Why should I buy a reusable hiking water bottle?
Most serious hikers own at least one reusable bottle. There are three major reasons to buy one:
- They’re better for the environment. Single-use plastic bottles often find their way into rivers, oceans, and other natural environments. And even if they are recycled (which they’re usually not), the process of recycling uses precious energy. But reusable water bottles are refillable!
- You’ll save money. If you aren’t buying single-use plastic bottles over and over again, you could save lots of cash.
- They are rugged, durable, and reliable!
Reusable bottles are also very versatile – you can use them for hiking and trekking, but you can also use them day-to-day and as a gym bottle or sports bottle. And for many different drinks!
In this article, we take you through all the different options that the best hiking water bottles can offer, from mouth size and materials all the way through to purification systems.
We’ve also compiled a list of some of the best reusable water bottles on the market, along with a pros and cons list of each. Whether you’re looking for your first-ever reusable water bottle or an upgrade on what you’ve already got, we have you covered.
Table of Contents
- 1 Hiking Water Bottle Reviews
- 1.1 Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 32oz
- 1.2 Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic 32oz Flask
- 1.3 CamelBak Chute Vacuum 20oz
- 1.4 Fifty/Fifty Wide Mouth
- 1.5 S’ip by S’well 16oz
- 1.6 YETI Rambler 36oz
- 1.7 Thermo Flask 40oz
- 1.8 LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
- 1.9 Sawyer Products 34oz Filter Bottle
- 1.10 Takeya Originals Insulated 40oz Bottle
- 2 Hiking Water Bottle Buying Guide
- 2.1 Which Materials Can I Choose From?
- 2.2 Let’s Take a Quick Detour – Are Stainless Steel Water Bottles Safe?
- 2.3 Insulated vs. Non-Insulated Water Bottles
- 2.4 Bottles With Built-in Filters and Purifiers
- 2.5 Hard-Sided Bottles vs. Soft-Sided Bottles
- 2.6 Mouth Opening: Narrow, Standard and Wide
- 2.7 Sippers and Straws
- 2.8 What About Hiking With a Water Reservoir?
- 2.9 Do Reusable Water Bottles Have Any Downsides?
Hiking Water Bottle Reviews
Now that you know the ins and outs of reusable water bottles, let’s take a look at our top ten picks.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 32oz
This one is insulated and relatively lightweight, compared to other insulated bottles. The technology eliminates condensation, which means that the bottle doesn’t get slippery, or dampen other things in your backpack.
It comes with a screw lid that has a handle, but Hydro Flask offers alternative lids if you’d rather use something else. It’s made from stainless steel and has a wide mouth. A very affordable brand might be Simple Modern compared to Hydro Flask.
- You can use different lids
- Relatively lightweight – so this is a good option if pack weight is a concern
- A little pricey compared to some other bottles
Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic 32oz Flask
Another insulated option, this is slightly more affordable than the Hydro Flask bottle above. It has a screw cap with a loop, so you can attach it to your belt or backpack with a carabiner if you wish. Read klean kanteen vs hydro flask review.
The mouth opening is on the narrow side of normal, which makes it easy to drink from and fill, but a little more difficult to clean. It’s very well insulated and performs equally to any other double-wall insulated model. Again, it’s crafted from stainless steel.
- Can get a little slippery due to condensation
CamelBak Chute Vacuum 20oz
Again, this one offers vacuum insulation and is made from stainless steel. It has a nice lid that secures over the protruding mouth opening. The lid can be attached to the handle, so it doesn’t flap around while you’re drinking.
The surface of the bottle is covered with an anti-slip grip to combat wetness and sweat. The bottle also has a wide opening for filling and cleaning – and you could also drink from this opening if you wish. You can attach this bottle to your bag or belt via a carabiner.
- Good functional cap
- Easy to fill
- Easy to drink from
- Crafted from slip-free material
- The lowest-volume entry on this list so far
Fifty/Fifty Wide Mouth
This comes in two size options: 18oz and 40oz. It has a convenient carry cap designed for three fingers, so it’s comfortable to carry. It’s durable and doesn’t scratch easily and the screw lid is good for preventing leaks.
It’s made from stainless steel, is well insulated and has a wide mouth.
- Easy to carry
- Doesn’t leak
- The 18oz size option might be too small for long hikes
S’ip by S’well 16oz
The designs on this one are really unique and attractive, which you’ll like a lot if you’re interested in aesthetics. This one is made of stainless steel, it has a special leak-free lid and it’s effectively insulated. It has a narrow mouth with a flip lid, but this lid can sometimes get in the way a little while drinking. The top unscrews to allow for refilling – or for taking bigger gulps. Because of its size and style, this could be a good option for younger hikers!
