The little nalgenes

Home sick, with lots of snot and napping, the last day and a half. Beyond being rather inconvenient for a certain long hike coming next weekend, by now I’m just stir crazy enough to write about water bottles.

Joe addressed this issue about as much as it needs to be last fall, but the all-season utility of the wide-mouth 16 oz nalgene is such that it bears repeating.  There are indeed lighter alternatives.  Above, at left and right we have 2.6 oz and 3.1, while a 500ml platypus is a mere 0.8.  Rigid nalgenes are easier to use, work better for more things, and last longer.  The longevity of flexible, plastic bottles (esp. nalgene canteens) has not impressed me.

I cut off the lid retainer because the weight makes an empty bottle tip over when you’re spooning grounds in for turkish cowboy coffee.  The cord loops are for water fishing in winter: pass them over the handle of your pole, they’ll catch on the powder basket and let you retrieve water out of creeks without getting close to the edge of fragile shelf ice.  I have two because when it’s really cold, stashing two in my jacket pockets seems to be the best way to keep water both handy and thawed.  The lexan one is preferred, weight aside, for beverages because it doesn’t retain flavors.  In the sleeping bag they make great hot water bottles and sock dryers (wring the socks out, put them over the bottles).  And when they do freeze shut you can wail the lid against a rock or ski binding to break them loose.

Just one of the little things which serves so many functions and thus makes life more fun.


5 responses to “The little nalgenes”

  1. This is one of the areas where I’ve added a couple ounces back as well. After using collapsibles for years, the function of these make them worth it. My on-trail water system is now nothing more than one of the Lexan 16 ouncers with a SteriPen inside it. It gives me a crush proof storage case for the SteriPen (letting me leave the case behind – almost erasing the weight penalty over a Platypus) and makes dip-and-drink hydration a quick and simple process. I rarely carry water anymore and never spend time fiddling with hoses, pumps, or trying to fill collapsible bottles that don’t scoop well. A SteriPen Opti fits completely inside and the mouth is wide enough to get it inside easily (unlike most Gatorade type bottles). I like the idea of taking off the retention strap – thanks for the idea. I’ll be doing that today!

  2. And you can’t shake up a frothy mocha frappuccino in a Platypus (Sachet of hot chocolate, sachet of Via, snow, water, shake)

    The lid hack is something I hadn’t thought about and come to think of it the lid does piss me off when I’m trying to fill it or stand the bottle on its own. Cheers Dave.

  3. […] and Dave have a few very valid things to say in favour of hard plastic Nalgene bottles, not least of […]

  4. Thanks for the tip with the string for water collection – might save my but from icy water one day :)

  5. The other positive of the lexan Nalgene is that you don’t end up drinking hormone disrupting BPA’s after using it as a hot water bottle at night. They don’t melt like the old ones either and stay warm till morning….potentially alllowing a lighter sleeping bag and no need to melt snow in morning.

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