Posts Tagged water bottles
My family seems to go through water bottles like a professional tennis player goes through rackets, many getting lost or beat up in our travels. It’s the one thing all three of us pack no matter what and in hot climates, it’s either one of these or your own personal mountain of plastic garbage.
So I’ve tried out quite a few over the years, regularly reviewing water bottles on this gear blog. Not a real exciting item to purchase maybe, but never all that expensive either. Here are three new ones that came my way during the most recent Outdoor Retailer Show, where companies are showing off their stuff. For the past couple months they’ve gotten some real world use.
This Avex Brazos Autoseal bottle is a real bargain at $15. It’s got an innovative design that takes one-hand drinking to a new level. It’s kind of hard to see on any pics, but there’s a trigger on one side and a drinking valve on the other. You press down on the trigger when you want to drink and the water flows freely. Take your finger off the trigger and the flow stops dead, no leaking.
It’s not all that big for something holding 25 ounces and it feels good in the hand. There’s a little hook handle on the top too for carrying or clipping. There’s a part that flips down to cover up where you drink so you can keep dirt out when it’s in your daypack or on a bike holder. The Avex Brazos Autoseal comes in multiple colors, is BPA-free, and you can toss it in the dishwasher. Get it at Sun & Ski retail stores or at Amazon.
The lady of the house is a personal trainer, so she chugs a few gallons a day on the road or not. She’s digging this Hero Sport water bottle from Bubba Brands that holds 24 ounces. With a name like Bubba, yes it’s more plump, but that’s because it’s insulated and will keep your cold water cold for hours without the outside sweating. It’s only a few bucks more than your average plastic one though, retailing for $17.
Like the Avex one above there’s a flip-down valve, though the one on this is a bit more crude. It doesn’t nest inside anything and it’s tougher to operate with one hand. Still it works well in basic use and again it’s a bite valve that doesn’t require a lot of effort. The flip-up handle doubles as something you can carry it with or clip onto something. This water bottle is dishwasher safe.
The double-wall insulated versions of the Hero Sport are all stainless steel color, but the top comes in different colors. It also comes in different sizes, but get this 24-ounce version at Wal-Mart stores or Amazon.
The last one I’ve been traveling with is meant more specifically for travelers or people going camping. Sometimes you need a water bottle and sometimes you don’t, but normally it’s taking up the same amount of space regardless. One way around that is a Vapur collapsible bag/bottle, but for something sturdier check out this Pack-up Bottle from Light My Fire.
The idea is simple: when you’re using it you’ve got a nice bottle that fits in your daypack and has a wide mouth for use with a SteriPen or other purifier. When you’re going through security though or packing up to go home, it compresses down to this size:
Technically this holds 700 ml (about 24 ounces), but in my tests it missed that capacity by a few ounces—a pitfall for something that keeps changing shape I guess. Speaking of such, how does this thing stand up?
The bottom part is silicone, yes, but when it’s popped out all the way it has a rounded triangular shape on the bottom. It’s a little top-heavy, so it pays to keep the lid screwed on when not drinking, but unlike a Vapur bottle this one still stands up easily when it’s only partially full. It comes in multiple colors and even though it’s made and designed in Sweden, the Pack-up Bottle lists for $20. Get it at Amazon. They also make a pack-up cup for campers that you can get at REI.
If you like the idea of a hydration pack but don’t want to be loaded down, this Hydrapak Soquel one might be the ultimate.
It seems to me like hydration packs are the runner/hiker/biker version of packing cubes. People either think they’re the greatest gear invention of the past two decades or…they yawn and ask how much it’ll cost to just put another water bottle holder somewhere instead.
We’ve covered quite a few hydration packs though, including a recent round-up from Amy, but here’s one I’ve been trying out on multiple bike rides to see if it’s worth strapping something on instead of relying on bottles. This one’s two liters, which is about what you’d be carrying if you had three large 22-ounce filled bottles along with you.
That’s a lot of water, but in a little pack. This Soquel is small and lightweight, to the point where you might forget it’s there. You don’t get a lot of padding of course, but the hydration pouch area is fully insulated and it’s all made of lightweight, water-resistant nylon. The hydration area opens with a zipper that goes around to the size, plus the bladder is reversible, so it’s quick and easy to fill and replace.
The hose goes in and out with a snap—literally—with the quick-release connection. In my tests it was surprisingly spill-free.
My main complaint is that there’s hardly any place to put your stuff. If I’m strapping something on my back, I feel I’ve got a right to stuff my belongings in it. With this minimalist pack, that’s not the purpose, so the only other pocket is the small one on the front for keys and a wallet. And maybe a music player.
But hey, this is not a backpack meant for the long haul. It’s for shredding a mountain biking trail that would rattle your water bottles loose and spray them with mud. Or for those travelers who would rather carry a bladder on their back for the day and stop thinking about where they’re going to get more water come 3:oo in the afternoon.
This small hydration pack comes in five colors and lists for $70 at the company site. You can find the Hydrapak Soquel at many running and bike shops or you can get it online at Amazon for around $55.
