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Regular readers of my reviews will know that I spend hours and hours on the motorways of Britain between England and Scotland. These journeys from start to finish take in excess of fifteen hours, and so regular refreshments are necessary to combat dehydration and tiredness. We had almost given up with Thermos flasks as invariably they were not up to the task as they were cold within a few hours. So we had accepted the additional cost of purchasing hot drinks on route and supplementing with water bottles. The problem in the winter though is that it isn't really cold water you fancy when driving through Skye on the way to a ferry, and so it was getting really expensive purchasing drinks. This is especially the case as I prefer tea to coffee when travelling, and object to paying £2 for a bag in a paper cup with boiling water.
When I noticed some new flasks called Thermos Stainless Steel King Hammertone on Amazon I was immediately interested, as they claimed to keep drinks hot for 24hours! I was so sceptical about this claim, but at the time the 1.2 litre size was on offer for £17.99 instead of the RRP of £29.95. After looking at the 5* rating customers had given to this flask I decided to purchase as all six reviews were outstanding and highlighted the attributes of the flask. The design looked good with a strap on the side for ease of carrying.
A Day In The Life Of The Flask In Action!
I think to illustrate the effectiveness of the flask I will describe what I did on a recent return trip from the Outer Hebrides. I must also point out here that I had been so pleased with the product that I had purchased two of the 1.2 litre size and two smaller ones (0.47L) prior to this trip, as we were collecting my daughter on route home and wanted to cater for her as well.
Leaving from Lochmaddy in North Uist involves a very early start and from my house we have to leave about 6am in order to catch the ferry to Skye which leaves at 7.30. Knowing how effective these flasks are I decided to prepare the drinks the night before for the first leg of the journey to Glasgow. So at 6pm I made two flasks of tea and two flasks of hot water, the latter were for lunch to add to a Food Doctor Lentil Snack Pot. These meals are fantastic and nutritious and ideal for journeys like this, and as the flasks perform so well you can simply add the hot water to the mix- think pot noodle but healthy! I also made sure that I primed the flasks- this really means filling with boiling water only for about five or ten minutes and then pouring away before adding the drink of your choice. This aids the process and ensures the liquids remain as hot as possible.
So by the time we boarded the ferry at 7.30 the next morning we had a flask of steaming hot tea to enjoy. It really was steaming and yet it had sat in the flask all evening and all night! This remained hot all day until 4pm when we had drunk all we had, and we then poured the water only flask into our lentil snack pots and there was the proof- 24 hours later the water was still really hot and able to be used to make our meals. We then made more drinks at my daughter's in Glasgow for the rest of the journey south, and when I poured the leftovers away the next day 24 hours later they were still steaming hot!
Thermos invented the first flask over a century ago and my goodness has the quality improved. This flask design relies on an airless vacuum space between two walls made of stainless steel. I have found it to be sturdy and high quality, and I particularly like the twist and pour facility which allows you to pour the liquid without removing the stopper. As the flask is made from stainless steel it is virtually unbreakable, so the smaller sizes are ideal to take on hikes and for packed lunches. It also remains cold on the outside even when filled with boiling water.
Of course another really important consideration with these flasks is that they are a safety measure to carry in the car when driving in the winter. It is recommended that you always carry a flask containing a hot drink with you in case you get snowed in. These are also excellent for soups which can also be taken on journeys.
Not just restricted to hot drinks these flasks are ideal to carry cold drinks and will similarly keep drinks cold for 24 hours.
These flasks are really good for the environment as of course there are no coffee shop cups to dispose of, and what I really like is that there is no queuing for hot drinks either. Occasionally we have treated ourselves to a hot chocolate on route, but we don't have to source tea stops any more which pleases me no end! Of course I could fill one with hot chocolate but sometimes on those journeys it is nice to get out and stretch your legs and there is the added incentive of whipped cream and marshmallows!
I also purchased two Hammertone drinking mugs from Amazon, which were on sale at the time at £6.95, but I believe these are retailing for £9.99 at the moment. I have been delighted with these as they are spacious and take a full 450ml so you can pour a decent size cup at any one time. They keep drinks hot for 2 to 4 hours and are certainly a good option if you are planning to use the flasks regularly. This leads me on to my only criticism of the product which is that there is only one drinking cup provided with the flask, which for the 1.2 litre size seems mean to me as well as inconvenient. I think I would have liked to have seen a design change to incorporate a pair of integral mugs.
I think there is a really important extra benefit that came to me when I was thinking about my mum recently. She is severely disabled following a stroke and is unable to make hot drinks herself. Sometimes she has to wait for a long time if my father is busy and this would be perfect for her to use as he could prepare the drink before going out. The smaller 0.47L size is easy to handle and to pour so would be perfect for her. I would also use it if I was ill in bed with flu as you could stagger to the kitchen to make a flask and then know that it would still be hot a day later- brilliant if you were too ill to make several trips to the kitchen.
I can't recommend these flasks enough. The only downside apart from the fact that only one cup is provided is the price which is so high. I would recommend watching the Amazon price closely as I certainly bought mine at reasonable cost- and of course it will continue to save so much money over the years. I have to award this product 5* as despite the price and the single drinking cup it performs miracles, and has been such an asset to us on our journeys. I should think it would be a dream for anyone who spends hours in the car for work, and of course for these people the savings are huge when compared to the daily purchase of motorway drinks.
This review is also posted on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.