15 February 2009

Hug-a-Jug Review

I know some people who don't mind wearing The Beach apre-surf, not just the smell but the skankiness, especially on questionable water quality days. But I like to rinse off, and only a few breaks like Linda Mar and Capitola have public showers. Not to mention, after a frigid winter dawn patrol when my feet are numb ice clods and I'm shivering uncontrollably, there's something almost rapturous about the feeling of steaming water poured inside my wetsuit. So for a while I've been filling a gallon drinking water bottle from Safeway with hot water before I leave the house, and keeping it warm during a sesh inside a soft insulated bag that was a freebie gift from a prior employer. But with the cheapo bag falling apart from the stress of carrying something much heavier than a sandwich and some chips, I've been on the lookout for a replacement.

The Hug a Jug seemed like a durable choice. It's 2-gallon jug made of heavy plastic in a nylon carrying bag with insulated sides. Unfortunately, the Jug has several drawbacks that prevent me from recommending it with any enthusiasm. First, it fails at its main purpose: keeping water warm. The top of the bag is uninsulated, and a lot of heat escapes via this obvious path. Also, 2 gallons is more than twice as much water as I need, but if I don't fill it all the way, it gets cool even faster. The unnecessary size of the round Jug make it unwieldy; big isn't always better. In addition, the shoulder strap is not detachable and gets in the way when rinsing off, as does the string-held screw cap.

In sum, another nice idea that needs some more work to make this a truly useful product.


  1. Nice one. I've been limiting my workday DP sessions to shower-equipped beaches. Maybe I need to break away from that.

  2. Definitely you should bring some rinse water. It opens the possibilities.

  3. The Hug-a-Jug folks posted a response over here. Nice of them to offer a refund and some work-arounds, but what I'd really like to see is my comments incorporated into a redesign so I could buy a new and improved version.

  4. Wow, I read the comments on the hug a jug and had to laugh. I've been using the jug for years... it's a perfect rinse after my surf. I don't think the jug was advertised as the perfect solution for water pollution or keeping water hot over an infinite time.

    For the price it is a bargain... Sure the top is uninsulated, but if you start with hot tap water it's keeps for a few hours and provides a perfect rinse temperature.

    I surf every day in central Cali and understand surfergrrrl is surfing in the Bay area with similar water temps.

    What can I say Surfergrrrl, I love the jug and so does my crew. One idea, make the jug out of HEMP!