The Best Water Bottles

June 18, 2015

  • by
  • Amos Adams

Buying a reusable water bottle is an easy step to “going green.”  A no-brainer, yet U.S. consumption shows otherwise.

Annually, U.S.-purchased bottled water production consumes more oil than 1.3 million cars, more energy than 190,000 homes.  The recommended eight glasses a day? You’re looking at $1,400 in bottled water. From the tap, that’s less than a buck.[1]

Active Junky votes to fill bottles rather than landfills. These top water bottle picks mean pure refreshment from a small, up-front investment. And don’t forget to sign up for Active Junky for exclusive deals and cashback on your gear purchases.

Universal Attributes

Volume: How much does it hold?

Packability: Is it trail appropriate? Heavy and unwieldy?

Durability:  If you drop it, what’s going to happen?  Five years later, will you still have it?

Ease of Use:  Straws allow for tilt-less sipping.  Smaller openings minimize spillage.  Larger openings accommodate ice and are easier to clean.

Versatility:  What can you carry in it?  Is it multipurpose?

Best Plastic Water Bottles

The BPA scare turned thousands away from plastic water bottles. Next generation, BPA-free plastics provide chemically-safe, durable options.

GSI Infinity DukJug – 1 Liter

Gsi infinity duk jub004 GSI Infinity DukJug – 1 Liter Starting at: $11.48

Two meters of duct tape serves a million uses in a pinch and stores neatly on the DukJug.  Slip in the Sip-It insert for spill-free sipping, then remove it for easy cleaning. Call it the best of both (or all) worlds.

Best For: Backpacking and Camping

Key Attribute: Versatility

CamelBak Groove Filter Bottle – 20oz

Camelbak groove filter bottle001 CamelBak Groove Filter Bottle – 20oz Starting at: $12.76

CamelBak’s easy-drinking bite valve now includes a filter built into the straw.  This won’t filter out bacteria, but greatly improves the taste of potable tap water.

Best For: Metropolitan Hydration

Key Attribute: Versatility

Best Metal Water Bottles

Stainless steel water bottles are durable, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic.  As with other metal containers, these picks employ high-quality materials to prevent clingy tastes.

Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle – 32oz

Hydroflask vacuum bottle 32 001 Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle – 32oz $35.16 - $37.16

The Award-Winning Hydro Flask incorporates vacuum-sealed, food-grade stainless steel double walls; flavors don’t linger while liquids hold temp for hours. Breweries love them, slapping custom logos on the sides to replace standard glass growlers with 64oz. Hydro Flasks.

Bonus: Hydro Flask donates 5% of your purchase to a charity of your choice.

Best For: Multi-purpose use at home or away

Key Attribute: Durability

Klean Kanteen “The Original” Classic – 40oz

Klean kanteen original 005 Klean Kanteen “The Original” Classic – 40 oz $26.93 - $27.51

Buy the unpainted, brushed steel option for a no-nonsense water bottle that does it all.  Heat water or employ it as an emergency reflector. Its opening is wide enough to accommodate ice cubes, small enough to prevent spillage.

Best For:  Everything from camping to class

Key Attribute: Volume

Best Collapsible Water Bottles

Empty, these flexible options take up minimal pack space.  Between trips, only minimal real estate is required.

Hydrapak Stash – 25oz

Hydrapack 1 Hydrapak Stash – 25oz $12.52 - $15.80

We were skeptical of the Stash’s durability at first.  After many trips stuffed in and lashed to our testers’ packs, it’s still chugging along and we’re still glugging from it.   Collapsed to 2”, it fits comfortably in your pocket; a No-Leak lifetime guarantee provides peace of mind. A favorite piece of gear that now travels with us wherever, whenever – no matter the season or sport.

Best For: Ounce-counters, crammed packs

Key Attribute: Packability

Platypus Platy Bottle, 2 Liters

Platypus platy bottle Platypus Platy Bottle 2L $11.40 - $12.05

Perfect for an extra two liters on the trail or reassurance at basecamp, the Platy weighs a fraction of traditional bottles.  This flat-packer connects to the GravityWorks filter for hands-free water purification.

Best For: Ounce-counters, base-camp back-ups.

Key Attribute: Packability

Best Glass Water Bottles

The gourmet, chemical-free feel of glassware is now available in the backcountry, as silicone wrapping adds an extra measure of impact protection.

Lifefactory 22oz. Glass Bottle

Lifefactory 22oz carbonstrawside lg matte 392 500 matte 392 500 Lifefactory 22oz. Glass Bottle Starting at: $15.44

Lively elegance meets minimalist function. Carry juice one day and water the next, with no left over taste.  Choose from three cap options for this take-anywhere glassware:

  • the straw cap for one-handed upright drinking
  • the flip cap for easy, no spill convenience
  • the classic cap

The simplest of the three, Active Junky favors the classic cap as a complement to the unmodified taste that glass offers.

Best For: Office hydration, yoga-mat color coordination.

Key Attributes: Versatility

Avex Clarity Glass Water Bottle - 20oz

Avex clarity bottle001 Avex Clarity Glass Water Bottle - 20oz Starting at: $20.64

All-glass, silicon-wrapped and complete with a stainless steel cap.  It’s not light, but Clarity’s two-finger carrying loop feels good in your hands while plastic-free water delights your taste buds.  Take note: the lack of a cap leash makes caps easy to misplace.

Best For: Plastic-free H2O. Urban pursuits

Key Attributes: Ease of Use


[1] Facts from Ban The Bottle

Share this Article

Products Featured in this Article