Friday, August 23, 2013

BAD Gear: Tactical Starbucks 16oz. Flex handle Stainless Travel Mug (MOLLE Compatible)

Somebody at the airport stole my Aroma Starbucks mug. So I got this one. This is probably their best style mug in my opinion. It has the standard features that I normally enjoy:

  • Double Wall stainless steel for Hot/Cold insulation
  • Texturized Handle for extra tactile grip during tactical situations
  • Screw-top lid with no-spill valve
  • Slim and sleek design
  • Non-slip bottom surface
  • It fits within a standard vehicle cup-holder
  • Simple 'Starbucks' vertical graphic
  • 16 oz volume = 1pint !
Now the unique features I like about it:
  • Flexible handle grip. means I can still put it into my tactical attache bag with the handle sticking out, or hang it off the back of the transport seat.
  • The grip features a clip system, enabling me to attach it and secure it to MOLLE systems
That is the biggest draw for me. Every Bad Ass Dad will have a tactical something or other. Pack, Body Armour, Chest Rig, Thigh Rig, Apron. The ability to harness the power of the MOLLE system and append the Coffee Mug is key. Look how beautiful it is. It uses 1 column, two rows to attach, very small footprint. You could attach it to a battle belt, and use it as a pistol mag dump pouch if necessary. So let's take a closer look at this clip attachment system.

The clip system is your standard back-pack style quick release. The male end is located on the grip, while the female end is attached to the mug. When attached there is no wiggle room. To release just squeeze on both sides with deliberate equal pressure. Through this design, a conscious effort is required to release the grip therefor preventing accidental release and possible spillage of lager - er...coffee.

Upon closer examination, it looks like the quick release buckle utilizes a retaining pin to hold secure it in place. Not a bad design. You can see a small gap where the femal end attaches to the mug. Although it is secure right now, I can see through lots of hostile movements, this could be a failure point. It looks like is uses a steel S-shaped flat piece of metal welded to the mug, and the plastic is glued over top of it. I'd probably use some sort of epoxy bedding compound liek JB Weld or even Goop to fill in the gap and provide no space for the plastic to shim around. 

The lid is a standard screw-top lid with a rubber gasket to seal in that perfect cup of shite airport coffee. Although the literature states that it is NOT a NO SPILL/DRIP lid, in my experience it doesn't at all - if you follow these procedures.

Note that the flip-top is a two piece design enabling the flip cap to fold all the way back. Also note that the two rubber plugs meant to cover the vent and sip holes respectively. To prevent spillage, always bring the small piece over first, and then the large piece, this ensures that the vent will be secured. Else, if you were to just secure the large piece without firmly pressing on the green piece, the vent will not be plugged properly and the airport dogs will be going berserk.
So far I am impressed with the fit and finish of this product. Functionality-wise, this goes in my EDC pack, travelling everywhere. I filled up my coffee at 07h00, now it is 11h00 and it still warm. I also like its body-type. Thinking of it as a woman, it is technically an inverse triangle, but because of a very shallow taper, its more closer to a rectangle, therefore facilitating near equilibrium balance.

Although it is recommended to handwash, every so often I'll send it through a high-temp dishwasher just to clean out the evil swill crustys. Probably a dose of boiling water and vinegar could do the trick, and probably easier on the finish but whatever. Its been through the top rack 3 or 4 times and its still OK. I don't put the lid through it because of its rubber gasket though.

Ok, so you bad ass dads, moms, world travelers, get this mug if you are in the market for one. I see that the Starbucks store online doesn't carry these, but last I checked the airport ones and probably the in-store retailers have it. There is no part number to look up though. sorry. Also, check out ebay. 

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Full Disclosure: Unless noted, Bad Ass Dad has not been compensated in any means to review this gear. It is all his own, procured through pro-channels, retail, or issuance.