Product Review: 5 Top Travel Water Bottles Square Off

Apr 21, 2018

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“Don’t forget to hydrate!”

You probably get this unsolicited advice from well-meaning and health-conscious friends and, probably, your mom every once in awhile. But actually remembering to drink enough water while traveling — especially mid-flight — is crucial for staving off jet lag and preventing your face from cracking like the Sahara.

We rounded up five of the most unique water bottles on the market and chugged them around the city. Here’s what happened.

1. The Tritan Square by Clean Bottle

Do you like right angles? Good, because here’s the rare square bottle. The design is created supposedly so the bottle won’t go rolling if you drop it at the gym but honestly, if you drop anything on the gym floor, aren’t you better off burning it to ashes? The 25-ounce/0.75-liter bottle is BPA-free, dishwasher safe and comes in seven non-obnoxious colors. It also has a lifetime guarantee.

Pros: This bottle has *gasp* a removable bottom. Because even though you may try to clean your water bottle, how clean can that dark abyss really get? This thing actually does. (People seem to like using it for smoothies.) Also, the top screws on with a quick half-turn — yet doesn’t leak a drop — making me realize how much time I’ve wasted screwing on other bottle tops (hours, hours of my life!).

Cons: The big ol’ handle is good for hauling this thing around, but makes the bottle itself quite tall, so maybe look elsewhere if you’re trying to shove this into a tiny bag. 

Verdict: Sleek, simple, utilitarian and would fit well in a seat-back pocket.

Buy: Amazon, $15

2. Hydro Flask Standard Mouth

You’ve probably seen these little guys around. The happy logo is hard to miss. There are a gajillion Hydro Flask sizes, but the 21-ounce standard mouth bottle is a good daily use or travel option. Double-walled, vacuum insulated and constructed from BPA-free plastics, the base is made of 18/8 stainless steel and comes in 11 colors, including the new Olive, Flamingo and Blueberry (what a mouthful). It claims to keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to six hours. 

Pros: The outside is “powder-coated” which means: no bottle sweat. Music to my ears since dripping bottles have ruined many a paperback novel in my bag. There’s also an optional insulated sport cap if that’s your deal. But seriously, this thing keeps water cold forever.

Cons: Hand-wash only, easy to clean only if you’ve got a bottle brush, and it’s a bit on the heavy side when completely full.

Verdict: A serious bottle for serious hydration addicts.

Buy: Amazon, $33

3. Vapur Wide Mouth

Are you a rebel? Then you might be drawn to this “anti-bottle,” which resembles a normal water bottle only in that it also holds water. Completely collapsible and foldable when empty — it literally flattens to nothing — the Vapur is 23 ounces/0.7 liters, dishwasher-safe, BPA-free and can be frozen into a solid little ice pack. A nice carabiner allows it to be clipped on anywhere.

Pros: Super cheap. Made in the US and it only weighs 1 ounce!

Cons: Stands up on its own when full, but drinking from it reminded me a little of sucking down Capri Suns as a kid. The plastic sides are a little rough around the edges.

Verdict: Especially great for outdoor activities — or if your carry-on is perpetually overloaded and you don’t want to waste space. Or, if you want people to ask you where you got that cool bag you’re drinking from.

Buy: Amazon, $12

4. Hydaway Bottle

The Hydaway is a bit of a hybrid — collapsible yet solid, and made of silicone, not plastic. Holding 21 ounces, it performs a bit of a magic trick, squishing down to about 1.25 inches high, and weighing six ounces. It comes in eight colors and has a flip-up straw and carabiner-friendly handle. Also, it’s BPA-free (I mean, aren’t they all at this point?) and dishwasher-safe.

Pros: Very travel-friendly, especially with the additional travel case, which keeps things sanitary. The silicone doesn’t sweat and feels very sturdy, yet only weighs 6 ounces.

Cons: The kinda strange and squatty UFO shape makes this a tricky fit in certain backpacks when full — so best to drink it down and squish it while traveling. The flip cap is handy but only if you, um, like sucking.

Verdict: Good for minimalist travelers for whom space is at a premium.

Buy: Amazon, $22

5. Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle

Finally, here we have another smooshable option that combines silicone and plastic parts, so there’s no worry if you accidentally drop it from your treadmill or while walking the jet bridge. It holds 25 ounces/740 ml, weighs 7.2 ounces and comes in 11 colors — and also features a lifetime guarantee. 

Pros: Flexible silicone won’t get nicked or scratched. A cap with cover means you won’t be grossed out putting your mouth on it after the bottle rolls around the bottom of your backpack for days. This one looks cool but not attention-grabbing and is nice not to have another super-rigid item in your travel bag. Also handles hot liquids well.

Cons: Rolling it up is a two-handed operation; it took a few tries for it to fully collapse.

Verdict: Good options for hiking or backpacking — or navigating cold, harsh city life. Also slim enough to carry while out on a run.

Buy: Amazon, $22

Bottom Line

With so many bottle options now on the market, there’s no excuse for not getting in your requisite 64 ounces per day. Try out ones that seem like they’d work for you, and drink up.

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