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Hot Can heats its own contents


January 18, 2013

Both soups and drinks are available in the Hot Can

Both soups and drinks are available in the Hot Can

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Last February, the world welcomed its first self-chilling beverage. Of course, a self-chilling beverage was only of so much interest during a time when much of the world's population could just step outside its door and chill its own beverages in the open air – June might have been a better time for that one. What folks could use during the cold season is a beverage container that automatically warms its contents. That container is called the Hot Can.

The double-chambered aluminum Hot Can contains the beverage or soup in its outer chamber, and a mix of water and calcium oxide in its inner chamber. When activated, the water and calcium oxide mix, causing an exothermic reaction that heats the beverage by a total of 50 to 55 degrees Celsius in about three minutes. This means that a drink which starts out at room temperature (20ºC/68ºF) heats up to 70ºC (158ºF) – from a cold cup of mud to a piping hot cup of coffee. A polypropylene outer shell insulates the beverage for about 45 minutes and protects the hands from burns.

Using the Hot Can sounds pretty easy. You turn it upside down, remove the protective tab and press the button to begin the heat reaction. Then you shake it for 20 to 30 seconds and stand it upright until it heats up. The heat indicator label lets you know it's hot and ready with a green emblem. If it should get too hot, a red warning sign activates instead.

Because the Hot Can adds a set amount of heat to any beverage, it's designed to be stored at room temperature. Storing it in the refrigerator will mean it won't heat up to a warm drinking temperature, while storing it in a hot environment like a car in the hot sun will cause burn risks. Storing it below 5ºC (41ºF) can damage the heating element.

The Hot Can could be super-useful for everyday use as well as for specific purposes. You could grab a coffee on the way out the door to work without ever having to brew a pot or stop off at a shop. Hikers, backpackers and other outdoor users could enjoy a hot drink without worrying about lighting a stove or fire.

Hot Can launched in its home market of Malaysia in 2008 and was introduced to the U.S. market last year. It comes in a full line of beverages and soups, including coffee, hot chocolate and chicken soup. The company has been busy attending trade shows and increasing its distribution footprint. Buyers can find it online at and at independent retailers, including outdoor shops and conveniences stores in 32 states. Each can costs about US$2.40 when purchased in multi-packs.

If you don't like Hot Cans' selection of drinks and soups, gadgets like the Trekmates cooking system uses a similar design for heating up your food of choice.

Source: Hot Can

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Oh dear. Another thing to go into the landfill. Or worse, dumped in the woods.


I have to say these have been around for about 15 years (at least). My dad used to bring them home from police firearms callouts, if the job went over 8 hours or so they were issued a "hot-can". As I recall I used to quite like the lamb hotpot.

Kieron Williams

This is much more affordable this time around.. but wolfgang puck branded a version of coffee and possibly soup as well that was sold for like $4-5 a can. It was way to pricey and faded away pretty quick.


I agree with kieron, nescafe (coffee) did this well over 10 years ago here in the UK.

Barneh Barnes

Im pretty sure Nescafe used to sell coffee in "hotcans" around 1998?? it was pretty advanced. Came black, white or white with sugar!

Mark B

I've had self heating cans of hot chocolate in my emergency bag for over five years.


Although the chemistry is different I can remember self-heating cans of soup being available in the early '60s....!


Can beat you all. They've been in Japan at least before 1990 and cheap. When I arrived here first time back then I remember going cherry blossom viewing and they had some nifty one cup sakes that heated themselves for some hot sake.


Nothing new here, food in self-heating cans was issued to US troops in WWII.


Another self-heating can patent goes back to 1903 by George S. Jewett. Don't know if the can was ever mass produced for sales, though.

Marco Corona

As others have said, Nescafe did this with coffee a few years back.

I bought one out of curiosity, but it didn't heat the coffee uniformly.

Wonder how recyclable this latest version will be?


I've seen this type of tech in military MREs (meal ready to eat). Beyond that, what kind of chemicals are going to leech into the food? I know that a lot of tin cans use a plastic liner that leeches BPA into food. Heating will only cause more BPA to leech out. Or worse, BPB.


This is so sweet, camping and zombie hunting just got easier.

Who cares if this stuff leaches out, not like cameras computes and everything under the sun is not dangerous or poisonous one way or another in the long run.

Man is science not sweet. Plus most of us will probably have our FUBAR day dying from some virus induced cancer in the long run. LOL

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