Cozying by the fire is about the greatest part of a camping trip—and, with a hot drink in your hand, you’ll certainly be in for a nice, comfortable evening.
With this setup in mind, some campers go for the traditional glass or ceramic mug. But, if you really want a treat, it’s the enamel mugs that you should look out for!
Now, you’re probably thinking: “Why are enamel mugs good for camping?” Well, that’s because their stylish, portable design, as well as their array of functions, are well-suited for the hustles and bustles of long-distance travel.
What are enamel mugs?
Enamel mugs are cups crafted from cast iron or steel, which are fused with an “enamel” coating—or powdered glass particles—giving it a unique, speckled surface.
Dipped-in liquid enamel and heated in a kiln, the resulting dishware is brandished with a characteristically “imperfect” design, as its lumps, dots, and elegant glaze reflect the highly technical—and highly personalized—process behind its creation. Talk about authentic!
These mugs are perfect for campers since most editions are built strong, durable, and flexible enough for outdoor ventures. Unlike other materials, enamelware possesses many practical features, such as:
- Acid, rust, and stain-resistance
- Non-toxic surface
- Heat conductivity
Why are enamel mugs good for camping?
Ultimately, getting an enamel mug will greatly benefit you during a camping trip, for their general composition makes them well-equipped for travel use.
As most brands are known to be accessible, affordable, and, not to mention, fashionable nowadays, these mugs have essentially become the campers’ go-to!
However, if you’re still hesitant about your purchase, here are just a few reasons why you should own an enamel mug of your own:
1. Enamelware is safe for drinks.
Enamel mugs are non-toxic, meaning that their material doesn’t affect your drink. Most research shows that enamelware is 100% safe for food and drinks, thus making this about the best mug for a nice, warm cup of tea outdoors!
Enamel coating is resistant to corrosion from acids and bases, which, in turn, allows drinks to keep their flavors pure, safe, and most importantly, delicious! Should parts of your mug chip-off and expose the underlying metal, rest assured, these sections oxidize naturally—keeping your consumables intact, as a result!
However, to avoid the risk of contamination, you must always assess how old your mug is. After all, you wouldn’t want to find pieces of chipped-off enamel in your morning coffee!
Similarly, you must refrain from using “vintage” enamelware for consumption, since these may contain toxic matter, such as cadmium and lead. For your travel safety, it’s best to purchase your mug from a modern outlet.
2. Enamel mugs are lightweight.
Compared to their ceramic and glass counterparts, enamel mugs are light. This makes for good comfort, especially when you’re on the move!
Stuff them in your backpack, or carry them in a duffel—with these mugs, you’ll be light on your feet, and well-equipped just about anywhere!
Just know that lighter enamel mugs can sometimes be less durable, so try checking out their different brands, sizes, and features before selecting one of your own.
3. Enamel mugs take up little space.
Enamelware is generally designed to fit inside one another, thus minimizing the space they take up. This stackable, packable feature is especially helpful if you’re one to pack a lot of things!
On average, enamel mugs hold about 12 fl oz (354 ml) of liquid, which is enough for a good sip by the fire.
4. Enamel mugs can last long.
Durability is the key feature of enamelware. With its glass-coated steel, mugs in this category are often hard to break. Should you be taking care of kids, or traveling in a moving camper, for certain, these mugs will do you wonders, since they won’t crack or shatter at an accidental drop.
But this doesn’t mean that enamel mugs are completely indestructible. At times, pieces of your mug might chip off, especially when dropped on a hard surface.
Though, lucky for you, these damages don’t render your product useless or unsafe, as I’ve mentioned earlier. In reality, that only adds to their vintage charm!
5. Enamel mugs can withstand hot and cold temperatures.
Be it atop the campfire, or stored in a cool box—most often, enamel mugs can adapt to different temperatures, allowing you to have any drink, hot or cold, at your convenience! According to a study, its enamel surface can absorb heat or cold to the touch and sustain temperatures up to 530°F/270°C.
Bear in mind, however, that you must be careful in handling enamelware:
- A heated enamel mug can sometimes get too hot—possibly burning your hands and lips if you’re not careful enough! Before handling your drink, be sure to let it cool down first.
- Similarly, a chilled enamel mug might crack due to sudden temperature changes. So, rather than abruptly getting your cup from the freezer, let it defrost slowly instead.
6. Enamel mugs are versatile.
Given their composition, there are several ways you can use your enamel mug on a camping trip.
Set it over an open fire, or atop an electric/gas stove, and your enamelware will work its magic; handling as much as braising, stewing, simmering, or simply warming up your drink. This material won’t melt over direct heating; At best, it’ll get a fine amount of soot, which isn’t too hard to clean up!
But, whatever you do, never put an enamel mug inside a microwave. Beneath their enamel exterior is a steel mold, and heating this in a microwave can cause “arcing”—that is, the jumping of electricity between surfaces—which could likely start a fire.
7. Enamel mugs are easy to clean.
Worry not about stains, because enamel mugs aren’t a tough wash.
You can clean these by hand—it’s recommended that you do so—since most enamelware stains get easily removed by soapy water alone. Just avoid using abrasive sponges or brushes while scrubbing, as these can scratch their enamel coating.
Moreover, you can use baking soda for tougher stains, or warm water for hardened debris. In any case, your mug can handle the heat, and get back to shape in no time. (And, when in doubt, you can always keep some lemon juice in-store to clean the stains naturally.)
Enamel mugs are also dishwasher-safe, provided that you’ve spaced them out from other kitchenware to avoid chipping. But if it can be helped, try to avoid this method completely, for your dishwasher might wear off your mug’s shine after a while.
8. Enamel mugs are designed uniquely.
Last, but certainly not least—enamel mugs are well-known for their beautiful designs, which can add that personal touch to your camping equipment.
Whether it be an intricate illustration, or a scatter of multicolored specks—each mug features a beautifully handcrafted design, which proves that no two mugs are alike. In fact, for vintage pieces, some of their metallic features can be traced back to their places of origin!
Furthermore, most are built with rolled rims for your sipping convenience.
Overall, enamel mugs are amazingly-crafted foodware, designed with both function and style in mind. With their sturdy build, distinctive shine, and versatile applications, these mugs come highly recommended for an outdoor trip.