Nalgene Vs. Steel Water Bottles

December 18, 2013 by | Be the first to comment »

Hydration is the key to survival so a high quality water bottle is a must—whether you are hiking through isolated mountain trails or just jogging in your own neighborhood.

The two most popular types are steel water bottles and Nalgene water bottles, each of which have come a long way from the standard G.I. canteens.

Both types come in several sizes, colors, and configurations to meet nearly any need, so you just need to know the situations you’ll likely face, and the basic pros and cons of each type of bottle before deciding which is ideal for your personal needs.

Nalgene Water Bottles

Nalgene is a brand name for BPA free plastic water bottles that are made in the United States. One of the main reasons that this brand is popular with outdoors enthusiasts is that the bottle is lightweight and it is easy to see how much is in the bottle at any time. The plastic is very durable and is about the same price as some aluminum water bottles. Nalgene bottles are available with sports tops, sippy tops for children, and standard screw-off tops. Typically, the screw-off top is connected to the bottle so that it doesn’t become lost easily.

A downside is that in extreme cold weather, a full Nalgene bottle may burst if the water freezes. I typically fill mine about 3/4 full to prevent this, and carry them upside down to prevent the threads from freezing.

Steel Water Bottles

Steel water bottles are also a very durable and affordable option. Stainless steel can withstand even severe bumps and dings without damage, but dents are possible. Many people prefer a steel bottle because plastic can retain scents or become stained after long-term use. Some stainless steel bottles are lined with a BPA containing substance, however, so make sure to opt for a BPA free brand to ensure your drinks are free from this toxic material. One complaint from some users of stainless steel bottles is that they create a metallic taste in some drinks. One significant advantage is that you can purify water by boiling it directly in a steel bottle, and if your model has a shiny surface, it can be used as a makeshift signal mirror.

Stainless steel water bottles, like Nalgene bottles, are available with sports tops, sippy tops for children, and standard screw-off tops, but sometimes the latter won’t be permanently attached to the bottle. A simple work-around it to attach it with a short piece of paracord.

Comparing Your Options

Stainless steel is often longer lasting than plastic, but most plastics can easily be recycled. Both types of water bottles offer you the ability to replace lost lids without purchasing an entirely new bottle. You may find that your personal preferences are the most important consideration when choosing between a Nalgene and steel water bottle, as both are great options. One more thing to consider—with either type, if you expect to experience extreme cold weather, you should choose a wide-mouth version because it allows you to break up any ice that forms at the mouth of 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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