GEAR: Flasks and more: Carrying cocktails into the backcountry

GEAR: Flasks and more: Carrying cocktails into the backcountry

Several readers have asked for advice on the best ways to transport adult beverages into the backcountry, from wine to whiskey, so we gathered some options and, after thorough testing in Washington wild country, we found a few ideally suited for various spirits. Wine lovers will appreciate the new soft-sided PlatyPreserve wine bags from Seattle-based Cascade Designs. Built along the same styling as the company's Platypus hydration systems, the 800 ml PlatyPreserves will take a full bottle of wine. The PlatyPreserve can be compressed as you empty it, removing any air inside so your wine will stay fresh for days on the trail. We toted a couple bottles of Walla Walla's best merlots into the Umtanum Canyon of Central Washington and found the wine flawless even after a full day of being bounced around as we scrambled over the canyon's basalt cliffs. The soft flasks are also incredibly durable — we risked losing half our wine supply by tossing one full PlatyPreserve off a 10-foot bluff on to the rocky shelf below. Nary a leak was to be found — a success we heartily toasted! The PlatyPreserve flasks are sold as singles and in four-packs for $12.95 and $44.95 respectively. More information: www.platypushydration.com. If your tastes run toward beverages with a bit more kick, look to another Seattle-based business for your beverage flasks. The Stanley Classic 8-ounce Flask is a slim steel bottle with a solid, leakproof lid. The flat-sided design ensures the flask won't roll away if you set it on uneven ground, and the screw-on lid pivots out of the way so you can sip your spirits without worrying about losing the cap. To really test this one, we topped it up with a top-shelf single-malt Scotch whisky and packed it along on some backcountry fishing trips. The Classic flask endured a few drops on rocky river bars without showing a dent. The 8-ounce size is perfect for a smooth sipping whiskey. The Stanley Classic Flask sells for $24. See www.stanley-pmi.com. Mellower liquors, such as a smooth Irish cream, proved best carried in a sleek steel flask from Sigg. The 0.4-liter Vintage Flask allows you to pack along a bit more of your beverage (13.5 ounces), so you can savor the flavor more fully. The compression flip top is secure and leakproof, and prevents loss of the cap when you have the flask open. The Sigg Vintage runs $28. See www.mysigg.com. – Dan A. Nelson, Special to the Seattle Times
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