I duck hunt a lot, two to three times a week during the season, mostly with my main hunting partner Neil. Hunting in Montana it is typically quite cold, so our thermoses are an important part of our equipment. Neil is a coffee drinker while I can't stand the stuff and typically take two thermoses, one with hot tea and one with hot chocolate. A few years ago Neil misplaced his trusty old Aladdin Stanley and bought a new one. That's when he noticed my thermoses were keeping my stuff hot much longer than his thermos did. Neil did a bit of research and discovered Stanley moved production overseas some years ago, so he found an older, made in USA on and bought it.
That Stanley still didn't work as well as he remembered, so I googled "best thermos ever" and did some other searches to educate myself, I wanted to buy Neil a good thermos for Christmas. One of my searches led me to a youtube video of a guy testing some thermoses by preheating them, then filling them with boiling water, sealing them for a period of time and then testing with an instant read thermometer. This seemed like a simple foolproof test so I decided to test all of Neil's and my thermoses.
Now I'm a bit of a thermos slut, I own about six stainless thermoses. I bought my first good thermos when I was working on the Alaska Pipeline in the mid seventies. I actually bought two, a Thermos brand Thermos and a nice looking Uno-Vac, (the term Thermos is like Kleenex or Xerox, being the original company to make a and sell a successful vacume bottle, the name now covers any vacume bottle made by anybody). The thing I discovered from reading a bunch of thermos discussions on various forums is that 90% of the comments are anecdotal, most people believe their thermos is as good as it could be, because they dont have anything to compare it to, and durability against damage, falling off trucks and high places without breaking matters a lot. Based on many reviews, I ended up buying Neil a Thermos King made in China (they all are now) by Thermos.
I tested nine thermoses, listed below. I preheated each thermos with very hot tap water for fifteen minutes, then filled each thermos with boiling water, sealed each thermos with the stopper and cap, then set outside on my deck railing for eight hours. The outside temp was between 32 and 38 degress in rain and sleet.
Here's the results in ranking order:
#1 My old Camo Stanley (bought in 1995) 32 oz. 173.1 degrees F
#2 A Nissan camo covered from DU (around 2003) 28 oz. 167.2
#3 an old dented Nissan (no idea of date) 34 oz. 163.2
#4 My old Stanley (bought in 1991) 32 oz 157.6
#5 Neil's older Stanley 32 oz 144.2
#6 A Champ (Korean copy of UnoVac) 32 oz 138.2
#7 Neil's newer Stanley 32 oz 128.7
#8 A Uno-Vac I bought off Ebay 32 oz 116.4
#9 Another Uno Vac I bought off ebay 32 oz 108.7
On a separate test I tested the best of this lot (my old camo Stanley) against the new Thermos King I bought for Neil, after forteen and a half hours outside in freezing temps, my best testing Stanley was 142.3 and the 40 oz. Thermos King was 164.0 degrees! The thermos King blew away my Stanley by almost twenty degress!
So we can see that
1) the wonderful ubiquitous Aladdin Stanley is all over the place regardless of whither made in China or USA, the second best thermos in the whole test was my 1995 Camo painted one, while Neil's new one tested near the bottom with others in the middle. Maybe some are damaged and lost vacume, or there is a lot of variation in production quality control.
2)Nostalga doesn't count for much, I remember my old Uno-Vac as being a great thermos, but both tested at the very bottom of the pack. I bought the second one believing that the first one had to be damaged to test so poorly. Maybe both are damaged but I'm not going to gamble another twenty dollars on ebay to test it.
3)For modern thermoses, you cant go wrong with the Thermos-Nissan brand.
I welcome your own observations on thermoses.