Caravan holidays are meant to be economical, aren’t they? So where’s the sense in spending £20-£50 at the motorway service station on a round of teas, coffees and snacks for all the family, before you even get to your destination? 

One solution which is growing in popularity is to use those handy cup-holders in the tow car to prop up your insulated travel mugs. They come in various colours and styles, so each person can have their own special travel mug, filled with their favourite brew for the journey. Just add your favourite supermarket-bought (or home-made) snacks and the drive to the campsite is sure to be a happy one all round. 

We regularly test camping gear in Practical Caravan magazine and this time we gathered a good selection of useful looking travel mugs together on the Practical Caravan Test Bench. In the running for the top spot were the Aladdin Papillon, at £12, the amazing Bodum Travel Press, costing, £24, but featuring a built-in cafetiere-style filter, the Outwell Vacuum Bamboo Mug at £6.99 and the Brugo at £15.

At first glance they all look pretty good, so you’d be forgiven for choosing on grounds of price and colour alone. To get the best deal, though, we decided to compare them to see how long the drinks stayed hot in each travel mug. We put them through a taste test, to see whether the inner lining was likely to get tainted by every drink it held. Would you have to keep one mug for tea, and another for coffee, and try not to muddle the two up? What if you suddenly want to use it for a cold drink? We found that stainless steel-lined travel cups and those with better plastics or aluminium inside were the best at staying fresh and untainted by the contents. 

Washing up the travel mugs is a task made easy or difficult by the design of the spouts and lids. We checked to see if they came apart for cleaning, and went back together easily.

How easy were the travel mugs to drink out of, we wondered. Does the spout deliver a trickle of tea or a decent amount? Then again, once it’s all closed up for the journey, how likely is each mug to leak?

In this review we feature the Bodum Travel Mug, costing £20 at the time of our test, which is one of a range of similar camping accessories from Bodum. 

Let’s get the one whinge over with straight away: thanks to that narrow rim at the top, this is not a mug you’d want to drink from unless the top is in place. Just as well, then, that the lid is easy to open and close, and allows a decent volume of fluid through. Talking of volume, this travel mug holds 0.35ml of liquid.

The simple plug-and-hole design keeps all parts fully accessible for thorough cleaning, which is another strong point with this mug, because it is dishwasher-safe. 

The Bodum Travel Mug‘s stainless-steel body is tough, smart and leaves the flavour of your drink untainted. It comes in red, purple, lime green, off-white and black lids and grip sleeves made of non-slip silicone.

Finally, it outperforms all others here on the thermal insulation front.