until later, and some of those cups require a mechanical engineering degree to disassemble for cleaning and reassemble, and b) the more parts there are, the more likely it is something will break or go missing. I love the simplicity of the Klean Kanteens.

Another note: if for any reason a cap wears out or gets lost, Klean Kanteen sells replacements.

As a bonus of sorts, the cafe cap resembles a certain Star Trek character. Thanks to Michael Clemens for the meme image made after my initial comment.

Speaking of cleaning, there's a reason for the Klean in Klean Kanteen. Everything about these is easy to get to and scrub. There are no hard corners--even on the cap threads--or places where crud can build up. A bottle brush and possibly an occasional vinegar and baking soda treatment is all you need to keep them sparkly.

Close-up of rounded threads

Disassembled Cafe Cap
The cafe cap also comes apart in two pieces to make it easier to clean.

Bonus feature: Although I didn't buy it for this purpose, I quickly discovered these fit in a standard bicycle bottle cage!

Kanteen on the Bike

Considering I've spent years trying to figure out convenient ways to bring coffee to work when on the bike, this makes me extremely happy.

So...summation of the pros:

1. Easy to clean.

2. Choice of lids (flexibility), which are easy to replace if lost or broken.

3. Fits in bike bottle cage.

4. Customer Service! The Klean Kanteen people obviously feel passionate about their products and stand behind them all the way. When I ordered my first Kanteen, I was a little concerned to discover it made a light rattling noise if shaken (which I typically do to check coffee level, for those wondering why I'd be shaking my cup). I wasn't sure what this meant, so I wrote to their customer service. I got a rapid and friendly response explaining the possible causes, and offering a replacement if I felt it warranted. I ended up accepting the replacement, if only for my own peace of mind. A few photos later, they let me know the new Kanteen was in the mail, and that I could keep the original for use or recycling. (It ended up functioning OK. This is it, in fact, so now I have two.) The experience left me pretty stunned, to be honest. That level of service is hard to come by these days.

Cons (there had to be a few):

1. I would recommend that those who use their Klean Kanteens in the bottle cage either opt for one of the brushed stainless steel models (no paint) or a less scratchy bottle cage. My poor Kanteen has developed rather more "character" than perhaps it deserves.

Scratches, paint chips, my fault...but something to be aware of.

2. The small top diameter can be an issue. It is one of the things which makes it fit so beautifully in a bottle cage, but it does mean your average tea basket won't fit, so if you (like me) like to brew from loose-leaf tea leaves now and again, you may find yourself frustrated. You also can't use an Aeropress directly into it. The Melitta cone, #2 sized version (my usual brewing method) works fine, however.

3. They're pretty pricey compared to the competition, though you *can* find sales here and there.

4. One other minor possible quibble: although coffee remains tastily temperatured until close to lunchtime, I would say overall this doesn't keep things hot and cold *quite* as long as Thermos containers. When I cooled both my old Thermos tumbler and the Kanteen with tap water and then added the same number of ice cubes to each, put the lid on them, and left overnight, the ice cubes in the Kanteen were a little smaller come morning. I don't have detailed measurements of the difference, which likely wouldn't affect normal usage, but I suppose if you spend time out in the cold or heat in the field, it's worth consideration.

Completely unsolicited, no financial interest and all that. I just think these are great products deserving of praise! I hope to add a plain, single-walled water bottle Kanteen to my arsenal at some point.

Specs (per manufacturer's site):
Capacity: 16 fluid ounces (473 ml)
Weight: 8.75 ounces (w/o cap)
Size: 7.25" H (w/o cap) x 2.9375" W
Opening diameter: 2.125” (54 mm)
18/8 food-grade stainless steel

Product page on manufacturer's website:


teeritz said...

My only problem with Klean Kanteens is how close I come to dislocating a finger whenever I try to open them. Still, it makes the act of getting a sip of water into something of a contest.
And I wouldn't worry about the scratches. Gives it character. Might cause others to think twice about swiping it, too.

Art said...

I love my Kleens too! I don't have the insulated, but i'll tweet you a pic of the abuse mine has withstood when i find it!
O, a few comments/tips/randomnesses
1. For the opening and for attaching it to things with the loop cap, i love a carabiner. Yes, i'm a climber, so that's part of my life, but, they give you something to clip it to stuff with, and it is a great lever for opening it.
2. For tea, this is my new find: . It is both an infuser and a storage for your looseleaf!
3. If you want a really good insulated bottle, look up Hyrdaflask. These things are killer--keep ice for over 24 hours in normal conditions, keep it all day (if you don't drink the cold water and then add more warm wather to make it cold) in the 110f desert!

Little Flower Petals said...

Hm...I'll have to see if the (excellent) local tea shop carries that Tovolo thingie! Could be a solution to what is really the biggest con for me.

The carabiner is a good idea, too. Seems like a nice way to attach it to a bag handle or some such place, so it doesn't take up space inside.

The near-dislocation thing is probably not *as* much of an issue with these slightly wider mouthed insulated bottles vs. Klean Kanteen's water containers, but I can see how that could be interesting!

Yeah, I'm not too worried about scratches. I tend to love stuff all the more when it starts to show it has lived. But I figured it was worth pointing out.