Every time I review or buy a stainless steel water bottle, I start by ensuring it’s BPA-free. At one time, Sigg water bottles did not meet this criteria, though in hindsight, this may have been due to their lucky-yet-unlucky position at the front of the stainless steel water bottle pack. At any rate, public awareness about BPA–Bisphenol A–grew, Sigg re-designed, and now all is right with the world. Time to move on to what’s new:
Sigg’s Active Top:
Basically, Sigg has taken the ease-of-use of a hydration bite valve and placed it on top of a water bottle. I’m sold. I like that it’s on several models and sizes, including my favorite: the Dynamic Black Touch .75L bottle. Unlike the wider 1L bottle, the .75L is thinner, which means it slides into my backpack pocket better. It also grips in my hand more naturally, thanks both to the shape and to its textured outside. The active top includes the pressure-relief valve, as well as what Sigg calls the pre-ventilation system, wherein you can lock the valve closed with one turn, making it completely leak-proof. One tip: be sure to set it from open to closed while gaining or losing elevation while driving, or it will send water bubbling up like a volcano. Grab the Dynamic Touch .75L for $28 at Sigg or Amazon.
Sigg Wide Mouth:
Sigg’s wide mouth line is fatter than the Dynamic Touch (no surprise there) but also very lightweight, which is a surprise. I tried out the Wide Mouth Touch 1L. It has the same ‘Touch’ texture as the Dynamic Touch, and a wide-mouth cap you can unscrew to add liquid or ice cubes. When drinking, use the smaller top cap instead, so you don’t slosh all over yourself. (What, just me?) For my purposes, the wide mouth 1L is too wide for use in my car and in some backpacks, but it’s ideal for my sons when they need lots of hydration on the side of the sports’ field. Pick up the wide mouth Touch 1L for $28 at Sigg or just $21 at Amazon. Comes in red or black.
Sigg’s Cuipo line:
Sigg has long been an advocate for environmental awareness, and is now partnering with Cuipo.com, a retailer dedicated to protecting the Cuipo Rainforest Preserve of Panama. Cuipo has acquired 13,354,600 square meters of rainforest set aside for preservation. Each purchase of a Cuipo item saves one square meter through their One Meter at a Time project.
The Cuipo line includes many sizes of bottles, starting from 0.3L children’s models and on up. My pick: the Sigg Cuipo Be the Solution 1L bottle, which is large while still fitting in most cup holders and backpack bottle sleeves. The mouth is wide enough for ice cubes, and it has the active top. The bottle is bright green with an attractive ‘Be the solution, not the cause’ slogan, and comes with a rainforest-saving activation code you can redeem at Cuipo to do your part. Buy the Be the Solution bottle for $24-$28 at Sigg or Amazon. Also comes in red with a ‘Respect and Protect’ slogan.
Taking double-duty travel gear in a new direction, this combination water bottle and vacuum mug from Stanley will pack down together when you’re not using them.
We’re always happy to see items that pack up easier. Besides all the crushable travel shoes we’ve reviewed regularly, we often get overly excited about packable wine kits, folding solar kits, collapsible camping bowls, or packable daypacks. And if you’ve got limited space in your apartment, you don’t want to fill your cabinets with more than you have to.
This Stanley nesting set is a classic vacuum bottle holding 16 ounces and a 40-ounce basic leak-proof, BPA-free water bottle. The water bottle is basically just a receptacle: no drinking spout or other way to get at the liquid without unscrewing it. So this functions better as something to take along camping or wilderness backpacking in dry areas than it does to travel with day to day.
The mug is a different story, rated to keep hot liquids hot for three hours or more and in my tests it did the trick from 7:30 am to lunchtime. There’s a turn mechanism on the top that allows you to drink from it or lock it down for transporting. This looks to be nearly the same as the one-hand vacuum bottle that sells for $30 on its own, so it’s almost like you’re getting the water bottle for free.
If your coffee doesn’t need to stay hot that long, say for a morning commute, there’s a cheaper version for $20.
I’d like to see the 2.0 version be a bit trimmer and more useful on the water bottle front, but for using on camping trips and then packing away afterwards, it’s a good product for a good price.
Do we still make outdoor gear here in the USA? Well, not often it seems, but Liberty Bottle Works is doing their part to prove it can be done. From recycled materials even.
I’ll admit my first use of a made in America Liberty Bottle Works bottle was not to drink water, but beer. At the Outdoor Retailer trade show they were filling up their stainless steel bottles with good beer and giving the money to charity. I liked the whole idea and after I washed it out, I liked the water bottle too.
Most Liberty Bottle Works models have a lid that is removed, but it’s a quick half-twist move to get it off, so it locks in place without lining up threads and screwing it on. (An optional lid has a folding spout.) The commission artists to design them too, so except for the solid Straight Up collection, they’re never boring to look at.
When they sent me one from their new kids’ line though, the look on my daughter’s face was even brighter than mine when I got handed 20 ounces of craft beer. I don’t know if we have Harry Potter to thank for this, but there’s a big owl craze going on now with the kids and my daughter was thrilled to add this to her t-shirt, her earrings, her book cover…you get the idea.
I’m up for anything that makes her remember her water bottle and want to drink from it, especially when we’re traveling in a hot place, so I’m happy she’s happy. It’s a nice size (this one’s 12 ounces, but you can get 16), it’s lined stainless steel, and is BPA-free. You can get it direct from Liberty or through Amazon for $15.
Other ones in this line include No Evil (monkeys), Tunes (skull with headphones), and a drawing from a contest-winning 6-year-old. See the whole kids series here.