Product Review: Mission First Tactical Drinkware

Hydration is an important part of any activity and really just in general. When it comes to staying hydrated when living a semi-active lifestyle, there’s no shortage of drinkware options on the market. Solutions range from cheap plastic all the way up to “smart” bottles with bluetooth capabilities, and I’m sure a bunch of stuff I’ve never even heard of. Where things get interesting is when unique meets utilitarian. Over the summer, Mission First Tactical rolled out an expansion to their line of drinkware and it’s worth a gander.


I got my hands – lips – on a few of their products and gave them all a solid field test.

Mission First Tactical has an extensive line of firearm accessories, holsters, packs and bags, and many other items. Mission First Tactical adding to their line of products some drinkware options seems to make logical sense if they’re trying to meet a “one-stop-shop status.” Shopping on their site, users might stumble upon the line and think to themselves, “What the heck, I’ll buy one of these too. I’m already getting something.”

It’s not just that they’ve released these unique items in the form of 32 ounce and 24 ounce hot/cold water bottles, a 16 ounce flip top bottle/tumbler, and can coolers, but the style in which the items emulate that makes them really pop. In June they announced the expansion of their designs.

The Mission First Tactical line of drinkware is fashioned after popular military munitions. You’re not just buying a bottle or a cup, but an artfully decorated vessel that’s bound to appeal to fans of militaria. There were several designs already available for most of the items. The full line of designs include:

  • M18 Smoke
  • Howitzer
  • C4
  • M67 Frag
  • 9 Banger
  • CS Gas

From Mission First Tactical’s release concerning the expansion to the product line:

“Whether it’s a refreshingly cold thirst-quencher or a piping hot brew, the MFT insulated drinkware will keep your drinks at the optimum temperature while in style,” said David Edelman, Vice President, Mission First Tactical. “The new drinkware is perfect for personalizing on-the-go transport of your favorite beverages.”

MFT Gear is designed specifically for bad-ass customers with a kick-ass mentality. Represent your 2nd Amendment rights and look good doing it. From drinkware to apparel, MFT has you covered.

I received my box of items for T and E and was pleasantly surprised to have received three items.

I was super excited when I saw the 32 ounce bottle inspired by a Howitzer M107 shell. It took me a while to come to terms with hydration needs before learning I”m a quart kind of guy when it comes to water on the go. The 32 ounce Howitzer bottle would fit nicely into my lifestyle without much fuss, as well as in the netted side pocket of one of the daypacks I use on the regular.


The 16 ounce flip-top bottle confused me a little at first. The “9 Banger” flashbang design was sharp, but what was I looking at? 16 ounces…is this a bottle? Is this a cup? I have reserved myself to add “tumbler” to the description for the readers, as yes, it’s a bottle, but it’s also a tumbler in my opinion.

Then I got to the 12 ounce can cooler. I was less than excited about this item at first, but after putting it through the paces, I have a very solid positive opinion about it. 

I never really got into so-called “koozies” or can coolers, because I just drink my canned products swiftly. I did give this unit a fair shake down, and a much more scientific one than the other pieces. The design the can cooler had is a CS Gas grenade design, aka tear gas. The can cooler is equipped with a screw-on/off ring which allows for can insertion and securing within the unit.

I got to putting the 32 ounce bottle and 16 ounce “bottle” to use the day after I got into the box that was waiting on my doorstep after a trip to the Poconos in Pennsylvania.

The 32 ounce bottle accompanied me on a five mile autumn hike, a trip to a theme park in Pennsylvania, and a rather busy/eclectic road trip down to Virginia. I was contending with the elements of these areas in the month of November, so I did not get the opportunity to pop open the bottle in the sweltering heat of Florida in August, but I did field test it. The 16 ounce bottle tagged along for everything but the hike, and the can cooler got some different treatment.

I will note, the 32 ounce bottle is advertised as a flip-top. I got a screw top – which I prefer anyhow – so, I don’t know if that was a mistake in the marketing and or website description. Or perhaps there is a flip-top design and I just didn’t get one. Mine was screw top and had a nice sturdy handle on it. The handle will flip up and down, but I don’t consider it a “flip-top.”

