Tatonka's Expedition Mug
As always, we're looking at the Tatonka Expedition Mug from the point of view of long distance trekking over tough terrain.
Test item: Expedition Mug
Kit Tests: Winter, Summer
Disclaimer: None required (item not provided by manufacturer)
|Materials: Stainless Steel 18/8||100%|
|Dimensions (measured): Rim Diameter / Base Diameter / Height||9.25cm / 6.25cm / 9.00cm|
|Weight (measured)||117g (4.13 oz)|
|Capacity (To Brim / Standard Measure)||375ml (12.68 US fl oz) / 350ml|
|Manufacturer RRP||~£13.00 (14 Euros)|
Introduction: What, No Titanium?
If this design were available anywhere in the world in titanium form, I'm pretty sure we'd be recommending it. Why it's not, we don't know. In our view, aside from the fact it's made from stainless steel, the Tatonka Expedition Mug is just about perfect.
If you do a google image search for "titanium mug removable handle" what you get are the standard mugs with two swivelling handles and an occasional one with a fixed handle. In this review we'll hope to demonstrate why these designs are inferior to the one reviewed here, and why, until a titanium version is made, we're happy to be burdened by a 50g weight premium, just for the sake of a cuppa.
The Tatonka Expedition Mug is made from stainless steel, has a 375ml capacity when filled to the brim and has measured markings in litres (0.125, 0.25 and 0.35L) on its inside, in case you need to know that kind of thing. It'll hold a fraction more fluid than the bog-standard porcelain mugs in everyone's kitchen.
It's strong, not as light as it might be at 117g and it has a removable handle, and it's the handle that really sets it apart from the competition. The handle curves upward and then down at approximately 25 degrees in a straight line away from the body of the mug and the handle's end hovers about 5mm off the ground. Between the end of the handle to the base of the mug is a gap of 7.5cm.
"But what does all this minutiae mean?", you ask.
It means that ...
- On uneven ground the handle acts as a stabiliser. I've used this mug now for years and haven't once spilt its contents. So even though it tapers from the rim to the base, it's a more stable mug than most of the titanium mug designs on offer (a typical example is pictured right)
- You can boil water or heat up a cuppa directly without the handle becoming too hot to handle (pictured above - insert).
- It's extremely easy to hold (much easier than cups with swivel handles like the one pictured right) and because of the open-ended wide space between handle end and the mug's base, it can be held quite easily with winter mitts that provide almost zero dexterity (like the Buffalo Mitts pictured below).
Below, we have the main Scramble cookware recommendations: pot, bowl, mug, cooker and windshield. The Tatonka Expedition Mug will hold the Kovea Spider Stove, cleaning sponge and the mug's handle. These will all fit inside the Alpkit MytiPot 900 (pic 2) and the Snow Peak Trek Bowl makes a handy lid, offering some necessary additional headroom (pic 3).
The following items all pack down into something 10cm tall and 14cm in diameter:
- Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove
- Scramble Spider Titanium Windshield
- Alpkit MytiPot 900 Titanium Cooking Pot
- Tatonka Expedition Mug
- Snow Peak Trek Bowl
- Cleaning sponge
The Expedition Mug's tapered design slightly spoils its packing / space optimising credentials, though the removable handle somewhat makes amends.
There are two negatives. One we just touched upon. There are better options out there when it comes to packability. This is largely due to its tapered design. However, that's a relatively minor issue.
The main negative is simply the weight. The Alpkit Myti400 mug (pictured above), without its lid, weighs just 62g (almost half the weight) and has a little extra capacity. But as we said at the outset, in this particular case, design and function trump weight.
Why no one makes a titanium version I have no idea.
Conclusion & Rating
Tatonka's Expedition Mug is a titanium mug trapped in a stainless steel body. Ergonomically superior to the competition, its only real fault is its weight; the right design in the wrong material. However, there's so much going for it, that the majority at Scramble (though not all) wouldn't trade in their stainless steel Expedition Mugs for any of the existing titanium offerings.
The design of the removable handle sets it apart, making it stable on uneven ground, suitable for direct heating on small gas stoves and easy to hold even with dexterity-challenged winter mitts. So until someone makes a titanium version, we'll suck up the 50g weight premium and enjoy our cuppas from the Tatonka Expedition Mug, Scramble's top pick in the trekking mug category.
Rating (out of 10)
* The value score is derived from two factors:
1) Competitive Market Price (CMP). This represents our judgement of a competitive online price point if we were to stock the item. e.g. if we feel we would need to sell an item at 40% off (i.e. 60% of its full RRP) to be competitive, then our CMP score will be 6/10.
2) Customer Value Price (CVP). We then make an honest appraisal of the maximum price we would be willing to pay for the item (and we're mean). So if we'd pay 80% of its RRP our CVP score would be 8/10.
We then average the two scores to get our final value score, which in our example would be 7/10.
Last Updated: 14/09/18