For Christmas, my cousin Tiff gave me a stainless steel, double-walled coffee mug made by Stanley, pictured at right. I must admit I wasn't enthusiastic at first. I've had a lot of travel mugs, and they've all leaked. I had to be very careful about keeping them upright. What's more, they had moving parts in the lids that made them difficult, if not impossible, to clean completely. Since I like milk in my coffee, this meant that they developed an unpleasant rotten milk smell unless I soaked the lids in hot soapy water and/or peroxide. Oh, and if the mugs had handles, they invariably broke off. So sorry, Tiff, I didn't have high expectations.
Well, I'm pleased to report that the Stanley mug is different. I'm attending a conference this week and using the mug exclusively for all my coffee needs. Its lid screws on tight and doesn't spill a drop, so I can toss the mug into my backpack with my computer or clip it to a strap and let it hang at improbable angles, and it simply Does Not Leak. Even when I take the lid off and it has coffee droplets on the inside, the lid doesn't drip on things because it has a clever double rim (much like the lid of liquid laundry detergent.) The handle is rugged and has a spring-loaded clip that keeps it doggedly attached to my person even when I'm bicycling. There are no moving parts, and the mug is big enough that I can get my hand inside to scrub it thoroughly, so there's no smell. It's simply the most useful way to carry hot drinks around that I've ever had.
Now, a few caveats. It's not a thermos -- hot drinks cool off in an hour or so. It's too big to fit in car cupholders, so you have to settle for setting it on the floor or in your lap or sideways between the seats or upside down wherever it lands. The lid is lined with plastic, not steel, so those who are paranoid about hot foods touching plastic will be paranoid about it. And because there's no drinking spout, you have to be careful not to take a sip while taking off from a stoplight or going over a bump. But I can live with those limitations if it means I never again have to put up with coffee leaking on my things.