Expert Review: GSI Outdoors Pioneer 12 fl oz Cup

Published on 08/31/2022 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the cup, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2019.
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

All photos courtesy of Hunter Reed

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the cup, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2019.

My take

The GSI Outdoors Pioneer 12 fl oz Cup is a versatile, durable mug to use while camping. Though not insulated, it is super easy to clean and doesn’t weigh much, so it is easy to pack along for any type of camping adventure.

About the cup I own

  • Model: GSI Outdoors Pioneer 12 fl oz Cup
  • Size: 12oz

About me

  • Experience: 25+ years of camping

Test conditions

  • When I bought it: June 2019
  • Days tested: 300+
  • Where I’ve used it: All over Utah, Colorado, Idaho, California, Oregon
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: All seasons
  • Weather conditions I’ve used it in: Snow, extreme heat, rain, mild temps, wind
  • Used for: Wine, cereal, water, coffee, tea

How it performs

Ease of Use

What I was looking for

When buying this mug, I was looking for something to use for coffee while camping. I had just purchased a french press coffee maker specifically for camping and wanted to have a mug that stayed in my camp kitchen box which I didn’t need to worry about breaking.

Why I chose this gear

I chose this product because it is cheap, lightweight, and made of stainless steel—so it won’t break if it gets banged around in my camp box. There were a few other mugs I considered at the time of purchase which were made of silicone ( more foldable for packing in a backpack) or insulated (would have kept my drinks better temps but also were pricier). Ultimately, I just wanted something cheap and not fancy. I also don’t like drinking hot drinks out of silicone because it sometimes makes my drink taste like plastic.

What I love about it

  • Stability: This cup is wide rather than tall, so it is really stable. I think this is a great design for camping because I usually have all my things precariously balanced on the tailgate of my truck.
  • Packability: At 0.25lbs, this is a lightweight cup to bring backpacking as well as car camping. When I use it for backpacking, I normally pack it so that my socks are inside the cup in my backpack.
  • Ease of use: This cup is super easy to clean given how wide it is. I would recommend not putting it in the dishwasher though.
  • Car Camping: I also use this cup for car camping. It always lives in the drawer in my truck bed just in case.
  • Versatility: The GSI Outdoors Pioneer Cup is pretty versatile. It is light enough to be used for backpacking and durable enough to be used for car camping. It is also wide enough that I have used it to give my border collie water a few times when I have forgotten her bowl on a trip.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Leakage: This cup has no lid. So while leakage is avoidable, it isn’t as leak-proof as something with a lid.
  • Temperature Retention: My only complaint with this cup is that it is terrible at temperature retention. Fairly quickly, my coffee gets cold and my wine gets warm. It is made from stainless steel, and the walls of the cup are super thin.
  • Durability: I have put it through the dishwasher quite a few times and the paint has started to peel ever so slightly on the inside of the cup. Overall, it has been through a lot though and I probably should have not put it in the dishwasher. Other than that, I have dropped it quite a few times and it doesn’t have any dents or damage.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with this cup was on a camping trip to Flaming Gorge, Utah, with my partner and his friends. It was unbearably windy and cold to start. We all just sat in our cars for the first 18 hours because it was too windy to even set up our tents. Finally the wind stopped around four p.m. on Saturday. We all got out of our cars and I grabbed my cup and poured some wine. It wasn’t the best camping trip overall given the weather, but we were all just so happy to be able to be outside without getting blown away that I think it made my wine taste all that much better!

Value for the money vs. other options

The GSI Outdoors Pioneer cup is $6.95, so it is totally worth it. Especially for those who backpack and are just starting to build out their camp kitchen gear. It is simple, light, doesn’t make my drinks taste like plastic, and is super durable.

Final verdict

This is a versatile cup to use on all outdoor camping trips. Need something light for backpacking? Check. Need something durable that won’t break if dropped? Check. Need something wide enough that the dog can drink water out of? Check. Need something wide enough that it won’t tip over and spill its contents? Check. At $6.95, this is a great cup that should be in the kitchen box of every camper.

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