In today’s throwaway society there aren’t many accessories that are purchases for life, but get yourself a quality hip flask and you’ll want to treasure it forever.
They gently shift shape and texture through repeat usage which makes each one unique and personal, elevating it to treasured possession status.
So choosing a hip flask, whether for yourself or as a gift, takes some serious thought. How will it be used? As an occasional provider of warming booze on outdoor trips during the colder months?
Or perhaps for those who enjoy a cheering swig to ease a long train journey. Are they to be swigged from in secret, or will they be passed around and shown off among friends on a long hike or beside the camp fire?
To help you narrow down your choice of hip flask we’ve been busy filling and swigging from the best of them, so whether you’re looking for a practical vessel that is built to last, or something with a personal touch for a treasured gift, we think there’s something in this list for everyone.
English Pewter Company flask with black leather sleeve, 6oz: £64, Farrar & Tanner
Few retailers have such an impressive line-up of hip flasks as Farrar & Tanner, with a range that should suit most tastes and styles. Our tastes drew us to the classic curves of this 6oz flask by the English Pewter Company, housed in luxury dark leather and with a captive top to prevent you from losing it. Pewter is a material that was used for kitchenware back in the bronze age, and its relative softness is ideal for hip flasks, with those smooth curves gaining extra polish the more its used. For an extra touch of class, Farrar & Tanner also provide a pewter engraving and leather embossing service.
The Gift Experience engraved stainless steel hip flask set, 4oz: £26.99, The Gift Experience
One of the most popular products among The Gift Experience’s range of personalised hip flasks is one that’s designed to look like a gun cartridge. For those less keen on giving out imitation weapons of war we’ve picked out a more sober gift set – a 4oz stainless steel flask with a pouring funnel and two cups that comes packaged in a smart box. The flask itself is highly polished and extremely robust so should be suitable for a lifetime of use and, despite its more compact size, there’s still plenty of room for an engraved personal message of up to 100 characters.
Aspinal of London double hip flask, 6oz: £85, House of Fraser
Aspinal of London are renowned for their luxury leather goods and this double flask set, wrapped in black leather with a cobalt suede lining, certainly has the feel of quality. The two screw-top bottles, also individually resplendent in matching leather, are kept in place with straps that hook over the tops and are fastened with poppers, so you can easily remove one at a time. It’s a smart and beautifully made set that gives you the option of carrying two different spirits for a choice of swigs, or generously handing one to your traveling companion.
Bar Craft hip flask, 6oz: £7.96, Harts of Stur
Bar Craft’s 6oz bottle may be cheap but it has everything you would look for in a hip flask. Its gently arched curve is designed so it nestles snugly against your body when tucked into a pocket; the polished stainless steel gives it shiny good looks and the ideal protection for your booze; and the screw top has lanyard attachment that prevents you from losing it during secretive sips. A tried and tested design that’s perfectly suited for your booze-on-the-go needs.
Stanley pocket flask, 148ml: £16.46, Amazon
Stanley’s classic rectangular flasks come in two sizes, 236ml and 148ml, and while they probably had water in mind for the larger bottle we reckon the smaller option is well suited to booze. It’s made of tough stainless steel with a green hammerton finish and has a secure green lanyard attachment. The whole package is sturdy and compact, well suited to a life in a backpack pocket.
Zippo leather wrapped hip flask, 6oz: £17.95, Whitby & Co
Few companies have a better reputation for pocket accessories than Zippo, who have produced over 400 million lighters since starting out in the 1930s. The company also puts its skills to a few hip flask designs and this good value leather-wrapped item impressed us. It’s made of stainless steel with black leather fixed around its waist, giving its gently curved shape some extra grip. It comes with a captive top and has a solid feel to it making it a practical choice for the outdoor type.
Ettinger leather bound hip flask, 6oz: £90, Ettinger
Ettinger’s hip flasks aren’t cheap but their fancy leather wraps are designed to cut a dash in the highest of fashion circles. Their sterling collection features the archetypal stainless steel flask design (with a pouring funnel) comes in a choice of four vibrant colours: purple, red, orange and, our favourite, turquoise. They’re so colourful that you can not only feel and smell the leather luxury but also see it a mile off. Not one to hide away – this is a hip flask for the fashionably hip.
Ted Baker hip flask and shot cups, 300ml: £40, John Lewis & Partners
This Ted Baker hip flask has the cylindrical shape of the classic Thermos hot drinks flask, but its leather-wrapped, stainless steel sophisticated looks mean it’s definitely designed for booze. With a large 300ml capacity and two cups that sit neatly beneath a detachable hood, it’s an ideal choice for those who like to share their drinks.
London Transport Museum hidden London hip flask, 5oz: £5, London Transport Museum
Hip flasks make for excellent travel companions. They offer you regular shots of your favourite booze and don’t hog much space. For souvenir hunters we rather like this 5oz stainless steel offering from London Transport Museum. Its circular design echoes the “Hidden London” logo that you’ll see engraved on both sides, besides making it easy to shift in and out of tight pocket spaces, while a flat bottom enables it to stand upright while filling. A simple but functional gift for the city commuter.
Rex London garden birds hip flask, 6oz: £8.95, Rex London
The classic 6oz stainless steel flask design, as featured in Bar Craft’s entry above, is well suited to decorative adornment and it’s possible to find attractive covers to suit all tastes. We’ve taken a liking to this flask decorated with illustrations of garden birds, providing you with a splash of colour while taking a swig of spirit – find a garden bench to relax and enjoy the flask’s contents and it will almost certainly bring out your hidden twitcher.
The verdict: Hip flasks
You don’t need to spend much to get a quality hip flask, but if you’ve got a bit more cash for the investment then we recommend the English Pewter Company’s combination of leather and pewter.