Hydro Flask Trail Series Lightweight Hydration 24 oz
Best water bottle for hiking
Water bottles can be easily overlooked since they serve just one purpose: to hold drinking water. However, reusable water bottles have evolved over time and now come in different styles, with varied features and even improved insulation. Additionally, reusable water bottles are more environmentally friendly than single-use plastic bottles and can save you money in the long run. Reusable water bottles are also a good way to hold yourself accountable to drink more water throughout the day. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially as we enter the warmer months.
Whether you like to add electrolytes to your water or prefer it plain yet crisp at every sip, there are water bottles on the market that can satisfy your preferences. We tested various water bottles and narrowed down our favorites based on our experience. Take a look at our top picks below.
Klean Kanteen’s water bottle won me over based on its design. The twist cap incorporates a built-in straw that pops up when you twist it and folds down when you seal it back up. It’s simple yet functional, which makes it ideal for commuting or the office. It’s 90% BPA-free and made up of recycled materials as well as stainless steel. At 16 ounces, it isn’t the biggest bottle on the list, but it’s light enough to carry around with you and owing to the slim size, it’s easy to hold in your hand. Klean Kanteen also offers 12- and 20-ounce bottles in this style. This bottle claims to keep water cold for up to 46 hours. I tested this out and was impressed that the water was still cool that many hours later. This is important to keep in mind if you’re opting for an insulated bottle.
If the twist cap is not your cup of tea, you can also opt for a wide loop cap, which is a cover with a handle you can twist off, or the TKwide chug cap, which offers a different type of drinking spout that is made for outdoor activities. This is an easy-to-clean water bottle that is dishwasher safe and has a chip-resistant coating, so it’s built to last.
Easy to use
Keeps water cold
Not all cap options can be used with hot liquids
Additional caps cost extra
If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money on a water bottle, but want a trusted brand, then the Nalgene Narrow Mouth Tritan Water Bottle is your best choice. At under $15, it’s not the fanciest of the bunch, but it comes in multiple colors and is the biggest bottle on the list at 32 ounces. It’s made of a BPA- and BPS-free plastic and is durable so it can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The downsides to this bottle are that some people may find it bulky, and it also isn’t insulated. Therefore, you’re more likely to end up with room temperature water after a while. The good news is there was no condensation noted during our testing, so you won’t likely have to worry about handling a damp bottle.
This water bottle is translucent, which makes it easy to see if you’re due for a refill. Even though you have to twist the lid off, the narrow mouth makes it easy to drink from without spilling all over. The lid also makes it leak-proof, which is important if you’re taking it everywhere with you.
Comes in various colors
Holds a lot of volume
Size can be too bulky for some
Not as sophisticated looking as other bottles on the list
The Corkcicle Sport Canteen easily became one of my favorite bottles, not only because of its design, but because I found it to be versatile enough for home and gym use. It’s made of BPA-free materials and triple-insulated steel. It’s dishwasher safe which makes it easy to clean. You can choose from a 20- or 32-ounce options, but I found the 20-ounce to be more than enough. Corkcicle offers plenty of colors to choose among, and the distinctive bottle design isn’t the traditional water bottle shape. The top part of the bottle is slightly wider and angular, and it has flat sides for easy gripping, while the base has a nonslip silicone pad that makes the bottle extra sturdy and less likely to tip over. The quick sip cap prevents spills when drinking, and it’s designed in a way that is easy to flip open and close.
According to Corkcicle, the bottle can keep beverages cold for up to 25 hours and hot for 12 hours. I tested this by leaving the bottle filled with water overnight and I can confirm that the water remained somewhat cool, but not as cold as during the earlier part of the day. Still, every time I took a sip of water throughout the daytime, the water was always still fresh and cold. The only other bottle that had it beat was the Iceshaker, which is known for its ability to keep drinks ice cold.
This bottle is suitable for home, work or even the gym, especially if you want to guarantee that your water will remain chilled during hotter days.
Keeps water cold
May be overly large for some users
Some people may prefer a different drinking nozzle
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
If you want a trusty stainless steel water bottle that is school- or office-friendly, then you’ll like the S’well bottle. The S’well Blue Granite Bottle is BPA- and BPS-free and made with food grade stainless steel. It uses S’well’s “Therma swell technology,” meaning it’s triple-layer vacuum insulated to keep your water cold for up to 48 hours or hot for as long as 24 hours. This varies upon the size of the bottle — the bigger the bottle, the longer your beverage will maintain its temperature. There are plenty of bottle designs to choose from and sizes including 9, 17 and 25 ounces.
I liked that this water bottle is designed to be appropriate for just about any setting and it doesn’t sweat. If you opt for the 25-ounce bottle, it’s on the heavier side so if weight is a concern, choose one of the smaller options. Another downside to this bottle is that it is not dishwasher safe, so you will have to wash it by hand. This isn’t the biggest deal if you mainly intend to use it for water rather than flavored or hot beverages. It also doesn’t have a handle like many others on the list, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re going on a hike or walk.