My Virginia trip is where I put the units to most use so far. It consisted of the five hour drive itself, touring Colonial Williamsburg, hitting an indoor waterpark, and going to a traditional large commercial outdoor theme park for a day. There might have been a presentation I had to sit through one of the days as well – my lodging was depending on it – but we won’t get into those antics one of my roommates signed us up for.


The 32 ounce bottle did what it was supposed to from the snap of the ball to the blow of the whistle. It was a sufficient amount for the five mile hike, with me having both leftover water and ice surviving in it afterwards.

The marketing materials for these bottles touts, “Both the bottles and can coolers easily keep your drink hot for up to four hours or cold for nine hours of maximum enjoyment.” Granted, my testing of both the 32 and 16 ounce bottles was in the field and under autumn conditions, but there’s more to their claims.

The 32 ounce bottle, if crammed with ice and then water, there will be ice in that bottle well after over nine hours, obviously depending on conditions. Any day I had left over water at the end of the day after the last fill, or in some cases only fill, the next day the water was still cold and in some instances there was still ice inside it. This isn’t exactly laboratory science or field testing in sweltering conditions, but that was my initial experience.

The 16 ounce flip-top bottle, which I opted to use as a coffee cup, did in fact keep my coffee hot for up to four hours when tested to that time limit. In everyday use, the cup kept my coffee hot while drinking it from first sip to last. Was it “lawsuit” hot by the time I got to the end of it? No. But my coffee also did not start out lawsuit hot.

The 16 ounce bottle got its real test when I left “Winchestertonfieldville,” New Jersey one evening for the Virginia road trip, and I had it filled up to nurse through the evening and into the night’s drive. It started hot in Jersey, and four hours later when I had my last sip of rich coffee, somewhere north of Richmond, it was still hot.

I did not break out my thermometer to test the performance of the 32 and 16 ounce bottles, but in the field, they delivered. How will they do in the summer when trying to keep things cold, I think they’ll probably more than meet expectations.

Now the can cooler…as noted, I’ve never really found a personal need for a can cooler. It’s just something I never used or thought I’d like to use. I crack a cold one – usually a plain seltzer if y’all must know – and I drink it. My pinky does not go up, I open my guzzle, and I drink that seltzer like a man. I’m not saying I shotgun these drinks at all, but I drink them. They don’t sit around. Even if I’m drinking my favorite brand of cola that comes in a red can that Santa drinks in the winter, I just drink it…maybe with a meal, maybe just for pleasure. But I’m not nursing these beverages.


As a side bar, perhaps the left-handed savages that drink the cola that comes in a blue can that Santa drinks in the summer may nurse their drinks with their pinkies up – I don’t know – but I never fancied the need for a can cooler. Oh yes, there’s a drink bias and some of us are team red and some of us are team blue, and only one of us has the classic OG on the menu. I jest, but still may pay for those comments down the road.

So what’d I do with my can cooler? I decided to be objective with it, I handed it off to my wife and said, “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this. [and use it]” She said, “Okay.” The results? She said, “Yup, it kept my drink cold.”

I didn’t think that that was a fair test, so I decided to do a real analysis. Mission First Tactical says that the can cooler will “keep[] your beverage (not your hands) colder longer so you can always hit your target.” That’s about as objective as me saying, “Yup, there was still ice in that bad boy the next day.” There were no measurable standards to compare the can cooler to.

I set up an experiment with a control can and a can in a can cooler. The ambient temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the low end of “average room temperature.” The two cans of plain seltzer water started out at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit. I took measurements every five minutes for the initial thermal climb and then as the temperature tapered off in increase, every ten minutes. In making a chart, I used five minute increments which I filled in the missing data points for every other point when only recording at ten minute intervals with the average between the lower and upper points.

The results? The temperature climb for the control can was near exact linear for the first 25 or so minutes, showing an increase of 8.55 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no temperature climb for the can in the can cooler for the first 25 minutes. At the 30 minute mark I recorded just under a half degree Fahrenheit increase in the can in the can cooler.

