Why I Ditched Nalgene for Steel Water Bottles

August 23, 2014 by | 2 Comments

I used to be a die-hard fan of Nalgene bottles. As a Marine, I started using them in place of my canteens while deployed in extreme cold weather because they were just as tough, but the wide mouth made it easy to break ice that formed at the top and get to the water below.

They had other advantages over our standard issue canteens, too: they contain fewer harmful chemicals compared to other plastic containers, the wide mouth made them easy to clean, they didn’t absorb odors or flavors, and since they’re clear, you can tell exactly how full they are.

Then I came across an article about veterans suffering from health problems linked to the use of CamelBak hydration systems and decided to get away from plastic water bottles entirely.

Steel is the only real choice for the outdoors, especially for those of us with an active lifestyle. I was able to find steel water bottles with the same capacity as my old Nalgene bottles (32oz) that were well-constructed, but I had a hard time finding any with the wide mouth that I was so fond of. Eventually, I stumbled across wide mouth steel bottles made by Klean Kanteen over at Backcountry.

There are a few reasons I ditched Nalgene for steel water bottles:

  • The don’t contain harmful chemicals.
  • They’re damn-near impossible to break.
  • You can boil water directly in them.
  • You can use them as a signaling device.

Aside from a wide mouth, the only other important criteria is to avoid bottles with paint or coatings because they will come off if you heat the bottle.

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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  • Kevin Harris says:

    I fully agree about steel bottles… but make sure they’re steel and not aluminum. Aluminum bottles usually have an inner lining of some kind of nylon or similar material that, if the bottle gets dented, can release bad chemicals into your water and also can stop protecting the raw metal once a dent happens. So stick with high quality stainless steel (cheap stainless will rust quickly).

    • Jeremy Knauff says:

      You are correct, Kevin, but aluminum is horrible even if it doesn’t get dented. In fact, it’s so bad that the sale of aluminum cookware is prohibited in Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain Switzerland, Hungary and Brazil.

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