Related: Hydro Flask vs S’well
- Attractive designs, with lots of choices
- Protects against spills
- The good aesthetic choice for younger hikers (and adults who like nice quirky designs!)
- Smaller than some hikers might like
- It rusts quite quickly, which is unusual for bottles of this type
YETI Rambler 36oz
Again, this one is insulated and built with stainless steel. It’s 36oz, making it a bigger bottle than most others on this list. It has quite a largemouth, and the cap is good for clipping onto backpacks and belts. The cap is leakproof, and the durable outer coat is really built to defend against scratches and scrapes. If you want a seriously durable model, this is a great option.
Related: Yeti vs Hydro Flask
- Very durable, so you can take it on the harshest of hikes – or give it to the clumsiest of hikers
- Won’t leak
- One of the bigger options on this list
- Doesn’t insulate as effectively as similar models
- Much pricier than some others on this list
Thermo Flask 40oz
Made from stainless steel. For its size, this is a very affordable option. The bottle has a very good grip, making it great for sweaty walks, and it’s very durable. The drinking spout is narrow, with a lid to cover it. But the bottle can also open into a bigger mouth for refilling. The main lid is made from grippy silicone, so it’s easy to open, even with wet hands. It has a convenient carry handle.
Related: Thermo Flask vs Hydro Flask
- Great price point
- Easy to fill and drink from – with separate openings for each function
- Good carry handle
- Easy to open and wash
- Big, which is great for long hikes
- Leaks more often than other models on this list
- Sometimes can get slippery because of condensation
LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle
The first entry on this list with an in-built water filter, this model has a filtration straw inside the bottle. It removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria along with 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. It’s important to be aware that this removes bacteria, but it won’t remove viruses. But that’s the same for all other filter bottles. (Read the complete water filters reviews)
The filter doesn’t leave much of a chlorinated taste behind. This one is 23oz, it’s leakproof and is made of strong BPA plastic. It’s easy to refill and drink from as it’s a wide mouth bottle with a straw in the lid. You drink from a small pop-up mouthpiece.
- It has a built-in filter, which is fantastic for hiking in conditions where there won’t necessarily be easy access to drinking water
- The filter can clean up to 4000 liters of water.
- Durable for a plastic bottle
- It’s easy to refill
- It occasionally leaks
- Not insulated like most other bottles on this list
Sawyer Products 34oz Filter Bottle
Our second entry with a built-in filter, this one again has a straw for drinking through. This straw offers excellent filtration – it removes 99.99999% of all waterborne bacteria and 99.9999% of all waterborne protozoan parasites. Again, it’s important to note that this bottle doesn’t eliminate viruses.
The bottle comes with two replacement straws and the water flows quickly out of the straw for speedy hydration. The bottle is crafted from plastic. It’s a little awkward to clean, as you need to use a cleaning plunger, but it’s not too difficult.
- The filter, according to the manufacturer, can last up to 400,000 liters.
- Good price point
- An excellent option for when you can’t guarantee that you’ll have drinking water
- Easy to refill
- Not particularly durable
- Harder to clean than most other bottles on this list
Takeya Originals Insulated 40oz Bottle
Our final entry on this list is another well-insulated stainless steel bottle. It offers great insulation and it looks attractive. The leak proof spout is great for quick drinking, and the lid snaps into place, so it doesn’t hit you while you sip. The bottle has a wide loop handle to make carrying easy, and refilling and cleaning are quick and easy with the bottle’s wide mouth. The bottle is coated with powder for great durability. Read the review on Takeya vs Hydro Flask.
- Very durable
- Doesn’t sweat
- Good price point
- Sometimes sweats a little
- Prone to rust
Hiking Water Bottle Buying Guide
There you have it! The ten best water bottles for hiking. Whatever type of hike you’re embarking on, and whatever type of bottle you need, one from this list will be perfect. Whether it’s a water bottle for traveling, short hikes or long treks, we’ve got you sorted. The photo above is was taking while we were hiking the Rockies in Canada.
Which Materials Can I Choose From?
Your three options are plastic, stainless steel and glass:
- Plastic: these are the most common, and usually the most affordable. Good ones are all BPA-free (all of the plastic ones on this list are exactly that), so they’re better for humans and for the environment. On the downside, they’re not insulated – and they can develop a strange plastic smell over time.
- Stainless steel: these have become much more popular in recent years. They can sometimes have a slightly metallic taste, but other than that, they’re great. They are typically easy cleaning and very hard to damage or break, so they should all pass the drop test! Insulated bottles are typically made of stainless steel. Check out Oxo Good Grips Water Bottle Cleaning Set
- Glass: much less common than stainless steel and plastic. They leave no aftertaste, but they’re rarely durable.