This is a remarkable result. Basically, if you’re the type of person that’ll drink their drink within a half hour, you’re going to notice near zero temperature change of your drink. This does not account for the volume of the drink decreasing as that time goes on, thus being able to warm up faster, but in a control, we’re seeing a negligible change.


I continued the test out to 145 minutes and the results were interesting. The control can warmed up to 60.8 degrees while the can in the can cooler warmed up to 46.4 degrees. A 21.6 degree increase for the control and only a 7.2 degree increase in the can cooler.

The claim that the can cooler will keep your drink cooler longer has been met through an objective and measurable test. The change in temperature in the control can is 66% more than that of the can in the can cooler over the course of 145 minutes. In the first half hour a can in a can cooler will warm up only 5% of what one not in a cooler will.

Testing on the can cooler specimen really came into full focus when after two and a half hours, I took the can out of the cooler and held it to my face. “Yup, that’s cold,” is what I said and clearly that’s the empirical proof we needed to put this to bed.

The Mission First Tactical line of drinkware is great. My only complaint? I feel the prices are a bit steep on these units. That being said, individuals are not just getting a bottle, cup, or can cooler, they’re getting a very cool piece of militaria that’s unique. In this case, you’re paying for quality in addition to aesthetics. The plus is the money is going to a company that we can assume supports the Second Amendment, they do sell gun stuff. We don’t have to question xyz company’s stance on what we hold dear.

Pluses: Meets expectations. Artfully designed and appealing. Robust design. Easy to clean. Quality o-ring style seals on lids do their job(s). Great conversation pieces! Would make an awesome gift.

Minuses: Price is a little steep for me. Comparable 32 ounce bottles are from a third of up to around double in price of Mission First Tactical’s. 16 ounce bottles are about double the price of comparable tumblers.

Overall, this is a really cool set of drinkware. I have my favorite brands that I go to on the regular, and the Mission First Tactical line runs neck and neck with all of them. 

Would I buy these bottles or this can cooler? Not for myself. Just being honest. I think the militaria design is awesome, and that’s where we’re finding our markup. I would, though, buy from this line of products for a friend or family member as a gift if they’re into GI stuff. They’re cool and I think that’s worth it for someone who enjoys that kind of thing.


Would I recommend a friend or family member buy these? Yeah. Under the presumption they’re into this kind of adornment, I don’t think these would disappoint.

I’ll be keeping the T and E samples in use for sure. The 32 ounce bottle will be a great companion to a sister bottle of the same volume when that much water is needed. It’ll also be a great piece to use when I”m engaged in an activity where I’m not attempting to be a little gray about all my other activities/lifestyle. The 16 ounce bottle/tumbler, it’s also going to remain in circulation, as will the can cooler. Although, I have a suspicion I may lose the can cooler to the fairer of my roommates, she did take a liking to it.

You can learn more about the Mission First Tactical line of drinkware on their website.

About the product line from a release:

All New drinkware selections feature:

– Double-wall insulation prevents condensation on the outside of the bottle
– Vacuum seal locks in heat or cool temperature
– Will not retain odor or taste
– 18/8 stainless steel
– BPA & toxin free

The new 32 oz. bottle has a flip-top lid and double-wall construction making it perfect for your next mission. Available designs include M18 Smoke, Howitzer, C4 and M67 Frag.

32 oz. features:
– Compact sized with flip-top lid is easy to carry
– 32 oz. capacity
MSRP: $44.95

The 16 oz. bottles let you annihilate your thirst and keep the elements from spoiling your favorite beverage. This vacuum-insulated bottle keeps your drink at optimum temperature. New designs include 9 Banger, M67 Frag and C4; adding to the family of M18 Smoke, Howitzer, CS Gas designs.

16 oz. features:
– Compact size with flip-top lid is easy to carry
– 16 oz. capacity
MSRP: $29.95

MFT Can Coolers allow you to crack open your favorite 12 oz. can and drop it in. This Can Cooler keeps your beverage (not your hands) colder longer so you can always hit your target. New designs include the 9 Banger; adding to the family of M18 Smoke, Howitzer, CS Gas designs.

– Fits standard 12 oz. cans only
MSRP: $24.95


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