If you have kids and you take them skiing you know that one of the keys to a successful outing is hot chocolate! If you frequent any ski resort you also know that buying hot chocolate for the family will set you back quite a few clams. I have five kids and buying hot chocolate for everyone isn’t in the cards. I tried many options to bring it and kept coming up short on how to bring enough hot chocolate for everyone and to keep it hot. I got sick of either bringing multiple bottles or everyone only getting two swallows. Something had to change and I was determined to do it.
The ultimate hot cocoa kit wishlist:
- I wanted a single container to carry all of the hot chocolate
- Container needed to be durable and hold up to being dropped and dinged, especially when it’s freezing outside (this rules out almost all plastic containers)
- Needed to have enough hot chocolate for everyone (at least a cup)
- The container needed to actually keep the hot chocolate hot
- Individual cups needed to be relatively spill free and help keep the hot chocolate hot
It took a lot of research but this ski season I finally figured the optimal family hot chocolate system: the Yeti Rambler 64 oz Bottle and a set of GSI Doppio 8 oz Commuter Mugs.
The Solution: Yeti Rambler 64 and GSI Doppio Mugs
Yeti has a strong reputation for performance and durability. It fit the first three of my criteria. The stainless steel construction would be durable and would hold up to freezing temperatures. If you run into issues, Ramblers are backed with a five year warranty. The Rambler Bottle comes in a lot of sizes. With seven of us in the family, the 64 oz bottle provides a full 8 oz cup for each person plus a little extra to go around.
I picked one up and immediately did an informal experiment in my kitchen. I preheated the bottle with hot water for about 10 minutes and then I filled it with boiling water. Three days later the water was still warm. It stayed scalding hot through the first 24 hours, hot through 48, and warm at the 72 hour mark. Yes this was in my kitchen but it gave me confidence that it would stay hot during a full day sitting in the freezing van while we skied.
Standard it comes with the “three-finger” cap. Most vacuum bottles have a flat cap which can be hard to open when it gets pressurized. With the three-finger cap you can get a good grip and torque the lid off. The cap is also thick, keeping the heat inside and the cold outside.
The biggest downfall that I found is pouring the hot chocolate out of it. It’s easy to either pour too fast and spill or if you go too slow it slops down the side. This would be a deal breaker, but for a few more bills you can pick up the Yeti Rambler Chug Cap. The Chug Cap is crucial to the system. It addresses both problems. The smaller opening keeps you from pouring too much at one time and it allows a steady stream without slopping down the side. It also features the three-finger cap and a rubber ring around the “lower” so you can get enough grip to twist it off.
One other con is the jug is big (which is to be expected for a half gallon bottle). Even with big mitts it’s hard to pour one handed. Plan on pouring with two.
One note: It looks like Yeti may have discontinued this bottle in favor of the Half Gallon Jug. You can still find the bottle around, just not on the Yeti website. I’m sure it has the same durability and will keep your chocolate hot, but I don’t know to what extent.
Dishing with the GSI Doppio Mugs
The GSI Doppio 8 oz Commuter Mugs have been the perfect fit for the Rambler Bottle. The 8 oz size is perfect for a serving of hot chocolate. It’s just enough to warm up after a long day of skiing but not so big that it sloshes around and cools down. My kids usually won’t drink more than that anyway.
As a parent it fits all of my criteria: it’s lightly insulated so it will keep it warm but not burn the hands. The lids are easy to put on and take off and prevent the dreaded “dad hit a bump while I was drinking and my hot chocolate splashed my face and down my shirt” situation. The drink stopper is secure and easy to maneuver. One of my biggest gripes with mugs in general is the stopper usually opens on it own. That won’t happen with the Doppio. You can focus on driving down the canyon knowing that it’s not going to slide open and spill hot chocolate on your kids.
The lids are press-fit lids. I like this feature a lot. It’s easy for the kids to put them on and take them off. Researching the mug, some folks didn’t like the lids because they thought it was insecure. We haven’t had any issues with the lids coming off at all. Plus it makes it much easier when filling the mugs for the crowd.
Hands down, my favorite part of the Doppio is it fits in standard cup holders! It doesn’t slide around and it’s short enough that it won’t tip out! I can’t tell you how many bottles and cups we’ve tipped and spilled in the van because they were too tall to stay in the cup holders. It’s such a comfort to not have to worry about it.
The Doppio isn’t heavily insulated. If you’re a slow sipper and it takes you a long time to drink your hot chocolate, you might want to consider a different mug. I see the “commuter” mug as a way to keep your drink warm for the length of your commute. We drink ours fast enough that we haven’t run into it turning cold. The Doppio provides just enough insulation to keep it the right temp for us.
One more note: the hot chocolate has stayed hot enough in the Rambler Bottle that when we pour it into the cold Doppio, it’s cools down to just below “burn your tongue” temperature and then holds that temp.
The Doppio comes in 6.5 oz and 8 oz sizes.
- Rambler keeps drinks hot for a long time
- Rambler is wicked-durable
- Ramblers are available in smaller sizes too
- Solid Yeti warranty
- GSi Doppio fits in standard cup holders
- Doppio is just the right size
- You might not like the press-fit lid that GSI chose to use
- Yeti’s are pricey and are hard to pour if you don’t have a chug cap
- If you are looking to keep your drink hot for a long time, you’ll be disappointed
The Bottom Line: Ultimate Hot Chocolate Kit
The combination of the Yeti Rambler and GSO Doppio 8oz Commuter Mug is spot-on for keeping hot chocolate hot in massive quantities. And, to dish it out, the GSI Doppio is just the right size for a cup of hot chocolate and it fits in your cup holders. It’s hard to beat that!
Buy Now: Yeti at Amazon | GSI Doppio at Backcountry