Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Search For The Perfect Water Bottle

Finally, a much needed restful day at home.  After our walk along the greenway this morning, we’ve both been catching up on odd and end things around the house.

A project Gene has been working on for several weeks is the search for the perfect water bottle.  Our hiking requires that we take along water and, surprisingly, not just any bottle will do.  When we backpack, we chemically treat or filter spring or creek water.  Although we don’t backpack much, the special requirements for water collection, treatment, and storage is driving this search.  Even though we’ll be using these bottles primarily for day hiking, in our small home we don’t have the luxury of having a collection of bottles for backpacking and day hiking.  Gone forever is that basement room for gear storage.  Besides, a long day hike may require the gathering of “wild” water.

For years, we have used Aquafina, 1 liter, widemouth bottles and we were so happy.  The bottle was made of fairly durable plastic, but was still lightweight.  It wasn’t too tall nor too fat.  The wide mouth made it easy to filter water into or to add chemicals.  It was perfect.  However, Aquafina has stopped making that bottle.  We have used the ones we had until they are embarrassing to take out in public.  So, the search was on.

At REI or any store that sells outdoor gear, there is always a large selection of water bottles.  We used Nalgene bottles for years.  They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors now and they’ll almost last forever.  But they’re heavy and one of the main objectives is a light pack.  None in the huge Nalgene selection at REI would do.

Aquafina has changed it’s one liter bottle design and is now almost identical to all the one liter Coca-Cola products.  The plastic is thinner, which equals lighter, but it’s almost too thin.  It won’t hold up to the rigors of trail use.  Besides, it now has a narrow mouth which is problematic when filtering or treating water.  It’s also very difficult to collect creek or spring water with a narrow mouthed bottle.

Many hikers like Gatorade bottles and Gene has used those in the past.  They have a wide mouth and are made of sturdy plastic, but the bottle is wide--almost too wide for me to get a good grip on.  They are also too wide to fit in the side pocket of my pack.  Gene can use them, but I can’t.

Also popular among hikers as well as bicyclists are the water bladders like Camel Back and Platypus.  I use Platypus when backpacking because it’s lighter.  They come in various sizes and both wide and narrow mouths.  I used to get in-line filters which I spliced into the drinking tube.  Because of that, I always got the narrow mouth type.  Those filters are no longer made, but I still like my narrow mouth platypus.  Because the tube is right there on my shoulder strap, I don’t have to stop to get a water bottle out of the pack.  Thus, I drink more water.  That’s a good thing.  For short day hikes, I’ll probably use my Platypus.  But Gene doesn’t like the water bladders, so the search is still on.

We searched through the almost endless selection of bottled products at the grocery store.  The first one we tried was a water product--Smart Water.  Even though it had a small mouth, the plastic was sturdy and it had a tall, narrow shape which made it easy for me to hold.  I don’t know if the water was smart or not, but it turned out to be too tall for both our side pockets.

The next bottle selected was a Perrier bottle.  It was great fun pulling out that bottle on the trail, but that long neck wasn’t very practical.

Back at the store we found Ion drink bottles.  It’s a sports drink like Gatorade and it comes in a similar size bottle.  However, the sides are shaped for easy grip.  I like that.  It has a wide mouth, isn’t too tall, and is made of sturdy plastic.  By George, I think we found our bottle.  Whew, glad that’s over.

That little squirrel in yesterday’s photo was back again today.  The pumpkins are on the neighbor’s picnic table.  The squirrel’s gonna have them eaten before the jack-o-lantern is carved.

That’s it for now.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. That's why I like your blog. I can learn about solutions to problems I didn't even know existed!

  2. Wow...Never thought about the ins and outs of water bottles. Glad you found the one that is the best fit for you. Good information to have!

  3. quite informative water bottle blog!..there is always the vitamin water bottles..wide mouth bottle..they could work too!