Why Are Enamel Mugs Good for Camping? Enormous Q&A And Best Places to Buy

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Wondering why (or even if) enamel mugs are good for camping? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Below, you’ll see our Q&A to answer any and all questions you might have about enamel camping mugs.

The goal of today’s article is to help you learn more about these kinds of mugs, and choose whether you want to use one or not.

After that, we’ll run through a few of our favorite camping mugs, but that isn’t the primary focus of today’s article.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Q&A Section

What are Enamel Mugs Made Of?

Before we start singing the praises of using an enamel camping mug, let’s make sure we’re clear what we’re talking about.

First off, what’s enamel?

Enamel, in this case, is “a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate” (thanks Wikipedia!). It can be pottery, metal, or something else.

In the case of an enamel mug, the mug itself is made of metal and has an enamel coating over it. They’re those classic camping mugs you’ve probably seen before.

Why Are Enamel Mugs Good for Camping?

Enamel cups are shatterproof, easy to clean, and small, making them excellent camping mugs. They’re also very cheap and can hold up against chips and cracks from getting dropped.

Enamel mugs can also withstand high temperatures. A mug like this usually has a steel base, further increasing its ruggedness and ability to hold heat from liquids.

Lightweight steel mugs like this can also go right over an open fire, making it easy for them to create hot drinks on those cold camping nights.

Finally, these types of mugs sometimes feature a double dipped rim, which further increases their strength and long lasting capabilities.

Why Are Enamel Mugs and Camping So Closely Linked?

Going back into the (relatively) distant past, you’ve probably seen plenty of photographs of people holding vintage enamelware and wearing plaid around a campfire. So, why the connection?

In other words, why are these kinds of mugs linked to camping?

Well, as we’ve described above, enamel is one of the best materials for camping due its creation of both a durable and lightweight mug.

In addition, enamel camp mugs can go directly into your stove or campfire to boil drinking water.

The lightweight nature of the mugs make them versatile and easy to bring in a pack, further improving their outdoor usefulness.

Is This Kind of Enamelware Safe to Eat and Drink From?

Yes, an enamel camp mug is safe to both eat and drink from.

Enamelware does not react with any of the acids in our foods or drinks, making it completely safe to use. The metal of the cookware is protected by the porcelain coating, ensuring that no metal gets in contact with the drink.

However, the exception here is vintage enamelware. It’s important to avoid vintage enamel, since the materials can contain dangerous levels of heavy metals.

Are Chipped Enamel Cups Safe to Drink From?

Sure are! A mug that’s chipped on the outside or the rim is perfectly safe to use and drink from.

Even if the steel metal underneath is revealed, the metal will oxidize and still be safe to use.

Are Enamel Camping Mugs Breakable?

Enamel mugs are extremely durable and long lasting. Since they’re made of metal, they aren’t really breakable.

The outer coating of enamel, though, can eventually crack and break, especially if dropped on a hard surface like a concrete floor.

However, like we mentioned above, even a cup with cracks or a chip is still safe to use and hold food or liquids.

Are These Kinds of Mugs Dishwasher Safe?

Yes. An enamel mug are just made of steel and porcelain, so they are definitely dishwasher safe.

If you find that your cup isn’t coming clean, Falcon Enamelware suggests removing tough stains by trying some lemon juice (as an aside, Falcon Enamelware makes good mugs, too, as you probably guessed by the name!).

Can They Go In the Freezer?

Yup, these types of cups are also perfectly safe in cold temperatures, with our without food or liquid in them.

Can I Put An Enamel Mug in a Camper?

Yup! Like anything else in a camper, just give your mug proper care by securing it somewhere it won’t roll around and get damaged.

If a mug or other item does fall off your camper, check it for damage. The piece will likely still be fine to use, unless it has an obvious gash or hole where liquid would spill out. And, again, if the mug has a vintage coating, you should not use it.

Are These Mugs Microwave Safe?

No. These mugs contain a heavyweight steel frame, as we mentioned above. This means that they are not microwave safe.