However if you’re a student, an office worker, you attend yoga class regularly or have another reason to want a bottle that you can keep by your side, then the S’well bottle is a safe choice. You’ll also be satisfied with how refreshing your water tastes throughout the day. When I tested it to see how cold the water remained over a 24-hour period, it fell short, but realistically, most people aren’t looking to drink water left overnight. They will most likely refill their bottles on a daily basis. This bottle would make the ideal gift as well since it’s available in many designs and shades.
It keeps water cold
Various bottle designs
Made of durable stainless steel
Available in different sizes
Not dishwasher safe
Falls short on its promise to keep liquid cold for 24 hours
Larger size bottle can feel heavy for some users
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
I’d previously tested the Ice Shaker for a best protein shaker list and loved it because it can be used both for protein shakes and as a water bottle. This time I tried it just as a water bottle, and it still held up and remained the best insulated bottle on the list. The 26-ounce bottle is made with kitchen-grade stainless steel and has a double-wall vacuum insulated design. It comes with a flip-up straw, which makes it easy to sip water throughout the day. The Ice Shaker also has a handle that makes it easy to transport while you’re on the go. My only gripe is that it would be nice to have different sizes available — the only other size is a 20-ounce bottle in a skinny shaker that doesn’t have the same nozzle as the sport bottle.
This bottle claims to remain cold for 30 hours. I tested this out and found it also fell short, similar to the S’well bottle. However, I did find it kept water the coldest of all the bottles I tested, so that’s still a win. In fact, one of my friends owns an Ice Shaker bottle and says it’s their favorite bottle because they can leave it in the car for hours and still come back to ice cold water. It’s also sweatproof, so you don’t have to worry about condensation appearing at any point.
You can use it for all sorts of beverages, including iced tea, wine, sports drinks and more. The bottle is designed so it doesn’t retain odors after washing, which makes it versatile and ideal to hold different types of drinks. If you want a bottle that can do it all while keeping your water or drink fresh and crisp at each sip, you’ll enjoy the Ice Shaker.
Keeps water ice cold
Can be used for beverages other than water
Versatile enough for the gym, office or outdoors
Doesn’t have different size options
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
A water bottle’s spout is just as important as its ability to keep water cold. The Built 24-ounce Dualid Water Bottle had the best take on what a water bottle spout should look like. Instead of relying on one spout, there are two options. You can unscrew the cap and chug your water or flip up the straw and sip from the bottle. This bottle also has a handle that folds over and perfectly fits into the cap when not in use. However its solid colors and patterns are limited in selection. I would’ve also liked to see more sizes available. However, I can’t fuss about the price point, since it’s on the cheaper side at only $18, a bargain compared to some of the other insulated bottles on this list.
It’s double-walled, vacuum-sealed and BPA-free, and it remains condensation free even if you add ice. This bottle’s design makes it ideal for most activities, especially commuting (since you don’t have to fidget with the cap) or even the gym. On the downside, it isn’t fully dishwasher safe; only the cap can be placed in the dishwasher while the bottle should be hand-washed.
I liked that this bottle kept my water cold all day, and that I had two different spout options to drink from. The dual spouts were a smart design choice and something I haven’t seen in other water bottles. If you’d prefer to carry a hot drink like coffee, this bottle can handle the heat and keeps your beverage warm for up to 6 hours. Additionally, Built donates 1 percent of each purchase to water.org, which helps give people in need safe access to water. If you’re looking for a bottle that’s versatile and has multiple drinking spouts, then look no further than this Built bottle.
Double spout makes for easy drinking
Keeps water cold
Versatile for most activities
Lacks different colors and sizes
Not fully dishwasher safe
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
Nathan is well known for its accessories for runners, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed the Nathan Exoshot 2.0 14-ounce Handheld bottle. What’s interesting about it is that the design is more like a soft flask rather than a standard water bottle. It comes with a protective cover that wraps around the bottle and features an adjustable handle that goes around your hand during a run. The cover also has a pocket that’s made to fit energy gels, keys or credit cards. It feels practically weightless because it’s only 14 ounces, so it’s not a nuisance during your run.
I’d recommend this handheld for shorter distance runs, as some runners may prefer to wear a belt to carry multiple bottles during longer runs to be completely hands-free. It can also be used during walks, hikes, cycling or other outdoor activities where you want to carry a supply of water. Drinking water out of the bottle is convenient because all you have to do is bite down on the valve to get a sip. Just don’t expect the water to remain cold, since it isn’t as well-insulated as in a stainless steel bottle. It’s also likely to tip over if you try to set it on a flat surface, since it doesn’t have a proper base like a regular water bottle. If you just want the convenience of having a water bottle that fits in your hand during outdoor activities, then you can’t go wrong with the Nathan Exoshot.
