If you’re old like me, when you hear the phrase ‘vacuum flask’ you’ll think of the delicate tinkling noise they make just before they go in the bin.
Old fashioned flasks had a major drawback – the thin glass inside would break if you slammed a door within 20ft, breathed too hard in their vicinity or looked at them funny.
But research and technology have done away with such a design flaw and as a result flasks nowadays are tougher than old boots and retain heat for much longer, thanks to – in the case of this Stanley Classic – dual wall stainless steel.
This flask is one of Stanley’s basic models and, at a shade under half a litre, it’s smallest. The one they kindly sent me is also bubblegum pink, although they come in a variety of other, more masculine colours.
Now flasks aren’t the lightest of objects, and when empty this weighs in at 680g, which is the equivalent of a family-sized box of Frosties with a bowl or two taken out (I weighed it in the kitchen – what do you want from me?). It consists of three main parts – the body, the threaded plastic stopper and the threaded stainless steel lid, which doubles as a 24ml cup.
The stopper also doubles as a pourer, so you don’t have to take the whole thing off to fill your cup – just unscrew it a couple of turns and out pours your liquid. I haven’t tried, but I doubt veg soup is as forthcoming, mind.
Now then, the most important thing about flasks is how hot/cold they keep your drinks. The blurb uses 15 hours as the selling point for both hot and cold, but of course both are open to interpretation. What’s hot for one person is tepid for the next, and what’s cold… you get the idea.
So being the scientific type that I am I carried out a heat test using Mrs Muz’s chicken thermometer thing last seen submerged inside the Eurohike Solar Shower.
I prepped the flask as recommended by filling it with boiling water for a few minutes to prime it, then I poured that away, re-boiled the kettle and filled it again. A quick test with the probe showed 95.1C before I screwed the stopper in and popped the lid on.
I then left it on the kitchen side for 11-and-a-half hours (I was impatient) and tested it again next morning. The previously boiling water was now at 54.4C… which probably means nothing to the average Joe. But the GWA patented ‘sip test’ revealed that if it were a cup of tea it would still be hot, although not so hot that you’d have to leave it for 10 minutes to cool. I’ve decided to call that kind of temperature ‘drinkable’.
‘Cold’ is a lot harder to judge though because all temperatures of cold are drinkable, so a test would be pointless for this review.
I’ve used this a few times for work and I’ve found that the flask holds roughly two-and-a-half cups before there’s nowt left. That’s about a normal mug-and-a-half in old money. So pretty small.
Other than the capacity the only other drawback is that the tea I had inside tasted a little bit ‘flasky’. Kind of plasticky, metally, not-quite-rightish, but if you’ve used flasks before you’ll know exactly what I mean. It’s not bad, but it’s not the same as drinking a cuppa at home.
EDIT: As I type I’m in a field in Scotland. That’s up north. Having only used the flask three or four times previously it was used again yesterday – and it leaks. A little perseverance got it half-way around a four-hour yomp but the tea tasted like crap. Much more ‘flasky’ than it should have.
Another product ready for the bin.
SUMMARY: Nice and robust, reasonably-priced and keeps your tea drinkable for about 12 hours. The .47l version is a bit small for me though, so a one-litre version might be more convenient for most people.