OK, I admit it, I’m a water snob. And yes, water does taste different depending on where you’re drinking it and what you’re drinking it out of, and I’d argue that point until all the beer’s gone and the campfire’s gone out.
Ideally I like to use mineral water – “bottled at source” if you don’t mind – for ablution and ingestion requirements when out and about, especially at the more basic campsites. Whereas The Boyfriend usually fills his massive (and I’m sure very heavy) water container from a stand pipe; walking back over the field calling out ‘there’s plenty to drink in this container’. I just roll my eyes and open a bottle of Evian to clean my teeth.
But recently I’ve been getting ever-louder disapproving ‘tuts’ from friends, suggesting that water in plastic bottles is a very, very naughty purchase these days and I’m not eco-aware. It must have had a subconscious effect because I realised recently I actually have a growing and very well-used collection of water bottles by the kitchen sink.
The daily washing, filling and carrying around for all-purposes has also become a bit of a ritual, and I’ve begun to have my favourites for different tasks.
So, here’s my thoughts to help the bottle searchers amongst you in your quest for the perfect hydration helper:
This is a world-known brand and pretty iconic design of bottle. It’s been around for ages, and probably got a good share of the market.
It’s a bombproof steel bottle which can take years of abuse without failure. It used to be my favourite bottle because of the colour (I’m female, what can I say). It’s now battered and bruised and showing its age, but never failed.
It holds loads (1-litre). However, it has a few design flaws which mean it’s never my first choice in the morning: I cant easily take the top off when I’m driving in the car [Ed – drinking and driving?] and because it has a really small lid it’s a bugger to refill outdoors.
The design of its lid is quite clever. You can stick a carabiner through the lid to carry the Sigg on a carabiner… but since it weighs 1.1kg when full I’d probably stick it in a bag to stop it turning into a pendulum of doom.
And lastly, since it has a small neck, it’s an absolute nightmare to clean – you can’t see into the bottle to wave at the nice collection of bacteria having a party at the bottom.
Due to the clever nozzle on the Kleen Kanteern bottle, it’s much nicer to sip from than the SIGG, but I can’t give them the thumbs up because they don’t mention in any of their literature that when you suck on the spout to drink it makes a loud gurgling noise! That’s OK for camping or outdoor sports, but NOT OK for a yoga class or while on a skype call at work! That took some explaining…
Because of the complex lid, the Kleen Kanteen weighs almost double (225g) what the SIGG weighs (125g), and yet it holds less – just 800ml of water. If you’re extremely weight sensitive that could be a factor. For me though, it isn’t.
The lid features a carabiner hook which also doubles as a handy receptacle for a wooden-spoon lever for when your very manly boyfriend seals the top on with the same force required to undo one of those waterproof doors on a submarine. And a wider neck allows you to easily plunge a bottle-cleaning brush into the Kleen Kanteen, unlike the SIGG.
I’m afraid that, despite its styling and ease of use, this bottle is resigned to journeys in the car to stop people looking at me like I’m talking Dolphin.
Aladdin – Revive & Refresh
My firm favourite of the three is the new Aladdin Revive & Refresh (do you remember Aladdin made the flasks in my 70’s packed lunch box?).
It’s see through, which means I know how much I have left, and it’s easy to clean, which is a bonus.
It has a flip-up lid which keeps the drinking surfaces clean and free of mud, and the drinking section fits over my mouth really well with no spills when moving around.
The Aladdin is plastic, unlike the other two on test, which means that it won’t last as long or survive as many careless backpack crashes… but it is tough. It’s sold as dishwasher safe and BPA-free (nasty chemicals that leach into your water).
This is the bottle I use for desk/daytime and for drinking when walking around town.
I’d give it full-marks, but for one design fault: The lid comes off in order to clean and fill the Aladdin. It’s on a clever(?) plastic retaining strap, which means that if the bottle is nearly empty, its weight is off centre, and it falls over. That can get annoying!