Lightweight and fits around your hand
Can be used for short runs or less vigorous outdoor activities
Not as appropriate for long runs
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
If you like hiking and are looking for the perfect bottle to join you on your adventures then you’ll enjoy the Hydro Flask Trail Series. This BPA-free bottle is slim and lightweight compared to other popular Hydro Flask bottles, so it’s ideal to carry around with you. You can also choose among 21-, 32- or 40-ounce bottles for your hiking trips. It has a TempShield double-wall vacuum insulation to keep water cold for up to 24 hours, or if you’re carrying a hot beverage, keeps it warm for up to six hours.
The bottle itself has a wide mouth so you can add ice and has a twist-on, leak-proof cap. The cap also has a handle that makes it easy to carry, or if you prefer, its slim shape fits perfectly into a side pocket on your backpack. The bottle is also meant to hold most backcountry water filters, which is helpful if you need to make sure your water is safe and clean to drink during a hike.
I enjoyed carrying this bottle around during walks throughout the day and found that the water remained cold throughout the journey. My only complaint is that I’d prefer a drinking nozzle instead of a twist-off cap, since the bottle’s mouth is wide enough that it’s easy to spill water while drinking. But if you’re heading out on a hike and want to have cold water on hand, then the Hydro Flask Trail Series is a good choice.
Insulation keeps water cold all day
Lightweight bottle that fits in your hand or backpack
Compatible with most water filters.
Doesn’t have a straw or spout option
Other water bottles tested
Contigo Wells Chill Stainless Steel Filter Water Bottle: Iliked the design of this bottle, from its size to the autospout straw, and even the filter. My issue with this bottle is that the filter length was too short for the size of the bottle so there always seemed to be water left that you couldn’t drink once it got below a certain point.
Nathan QuickSqueeze 12 oz. Insulated Handheld Bottle: I found this handheld bottle to be heavier than I would like during a run. If the weight doesn’t bother you, it’s still a solid handheld choice and has a zipper pocket to store your gels, keys or credit cards.
Camelbak Eddy Plus: Although the Camelbak Eddy Plus had a spout that I liked, I found the bottle to be on the heavier side. It lacked insulation and only parts of it are dishwasher safe. It came in a close second to the Nalgene Narrow Mouth Tritan Water Bottle, which also lacked insulation, but the latter was slightly cheaper and fully dishwasher safe.
Yeti Rambler: This limited-edition Yeti water bottle feels durable but is on the heavier side if you’re taking it on a hike or to the gym. This one would be better if you’re going camping, fishing or tailgating and need a bottle to be able to withstand a fall or keep drinks cool. However, it didn’t make the list because compared to other insulated bottles, I found it fell short in keeping water cold and lacked versatility.
Yeti Yonder 1-liter / 34 oz. Water Bottle: I thought this was a rather overpriced water bottle that doesn’t have any special features and lacks insulation. There are more affordable options that have comparable features as this bottle.
Hydro Flask 32 oz. Wide Mouth w/ Straw Lid: This bottle is heavy and can be obtrusive, but it is well insulated. It’s still a good option if you don’t mind its size. However if you want a more lightweight and affordable bottle that keeps your water cold, you’re better off with one of the other bottles on the list.
How we tested
Material: We made sure these bottles were BPA-free and made of a durable material depending on their purpose. Stainless steel, aluminum, glass and Tritan plastics are best for water bottles as they’re guaranteed to last forever. Also, you should look for BPA-free bottles because research has shown that BPA may have adverse health effects — especially for children and infants — so it’s advised to limit your exposure to it.
Design: We looked at the design of the bottle and determined whether it’s appropriate for work, home, outdoor activities or the gym. For example, size, weight, spout design and handle type can affect a water bottle’s usability.
Insulation: When appropriate, we considered the type of insulation the bottle has and how long it keeps water cold.
Features: We noted any unique features including a distinct spout, design or function.
Factors to consider
Decide if you want a water bottle that’s versatile for most activities or for specific settings. You may want a different type of bottle for the gym versus one for your workplace.
Water bottles vary in price and size, so you should consider how much you’re willing to spend and the size that’s most appropriate for your needs. Some may be pricey because they’re designed to last a long time.
Decide if you want an insulated water bottle and if you care if it’s BPA- or BPS-free. Most bottles are designed to be eco-friendly and have some form of insulation.
Determine if you’d like a flip straw, flip cap or a similar style of lid, or if you don’t mind unscrewing a cap each time you want to drink.
Are reusable water bottles better than plastic water bottles?
Reusable water bottles help reduce waste and the negative environmental effects caused by single-use plastic. They are also safer to drink from compared to plastic water bottles.
What should you look for in a reusable water bottle?
If you’re opting for a plastic bottle, make sure it’s made up of a BPA- or BPS-free material. You can also find bottles made of glass, stainless steel or aluminum.
How often should you wash a reusable water bottle?
You should wash your reusable water bottle after every use to prevent mold and other bacteria from developing.