by Diane Spicer
Hiking water bottles: when did it all get so complicated?
I logged onto an outdoor gear website recently, and just for fun, typed in the innocent words "water bottle".
I have to admit, I'm puzzled.
The basic issue here is simply hydration for the trillions of cells in your hard working hiking body.
So why so much fuss over how to get water from a containment unit called a bottle, to your lips??
Let's take a look at some of the hidden issues in choosing the best hiking water bottle for your hiking style.
Plastic water bottles have been around for a long time.
In fact, as demonstrated by my small Internet search above, there are plastic water bottles galore.
However, you want them to be free of a chemical called bisphenol (BPA).
Why is BPA free important? That link explains.
Long story short: Current research suggests it can cause a lot of trouble.
So go BPA-free with your water bottles. It's not hard to do with reputable brands.
Plastic water bottles used on a hiking trail were the only choice when I began hiking several decades ago. (true story)
When shopping for lightweight plastic water bottles these days, you have options beyond bottles.
Hiking water bottles are also made of stainless steel or aluminum, either single wall or double walled for insulation.
All of which begs the question:
Which are the best hiking water bottles?
Best for what?
And for whom?
It depends upon the hiker, no surprise there.
But I'll put in my 2 cents worth here, and welcome any debate on the matter.
I carry stainless steel bottles, and I don't begrudge the slightly heavier but sturdier (compared with plastic) design.
Why did I switch from my Nalgene plastic bottles?
They were over 2 decades old, scratched and battered.
And when I read about the BPA scare, that motivated me to make the switch.
So after a little research, I bought some metal bottles, and have not regretted my decision.
Check them out here:
Here's the newest kid on the block: Hydro Flasks.
These bottles have some advantages over the Kleen Kanteens, while sharing many of their strengths for hiking hydration.
Specifically, they are double walled, so there's no condensation when temperature extremes occur in one day.
And they come in some mighty attractive colors!
Check them out here.
And note that you can use the larger ones for car camping.
For specifics, read these Hiking For Her Hydro Flask reviews:
Frankly, plastic spooks me.
We are exposed to so much of it, in our living environment, our food supply, our health care. Time for a break!
Stainless steel is inert, it's durable, and it's standing up to all of the punishment I throw at it on the trail.
ot I'm not going back to copolyester, polyethylene, polypropylene - unless there's a good reason to do so.
Not to be too basic, but be sure the water you're drinking is safe before you fill up your hiking water bottles!
UPDATE: I'm an old fashioned girl, but I've made room for powdered electrolytes in my hiking water recently.
They are non-reactive with both my plastic and metal bottles, and not only replace the ions I'm losing in sweat (sodium, etc.) but they taste great, too.
I'd love to hear what you carry on your hikes, and why.
And what's in your water transport devices?
Maybe water bottles are not your cup of tea (or choice for water transport).
Instead, you could check out hiking hydration backpacks.
Best Hiking Water Bottles
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She’s been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for nearly five decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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