- Description: A stainless steel hip flask designed and machined in the UK.
- Material options: Stainless Steel or Black Steel
- Size: 127mm (5.00”) long, 37mm (1.47”) diameter
- Weight 180g (6.35 oz) weight
- Capacity 100ml / 3.4 fl.oz
- Where to buy: Here!
Leaving the writing desk behind, today we’re looking at the 100ml Hip Flask — another offering from Wingback, the same company behind the Mechanical Pen.
Original design is king in the EDC (everyday carry) gear community. Sure, other things are also important like functionality, quality, and of course aesthetics. But the market is saturated with pens, flashlights, knives and multi-tools endlessly jumping on the bandwagons of each other’s designs.
So when Wingback offered me a review sample of their take on the hip flask, I was excited. Wingback is a relatively new pen and EDC gear maker, and their approach to machined metal product design is fresh to say the least. They start from pure nothingness, set their own parameters, and do their best to create something that doesn’t follow in someone else’s footsteps. The 100ml Hip Flask is no exception.
And as luck would have it I was off for a well-timed holiday to the Scottish Highlands —presenting a great opportunity to put their flask to the test. But before we dive into Single Malts atop craggy peaks, let’s talk about a few of the flask’s fit and finish details that may not be obvious from the pictures.
The 100ml hip is made from 316 stainless steel, the same steel high end watches are made from. It’s more expensive than Inox 304, your typical food grade steel, and more difficult to machine, but offers increased durability and corrosion resistance. Is it necessary? Probably not. But the Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition I kept in their during my trip tasted as if it had been poured straight from the bottle.
The flask is made up of three parts comprising a cap, body and base. All smooth parts have been finished with a fine satin brushing. Welds and joins are nowhere to be seen, testament that each part is milled from individual pieces of steel.
Having reviewed two Wingback pens, I had fairly high expectations of their flask which is machined in Birmingham, England. Even so, I was still impressed. It’s one thing to achieve a nigh-on flawless finish on something as small as a pen, another entirely on an object 10 times the size where any imperfections are on full display.
Knurling is particularly impressive, both visually and to the touch. This is a lot of metal to put through the knurling machine (which basically squashes the steel into shape) and whilst I’m not saying it’s perfect, the machining tolerances are extraordinarily tight.
Turn the flask on its end and you’ll find a bottle opener built into the base. Since I generally have a multi-tool with me, this feature is probably not something I’ll use that often, but it definitly adds to the flask’s functional design.
Wingback are masters of subtlety, and branding is consigned to the base of the flask around the bottle opener, out of view unless you go looking. Alongside their logo and laser etched map, their motto “For your journey” comes as standard unless you choose the personalisation option when ordering.
For those times when you really want to remove every trace of your previous merrymaking, the base of the flask unscrews for deep cleaning. Be aware that this part is fairly tough to unscrew. Like the cap, you’ll find another silicon gasket in here, too.
Designing a hip flask without those quintessential flat proportions is a brave move. Isn’t that deflated form the very thing that puts the ‘hip’ in hip flask? Maybe. But shaking up this tried and tired concept allowed Wingback to make something better. Especially where drinking ergonomics are concerned.
The flask’s cylindrical proportions allow for a wider mouth – which makes for a really different drinking experience. Instead of a blind glug of booze, juggled through a tiny spout with a hefty dose of air, you’re treated to an experience not too dissimilar from sipping from your favourite tumbler.
For one, you can actually see and smell what you’re drinking. Whisky drinkers like myself, or any tippler of fine spirits looking for a joined-up treat for the nose and tongue, will appreciate. Drinking from the 100ml Hip Flask just feels more civilised than any other I’ve tried.
Put simply, you can sup. Instead of glug. You can sniff the contents like a connoisseur, at the same time you tilt the flask back to take a mouthful of your favourite booze. I really didn’t appreciate any of this until I actually drank from the flask. And what a nice surprise it was.
The lid of the flask doubles as a handy measurer, holding around 12.5ml (half a standard shot measurement) so you can keep track of how much you’ve had to drink. Moreover, because the cap is big enough to drink from, two people can enjoy a dram simultaneously without having to pass a bottle ignominiously back and forth like two drunks in an alley.
How you carry your flask will likely be the most polarising consideration when it comes to the 100ml Hip Flask. Wingback have designed their flask for bag carry, and whilst it’s small enough to fit into a trouser or jacket pocket, it will never be quite as comfortable as a conventional hip flask designed for pocket-carry.
The last time I carried a hip flask on my person was at my high school prom, which is too many years ago to bare thinking about. These days when I pack a hip flask, I’m typically going somewhere worth going (usually involving a peak), which means I’ll always be taking a bag of some sort. And that means my hip flask will be in there, along with my other gear, negating any of the traditional design’s slim carry advantages. Whether in my rucksack or messenger, I found the 100ml Hip Flask was just the right size to slip into a pouch or pocket, with the knurled cap providing adequate grip when reaching for a loch-side swig.
- Beautifully machined
- Delivers a far more pleasant drinking experience than conventional hip flasks
- Doesn’t look like a hip flask
- Not as easy to pocket carry as a traditional hip flask
- Brushed steel surfaces are easily scratched
- Slightly heavier than comparable steel flasks
Changing a design isn’t remarkable. Anyone can come up with a square wheel. But the 100ml Hip Flask is a mould-breaker, reinventing something we’ve come to tacitly accept. The wide-mouthed, cylindrical hip flask genuinely delivers a completely different, and far more pleasant, user-experience. For this reason, I’m fairly certain we’re going to see more hip flasks taking Wingback’s lead.
Wingback have also taken the flask’s execution extremely seriously. The 100ml Hip Flask’s superb machining makes it a nice object to look at and hold, and it instantly earned a place on my desk in between adventures (it’s empty, if you’re wondering). But this is also because it doesn’t look like a hip flask. It’s an elegant steel capsule that isn’t out of place amongst my machined pen addiction.
For me, it’s these aesthetics and the flask’s build quality that justify the price tag of £120 GBP. Yes, that’s high. But this isn’t your average hip flask. This is a flask for modern tipplers, indulgent adventurers, and any appreciator of the finer things in life. The Wingback 100ml Hip Flask is a high-end product aimed squarely at the those interested in gear that doesn’t just work, but looks and feels great too.
It’s not surprising that Wingback founder and man behind the flask, Alasdair MacLaine, hails from Dyson. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. Wingback reached out to us and sent me the flask pictured for review purposes without conditions. No money changed hands. But I did get to keep the sample. All I did was spend hours shooting it and writing about it, as well as enjoying the occasional dram.