Let’s Take a Quick Detour – Are Stainless Steel Water Bottles Safe?
Yes. They’re 100% safe and non-toxic.
The confusion arises here because some metal bottles aren’t made of stainless steel. And some of these non-steel bottles aren’t safe. Bottles made from aluminum, for example, have been linked to some health problems.
But stainless steel water bottles are always absolutely safe.
Insulated vs. Non-Insulated Water Bottles
Insulated water bottles allow you to keep your cool water cool and your hot water hot, much like a flask.
Top-quality insulated bottles typically keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 6 hours, so they can be a very useful addition to your hiking gear. If you want to avoid room temperature water, insulated bottles can do just that.
But you should consider your priorities: good insulated bottles can be quite heavy – and they can cost 3 or 4 times more than non-insulated bottles. But if budget isn’t a concern, and your hikes a short, neither of these things might matter.
Bottles With Built-in Filters and Purifiers
We’re all familiar with water purifying tablets. And they are very helpful. But they’re no longer necessary under certain conditions. Many water bottles now have built-in filters and purifiers. These typically work via the integration of a filter into the bottle cap or bottle straw.
Filter bottles eliminate the vast, vast majority of bacteria, while purifiers eliminate both bacteria and viruses. What will work best for you depends upon where you’re going – and the type of water you’ll be drinking from.
If you’re going to hike in areas where there won’t be a water fountain, or where clean drinking water source can’t be guaranteed, a filter or purifier is essential – water treatment on-the-go can literally be a lifesaver.
Hard-Sided Bottles vs. Soft-Sided Bottles
Most people prefer hard-sided bottles because they’re more durable and reliable. Hard-sided bottles also fit neatly and easily into backpack bottle compartments, side pockets, and drinks holders.
That said, soft-sided bottles can be very useful. They have a very small pack weight and a very small pack size. If you need to make the most of the space in your backpack, a squashable water bottle can be a very useful tool. Likewise, if weight is of high importance, a soft-sided ultralight bottle is the best investment.
Mouth Opening: Narrow, Standard and Wide
When choosing a bottle, you can pick between three different mouth sizes. These sizes refer to the diameter of the bottle when the lid is removed (not the size of your mouth!):
- Narrow: these are good for drinking from as you walk, as they won’t spill over you. However, they can be hard to fill and hard to clean. And if you want to put ice cubes in your bottle, this probably won’t be an option here.
- Wide: these are the easiest to fill and by far the easiest to clean. They’re helpful if you want to put ice cubes in your bottle or if you’re pouring from something without a spout. But they’re not perfect: it’s easy to spill from a wide-mouthed bottle… and if you try drinking from one while you’re walking, you’ll just pour the liquid over yourself.
- Standard: if neither wide or narrow mouth sizes sound good, then you should probably go for standard!
Sippers and Straws
Most of the Best Hiking Water Bottles simply have an opening to drink from. But bottles with sippers and straws are becoming more popular and more commonplace.
Sippers and straws make it easier to drink while on the move and can help to reduce spillages. They also often come with nice designs, which might be appealing to people who like gadgets and gizmos.
But bottles with sippers and straws are often heavier than those without, and they can be very hard to clean. If your priority is easily keeping your bottle clean, don’t go for one with a sipper or straw.
What About Hiking With a Water Reservoir?
Water reservoirs are a fairly common alternative to actual bottles, an alternative is a collapsible water bottle. These water reservoirs (or hydration bladders like Osprey vs CamelBak) consist of a pouch with a straw and bite valve. Hikers drink from the pouch by slurping on the straw while biting the valve. Read the review on the best hydration bladder.
The pouch is typically attached to your backpack shoulder straps.
This makes for quick, simple drinking at all times, with no spillages. They also help with weight distribution, as they’re typically placed in the center of your backpack. For tricky routes where you want to use both hands at all times, water reservoirs can also be a great option.
But they’re not perfect. They can occasionally leak, leading to a wet pack and wet clothes. They’re less reliable than a bottle and break more easily.
Water reservoirs are also often buried deep inside your pack, so they’re not easy to refill.
Water reservoirs are fantastic for some hikes, but a bottle is usually sufficient. And even if you do opt for a pack, you should always carry a bottle too, in case of leakages… which often renders your water reservoir obsolete. Read a review of the best water purifiers Grayl vs Lifestraw.
Do Reusable Water Bottles Have Any Downsides?
They have very few. Yes, they can be heavy, they typically aren’t recyclable, and they can occasionally leak, but none of these reasons make single-use bottles a better alternative.