I think drinking tea is probably one of my favourite things to do in the world. I mean, give me a sofa, or a patch of grass, or a seat at your breakfast table and my first thought will always be “tea”. It’s always a good idea to have a cuppa; whether it’s freezing cold or boiling hot outside, whether I’m in the middle of a busy working day, doing chores in my kitchen at home, or part way through an adventure away from home, I like mine with milk and no sugar, please.
What I’m getting at is that a decent flask is an absolutely vital piece of outdoor gear for me. It’s not an optional extra, or a nice to have, it’s a necessity.
The most recent addition to my gear cupboard is this new Klean Kanteen TKPro Flask. I really like Klean Kanteen, they are very good at what they do – make reusable drinks canteens such as water bottles, tumblers, coffee cups, straws and the like. I think I have almost one example of all of their products in my gear cupboard that I’ve purchased over the years, all of which I would highly recommend. My coffee cup is probably my favourite thing of theirs, although nine times out of ten it’s full of tea, naturally.
The Klean Kanteen TKPro is an insulated flask to keep your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold. Completely plastic free, the screw lid has been redesigned with an internal thread with a silicone gasket to ensure leak-free travel. It has an integrated cup, which is traditional with flasks like this, and a useful twist-and-pour cap which means you can get at your drink without taking the lid off fully. It comes in three sizes – I have the 32oz (1 litre), there are also 25oz (750ml) and 16oz (500ml) available. The cup sizes vary depending on the size of the flask, but each provides a decent sized cup of tea on the move. And it just looks really nice; everything about it is a traditional flask, except the lack of plastic.
Practicalities of the TKPro
To use the Klean Kanteen flask to its best effect, assuming you want to fill it with hot water, tea, coffee or cocoa, I recommend heating it up first. Being made of metal on the inside, the surface can get cold, which can mean you are cooling your drink down as soon as it hits the wall of the flask. So I heat my flask by adding a bit of hot water – just from the tap if I don’t have enough in the kettle – swirling it around and letting it sit for a few minutes while I get myself organised. I then tip that water away before filling my flask with my chosen beverage – which is, almost always, tea.
While it’s very easy to make instant coffee or hot water directly in the TKPro – or any flask (pour in granules or powder, add hot water, put on lid, shake!), making tea in a flask is almost impossible. I therefore generally make my tea in a jug first (brew it and add the milk) before filling up my flask. This means it’s ready to drink when I want it, rather than having to faff around carrying milk and adding it to each cup.
And then to drink, remove the lid that is also your cup, twist open the cap a couple of times, and pour. The cap design pours very nicely, and not taking the cap off fully means you don’t lose all the residual heat inside the flask meaning your remaining tea stays hotter for longer. The cup on my TKPro takes over 300ml of tea, which is the size of a normal mug I might use at home (that I am using right now), so it really is a decent size.
The first test I did was a very simple test to see how accurate the claim it keeps drinks hot for 38 hours was. I mean, 38 hours? That’s SO long. I filled my flask half full of water from a just boiled kettle, put the lid on, and let it sit on the side. I opened it up and poured a little out every now and again to see whether I thought the water was still hot enough to be drinkable. I reckoned it was still good at 24 hours, just about okay by 28, but by 38 it was too lukewarm to count as a hot drink anymore. I actually forgot to pre-heat my flask on that occasion as suggested above, and only had it half full which meant it was at a disadvantage to begin with, but this was a pretty good test to see what it could do. I’ve since tested it in a more real-life situation and have been very pleased with the results. I would always take the number of hours on the side of a flask with a pinch of salt, because the circumstances have to be pretty perfect for that to be accurate (and who keeps tea for 38 hours anyway?), but this got very close and I am impressed with that.
As for drinks cold, if you’ve got ice in there you are good for 100 hours. I reckon the next time we head to Utah I’m going to be filling this with ice from the machine at the motel and using that to keep me cool!
The TKPro in Use
Since my initial test at home, I’ve used this flask a fair few times, mainly on day trips out and short hikes. I have carried it to the top of Cleeve Hill twice – the first provided a most excellent brightly coloured sunrise and an amazing cloud inversion that took my breath away, but the most memorable of which was on New Year’s Day morning when I walked up to have a sunrise cuppa looking back down towards home and over towards Wales. I had imagined this would be a very peaceful first cup of tea of 2019, but unfortunately for me other people had thought it was also the perfect place to start their New Year… it was genuinely wonderful to see other people spending One Hour Outside at 7-8am on 1 January, but I wish they’d have been a bit less, er, shouty! Never mind, I found myself a spot away from the distraction and drank my tea, giving myself a few moments to enjoy the waking view, even with a particularly grey sky that day, and start 2019 right. I hope there will be many more moments like this throughout the year to come. Anyone for a sunrise walk on a nicer day? I’ll bring the tea!
Every time I have used my Klean Kanteen TKPro I have been extremely pleased with how well it does its job. It truthfully is a great piece of hot-drink engineering. It is super smooth to hold, incredibly easy to pour my tea, provides a decent sized cup of tea in the built-in cup and enough tea to go around when I’m out with friends, and really does keep hot drinks hot for a long time. And being fully metal it just takes a bit of hot soapy water when you’re back home to clean it up and get it ready for the next use (store it with the lid off to allow it to dry fully). I like it so much I am almost certainly going to replace my existing smaller every-day flask with the smallest version of this one.
I have the 1 litre flask, which is the largest one in the range and it is, indeed, massive. As I’ve mentioned, this isn’t the size I’d carry on a hike of more than a couple of miles, but it is absolutely perfect for sharing tea with friends, or for when I’m heading out and want something in the car for my return. Weighing in at 736g (empty), I’m not about to carry this one up a mountain unless it’s one of the only things I’m carrying – actually, never say never, I’ve been known to take more unusual luxuries on a trip. Away from walking to picnic spots with amazing views, or picnics in the park with your family, this large version is completely ideal for road trips or travel days; make your tea once, enjoy it all day.
The large 32oz / one litre version has an RRP of £44.95 and can be purchased from Klean Kanteen directly (not currently available on Amazon). I know I’m a blogger and I’m supposed to share positive things about things that I’ve been sent to test out, but please know that this recommendation is genuine. You can find the full range here.
With thanks to Klean Kanteen for sending me the TKPro to try out on my winter picnics.