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Thermoses aren’t what they used to be

The other day I was in the outdoors with buddy when his thermos caught my eye. If nothing else, this served as a reminder that you should never throw thermoses.

It also reminded me that, back in the old days, no one would ever dare throw a thermos.

I know it is difficult for younger people to believe, but there was a time when the average outdoorsmen carried their thermos like it was a thermo-nuclear device armed with a hairpin trigger.

Which is to say, carefully.

That’s because back in those simpler times, every thermos had a glass insert. And, make no mistake, this was not shatter-proof glass either. It was glass so thin that, should an insect somehow make its way into your thermos, it had a better than even chance of breaking out.

Young outdoors people have no idea what it is like to carry a thermos so fragile. Modern ones are tough enough to run over with a truck, but when we were kids, the fragile kind was the only type of thermos they made.

I suspect because they were good for business.

If I recall correctly, the average thermos lasted for one to two duck hunts and sometimes as much as halfway through the first walk to school. You could break the glass by speaking in your outside voice.

Thermoses have come a very long way since then.

Recently, I was in a store that sold modern, engineered thermoses and quickly realized that they have got a whole lot more complicated too. Evidently, you’re no longer buying just a thermos, you are investing in a thermos system. And also in the many wonderful decals that come with them.

The thermos I ended up buying put a dent in my budget for the next few years to come. And it didn’t even come with a cup. No, the cup was a separate purchase that you get when you invest in the pouring spout system. You could also buy slide lids, straw lids, and handles. Mine comes standard with what the company calls a chug cap – which is what we used to call an opening when we didn’t know any better.

Interestingly enough, this new thermos actually keeps drinks as warm or as cold as they were when they were initially poured in. That’s another improvement from the thermoses we had as kids and young hunters.

You see, the thermoses of our youth only kept drinks warm for as long as it took to break the glass insert. As for cold drinks, sometimes you would even see that they had ice in them. But the first sip revealed that was just the broken glass.

The old-school thermoses are probably the reason why I never took to carrying coffee, soup, or any other drink with me in the field. But, when I saw these tough and efficient new thermoses, I thought that maybe I ought to buy one for myself and see what I’ve been missing all these years.

It turns out I have been missing broken glass, mostly.

In any case, as costly as it is, this new one will likely be the last thermos I will ever need – or will ever be able to afford, I suppose.

But it was totally worth it. Next week, I’m hoping it will catch my buddy’s eye.

A little more local for your inbox.

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won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

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