Back in November I talked about my train ride down to Florida from Virginia. The trek down was by Auto Train, but my return voyage was via vehicle. I did my drive in stages, stopping in Atlanta for a few days, and then Virginia again for a few days. The first leg of my voyage north had me leaving the Orlando area on a Wednesday afternoon with a fairly late ETA in Atlanta. Because of a few friends’ deep obsessions with the Buc-ee’s truck stops, I made a pit stop to grab some swag for them, as well as avail myself of the roadside Mecca’s offerings. I bought a pile of t-shirts, as well as a couple of Buc-ee’s branded Yukon Outfitters tumblers. I did not know it, but I was about to be drinking from greatness, and would go on a journey crisscrossing America chasing the Yukon.
Drinkware is something that everyone has to contend with. Sportsmen are certainly no strangers to a solid tumbler or insulated cup. In fact, many of us have a near obsession of keeping drinks cold or hot depending on the beverage. Need we talk about coolers? One of the things I almost always bring with me to the range is a large to-go cup of coffee, if not a full thermos, and a big bottle of iced water. A good cup or mug is a must for any on the go sportsman.
It was already fairly late that November evening when I saw the billboard alerting me of the upcoming Buc-ee’s and I prodded my weary wife telling her we’d be stopping there. I won’t say there was an eye roll or anything like that, but I did detect some skepticism from my travel companions when I explained the importance of the stop. We were all due for a restroom break anyhow, so what’s the harm? We pulled off the highway and stopped at the Buc-ee’s in Fort Valley, Georgia.
I quickly lost my wife to the housewares section while I flitted about collecting swag. Yes, the housewares section in a truck stop. “Little P” was in tow, who declared they’d not be eating anything from “this place”, as I grabbed a Philly cheese steak burrito to eat while back on the road. Was that a good decision? I left the fate of bowel health in God’s hands. I found the drinkware bearing the Buc-ee’s logo on a checkout line endcap and tossed a few in the basket of goods.
I did not realize that the twenty ounce tumblers I had purchased were Yukon branded or even who the Yukon Outfitters were. I did quickly learn that the Freedom 20 oz tumbler was a serious contender when weighed against other cups I own. I’m not going to say I own or have used every cup on the market, but the big names like Yeti, RTIC, and Ozark Mountains all have touched my lips.
A recent trip to the Camden Aquarium aided in my scientific research on how “good” the tumbler really is. I made a cup of coffee at my home, which is about an hour away from the aquarium, and when I got to my location, the coffee that remained was still pretty hot. Was it lawsuit hot? Not lawsuit hot, but just enough of the edge was cut from it to actually drink the coffee without having to blow on it any longer.
As if panting on my coffee to cool it down is not emasculating enough, I parked my Subaru and got out when at my destination. You don’t exactly hear the sound of spurs clanging when a middle aged overweight man gets out of a Subaru. I sipped the last few sips of coffee that were brewed an hour prior and it dawned on me this was a damned good cup.
At the 2023 SHOT Show I was tooling around and while in the Caesars Forum I ran into the Yukon booth. I started talking to who I learned to be the president and one of the co-owners, Preston Powell, and said “Hey you’re the Buc-ee’s cups guys, right?” He said that was the case and we chatted about cups. I told him I was definitely a fan of their products.
I’m always in the market for swag to give out to people, so I prodded Preston about getting some custom tumblers of my own made up. I was really impressed with the price points for laser etched drinkware. He gave me a catalog to reference later on.
I ended up returning later that day with a buddy who’s also always in the market for some swag to hand out. We chatted with Preston’s brother, also a co-owner, Parker Powell. Parker gave my buddy a similar sales pitch.
One of the really neat products that they just recently launched was their 20 oz Fiesta Cup. I asked Parker about how I could snag one of them and he said they’re there for potential buyers, and passed a pair out to me and my compatriot, observing we seem to be in the market.
The Fiesta Cup is next level. The vessel looks like a traditional party cup, but that’s about where the similarities end. The stainless steel insulated cup is powder coated with a Duragrip finish. The Duragrip is not super aggressive, but if your fingers are pruned up from poolside relaxations, the gripping of the cup will come with some ease. While we’re evolutionarily designed to wrinkle up when waterlogged, I never did see the alleged gripping benefit of pruney fingers when grabbing certain items. The Fiesta Cup is a certain item that would complement this trait.
The bottom of the Fiesta cup has a no slip piece of rubber affixed to it. If you put the cup down it’s likely to stay unless disturbed via a serious force. Because of the double wall, copper plate, vacuum insulation, the cup will not sweat. It’s designed to provide up to 6 hours of the hotness or 24 of cold.
The lid has a bit of a larger opening than the tumblers and there’s no plastic latch to cover it up. When I asked Preston about this, he said that these are cold drink cups, and while they will keep your coffee hot, they’re designed for those “bottoms ups” times. Speaking of when drinks go bottoms up, each Fiesta cup includes a ping pong ball with the Yukon logo on it.
I put my Fiesta Cup as well as my Freedom 20 oz tumbler through the paces since acquiring both of them.
My most recent trip was to the 2023 Great American Outdoors Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I had my tumbler along for the ride. Did my coffee make it the two and a half hours? No, I drank it all prior to arriving. But it was still hot when I got the last drop down.
Wandering the floor of the Shooting Sports Hall, at booth 247, who do I run into? My buddies from Yukon Outfitters. At that point we were old friends since we met a few weeks prior and I had been using one of their cups regularly since buying it at a truck stop during a November road trip. I think that puts us on solid ground as old friends. We chatted a bit and played catch up on what’s new in the world of drinking hot and cold drinks.
Seeing the brother duo in action again, this time at the Great American Outdoors show on the other side of the country was nice. The story of Yukon Outfitters is on their website and there’s something to be said about the innovation that comes with necessity. A couple of guys that saw a void in the market and they decided to fill it. The company is about way more than just cups, they have a whole slew of products aimed at the modern sportsman, and I’m looking forward to browsing their site the next time I’m in the market for one of their offerings.
I did sing their praise again about the quality of their products and in jest said that I hope they don’t do what other brands have done. So many companies are in the habit of becoming established as the every man’s gear company, and then they jack up their prices after scoring a few contracts. Certain brands become trendy by north-eastern wannabees, destroying a perfectly good brand. Oftentimes ultra yuppies create a high demand for utilitarian things that are trending like outdoor boots, leaving the people who have real business using them unable to acquire them and unshod. Preston said to me that they have far too many loyal buyers to jack up the prices or sell out, and they’d never do such a thing to their customers. For that, I tip their cup to them, and will drink to that.