If you do put an enamel camping mug in a microwave, turn off the microwave as quickly as possible and make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.

The best way to heat one of these mugs is to use a stove, or if you’re out and about, a campfire. If you are using a stove, keep the burner on a lower temperature to ensure a gentler heating up of the liquid.

Can Enamel Mugs Go In The Oven?

While you’ll probably be using a campfire more often with your mugs, they are perfectly fine in the oven too.

Are Enamel Mugs Good for Coffee and Tea?

Generally, yes! These kinds of mugs are great for a tea or coffee lover out in nature thanks to their durability and size.

However, the mugs aren’t insulated and can easily lose the heat from a hot coffee or tea. On a plus side, though, they also withstand heat well and can be placed near a fire to quickly warm your tea or coffee back up.

Thanks to this, we feel that enamel mugs are good for coffee and tea, especially on camping trips where you’ll have a fire handy.

Are Enamel Mugs Made of Tin?

You probably already know the answer to that from reading earlier in this Q&A, but no, enamel mugs are not usually made of tin. They’re often made of a stronger metal like steel.

However, as we also mentioned above, older enamelware can sometimes be made of toxic materials like lead or tin, which is why this kind of enamel mug is important to avoid.

Differences Between an Enamel Mug vs. a Ceramic Mug

The cups in shabby chic style, vintage colors

Enamel is made of powdered glass that has been coated over another material, such as steel. An enamel mug is a metal mug that has an enamel coating.

Ceramic, by contrast, is clay that has been glazed and fired at a high temperature.

So, while they might seem similar, ceramic and enamel mugs are actually quite different.

Should I Bring an Enamel Camping Mug or a Ceramic Camping Mug?

By now you probably know the answer to that. Enamel camping mugs are a much better choice for camping trips due to their durability and light weight.

Ceramic mugs can easily break or chip, so you need to be more careful when packing them up.

Also, ceramic mugs tend to be heavier than many enamel mugs. And, as a final point, ceramic cups are often more expensive.

However, if keeping your drink warm is your only priority, both types of mugs can warm up your beverage with the help of a campfire or other stove-like heat source.

Best Places to Buy Enamelware Mugs for Camping

Now that we’ve (hopefully) convinced you that enamel is the right mug material for your next camping trip, we’ll wrap up today’s article by running through the best places we’ve found to get these kinds of mugs.

As usual when shopping for products, make sure to look at reviews and return policies before purchasing something. That said, enamel mugs are a relatively modest investment, so you’re pretty safe just taking the plunge.

1. (Top Pick): REI

REI is, in our view, by far the best place to get enamel mugs. Their prices are competitive, and their wide selection of mugs is plenty for almost any camping needs.

The mugs from REI are also rated quite well, both for their variety of colors and their durable design.

REI has mug options for kids, with easy-to-wash designs that can go through the dishwasher as an added bonus.

You can also easily find options with increased sturdiness to help against an accidental drop and/or general wear and tear.

2. (Runner Up): Etsy

Etsy has a wide enamel cup range to choose from. Plenty of the shop sellers have hundreds and even thousands of reviews to back them up.

The mugs range in price from around $10 to $25, and have a variety of return options based on the seller. For the most part, we saw that most of the mug sellers didn’t offer returns, but some did offer at least limited return options.

3. Parks Project

Parks Project has a series of popular enamel mug options, including their National Park series and colorful options to appeal to kids. The mugs are also certified to be safe to stick in a campfire.

The company has a wonderful social mission, and tracks the amount they’ve to projects to help protect national parks.

In addition, the company backs its products with a 30-day return period for any unused items.

4. Amazon

Amazon had the least impressive enamel cup selection out of our three marketplace picks. Amazon had fewer reviews than the other two options, but still enough to make their selection worth checking out.

On a plus side, all Amazon purchases are backed by the company’s outstanding “no questions asked” style of return policy. That return period is 30 days, and sometimes longer over the holiday period.


Hopefully now you have a broader understanding of why enamel mugs are a good option for your next trip.

As always, if we missed anything, please let us know below! Together we can improve the article for everyone. 🙂

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