There has been a big controversy the past couple of years about water bottles. It is wasteful to use single use plastic water bottles. To remedy the problem of excess garbage (since only about 23% of the drink bottles used each year are recycled) many people began using reusable containers such as Nalgene and SIGG bottles. It later came out that these bottles released the chemical BPA into the water. Even aluminum bottles leeched aluminum into the water. It seemed like there was no safe solution.
Having read a lot about what to look for in a reusable bottle, we began searching for the best solution. While shopping at T.J. MAXX Jessica and I stumbled on a large variety of steel and aluminum bottles. One brand of bottle seemed to have gotten everything right. The ones we chose were Nathan Human Propulsion Laboratories 700ml steel bottles.
The first thing we noticed about these bottles was the plastic lid and silicon mouthpiece. This is good because they can be used easily in the car without having to tilt your head back or block your view of the road (that’s why fast food drinks have straws.) Also, the lid prevented anything from spilling. When the mouthpiece is closed, it seals off the straw so it won’t leak.
The bottle was designed with the outdoors in mind. There is a ridge around the base that makes this bottle fit VERY tightly and securely in a metal bottle holder on a bike. Using it this way WILL scratch the paint off the outside, but the bottle will stay put, even for black diamond mountain biking trails. Even if the bottle gets scratched, again, it will never rust, so there’s no real damage to the bottle. For instance, the blue bottle in the pics here has a couple of dents in it, and lots of paint scratched off in random places from mountain biking, but you can’s really tell it.
Another great part of the bottles design is the wide mouth of the bottle. You can easily fit ice cubes in it if you choose. It is a single-walled vessel (meaning it only has one layer of steel separating the inside contents and the outside of the bottle) so it is only recommended for use with cool or cold liquid. Hot liquids generally require a double-walled vessel like a thermos so the heat of the contents won’t heat up the outside of the bottle and burn you.
Another nice thing we noticed about these bottles was the weight. They aren’t too heavy, but they feel substantial; not like they are apt to fall apart after a few uses.
These bottles are made of a high quality food grade stainless steel. They will never rust (unlike cheaper Sub Zero brand steel bottles.) You can tell they are high quality stainless steel because magnets don’t stick to high quality stainless steel. The steel is not coated with anything on the inside as it doesn’t need a coating. Also, since it is stainless steel, it won’t leech into the water like aluminum bottles.
Cleaning is a breeze because these are top rack dishwasher safe. Since they are a bit tall, I bent the tines of the dishwasher rack just a little bit so I can fit them in there. I wash the lids on the top rack as well, and the straws in the silverware basket. If you do put something in the bottle that dries or otherwise won’t come out in the dishwasher, these bottles are really easy to clean as they have a very large mouth. The Nathan website says you don’t need a special brush to clean them, but to make it easy on myself I use a baby bottle brush if needed.
The lid, straws, and even the mouthpiece are all designed with food safe and dishwasher safe materials. The straws are made of polyethylene, the cap is made of polypropylene and of course, the nozzle is silicon. The design on the outside of the bottle is also dishwasher safe and does not fade, even in the “pots and pans” cycle. The only thing I’ve found to damage the design is dropping it on rocks or concrete, or otherwise scratching it REALLY hard with something.
When you buy a Nathan bottle, you will get a few extra straws. I didn’t have any reason to use my extra straws in the first 6 months I used it, and I use mine every day. Just recently, one of the straws that I use daily cracked on the end that connects to the cap. I simply cut off the 1cm cracked part with a kitchen knife, and I’m good to go. If you end up finally going through all of your straws, or the mouthpiece gets chewed up, you can go to the Nathan website and buy a replacement pack. Alternatively, you could just unscrew the cap and drink without the straw.
I use the finger loop constantly to pick up the bottle, carry it, or even close the straw with a flick of my wrist. It has a nice little clip on it so it can be hitched to your belt loop or backpack on a hike. The clip looks a bit anemic, but has proven to be sturdy in everyday use.
All that being said, there is a problem with this bottle. When closing the mouthpiece, it sometimes drips the water that was in the mouthpiece. This isn’t a big deal. The second problem deals with pressure. While being at about 750ft. altitude, If I drive to the mountains then open the bottle, water spews out like a fire hose for a second or two. This is to be expected with any bottle though. This also happens to a small degree if I use very cold water in the bottle, and it stays closed and heats up all day. Once the water has expanded, the air in the bottle pressurizes. When the mouthpiece opens, the pressure forces a bit of water out. I have found two methods to solve this. The first involves completely removing the cap for a second to equalize pressure then screwing it back on before opening the mouthpiece. The second method is slightly less reliable. Open the mouthpiece half way (just before water can come out) and push down the little orange pressure valve in the center of the cap. Once you are satisfied the pressure is equal, you can try to open the mouthpiece the rest of the way.
To recap, other than the pressure problem that sometimes occurs, these bottles are great! They give you extra straws and even have a kit you can buy to replace the straws and get a couple extra mouthpieces should you loose one or in case it gets chewed up. The materials are top notch and design with ease of use and ease of cleaning in mind. I give them 5 out of 5 stars on the design of this product. I actually use mine so much that for my birthday, I got a second one! these are great gifts for anyone, whether they like the outdoors or not.