A Take on Tumblers: From Thermos to Stanley & Beyond

Long before the invention of insulated bottles there was the plaid Thermos. My dad drank coffee out of the lid of his red plaid Thermos on trips while my siblings and I pounded milk and powdered sugar donuts in the back of a paneled station wagon. This was the time before drinkware was trendy. (Really, was anything trendy then?) Suffice it to say that today, insulated drinkware is not only trendy, but also a staple that has made its way into the hands and hearts of people everywhere. It’s the must-have accessory that screams “I’m cool!”, “I’m hydrated!” and “There’s no excuse for a tepid drink!”

A company called S’well kicked off the insulated tumbler trend back in 2010 with their iconic 17-ounce water bottle. This stylish bottle kept drinks cold-cold for 36 hours and hot-hot for 18…without condensation. Pour your coffee on a Monday morning and drink it piping hot on Wednesday afternoon! (Hint: don’t do that.) The bottle is stainless steel and vacuum sealed which involves a complicated manufacturing process that requires over 70 steps. S’well also releases on-trend collections twice a year, so your “hydration accessory” can reflect your every mood and style. Can you say one for every outfit?

Hot on the heels (see what we did there) of S’well came Yeti and their 30-ounce tumbler, The Rambler. In the tradition of more is better, Yeti almost doubled the size of the S’well tumbler in 2014 and in fact, diddouble it with the introduction of the 35-ounce size. This tumbler has all the stainless steel, all the vacuum sealed, all the insulation and, along with its MagSlider lid, is dishwasher safe. Unless you’ve attempted to shove a sponge into a S’Well bottle, do not underestimate the importance of this feature. Yetis are also sweat resistant, puncture resistant and evidently, horse-resistant. According to Yeti’s official website, the tumblers have done some tumbling…down hillsides, off trucks, and off the hooves of horses. Impressive, yet it’s still only 35 ounces of fluid doing all these gymnastics. I mean 35 ounces? Pfft. This is America.

Enter, Stanley. The name used to call to mind tape measures and hammers. In 2016, it began to mean tumblers. Big tumblers, trendy tumblers. Their 40-ounce tumbler, the Quencher, went viral on TikTok and had a wait list of 150,000. And even though the Quencher is large and can get heavy, it still fits into a drink holder and comes in 14 trendy colors like Cream, Rose Quartz and Fog. (Does anyone else wonder what goes through the mind of a seasoned hard-hat-wearing worker as they watch brands like Carhartt and Stanley become trendy and well, Rose Quartz?) Other features include its rotating screw-on lid with three variations and it’s large and comfortable seamless handle.

So, while S’well survives and Yeti and Stanley have found ways to improve upon the insulated tumblers that came before them, it begs the question. What the heck could possibly be next?

An Igloo cooler tumbler the size of an oil drum that can go toe-to-toe with a T-rex?

A drone tumbler that we can maneuver to our mouths from its cupholder?

A hundredfold insulated tumbler that keeps your iced coffee cold on the surface of the sun?

We’re not really sure…. but we’re waiting to see. What do you think?