Choosing to Reuse: Safer Water Bottle Options

The push for reusable bottles over bottled water must be making headway. Over the past couple months I’ve had numerous people ask me about the SIGG bottles our family routinely carts around. And last month I saw the company touted on Oprah. That must mean the movement has officially arrived.

I’ve been trying to avoid bottled water as much as possible for the past year or so, due to its environmental waste. I’m not perfect, but I’ve found that nine times out of ten all that’s required is the forethought to fill a reusable water bottle at the faucet before heading out the door. Our bottles now sit at the ready by our kitchen door.

As an outdoors person, you probably have plenty of water bottles already hanging around your own place. But what if they’re plastic? With health concerns about bisphenol-A (BPA) in polycarbonate bottles getting more scientific and media attention, you might be wondering what you’re supposed to use.

 Thankfully, outdoor companies offer a number of alternatives in aluminum, stainless steel, and BPA-free plastics. To help navigate the choices, we’ve pulled together the article “Building a Better Water Bottle: Aluminum, Steel, and No BPA” for Trailspace’s Gear Guide. After compiling the info, I relegated our own numerous polycarbonate/Lexan (#7) bottles to the back of our gear storage area. With all the other options available (or coming out soon), it just doesn’t seem worth using them anymore.

So, take a look at “Building a Better Water Bottle.” You’re bound to see some of these water bottle options at your outdoor store this year. I’m eyeing a few for my own family.

Filed under: Gear News


Baz (guest)
February 5, 2008 at 7:09 a.m. (EST)

Interesting article. When out walking I take my Sigg of course, but when on trails am using my Smartube (URL removed) with an existing water bottle - so I can keep sipping while on the move. One danger when walking is putting off the moment when you'll have a drink because of the hassle of taking the bottle out of the sack, and this 'hydration system' tackles that - and you reuse your bottle too.
Sigg bottles are brilliant, but when you're in a city and likely to be going through security checks (going into galleries in London for a start) they can become a bit of a pain.

Alicia MacLeay (Alicia)
1,684 reviewer rep
4,254 forum posts
February 5, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. (EST)

Thanks for mentioning the SmartTube, Baz (

It's also an affordable way to supply large groups (like Scouts) with hydration systems, using current water bottles, and can be easier to clean.

Due to the FAA's no-liquids rule, I'm always disappointed that I can't just bring a full Sigg or something similar along when flying, instead of having to buy bottled water after going through security.

50 reviewer rep
99 forum posts
February 5, 2008 at 2:19 p.m. (EST)

So are my older Camelbak bladders unsafe or releasing this chemical?

Alicia MacLeay (Alicia)
1,684 reviewer rep
4,254 forum posts
February 5, 2008 at 3:57 p.m. (EST)

Bisphenol-A (BPA), which has come the most under fire, is found in polycarbonate (#7) plastic. That’s the super hard, clear plastic (think of those bright, hard, colored Nalgenes), so not hydration reservoirs.

Phthlates are found in some softer plastics (think rubber duckies), but don’t seem to be in any hydration reservoirs (I’ve found no reference to them being used in water bladder materials).

Camelbak’s reservoirs are made of polyurethane, which doesn’t include any of the above.

Platypus says their hydration systems are made of BPA-free materials.

I *believe* Nalgene’s reservoirs of CXC polymer are also made from polyurethane, like Camelbak (but am checking into this).

So, hydration reservoirs are safer from leaching BPA than polycarbonate water bottles.

If anyone hasn’t already, check out “Building a Better Water Bottle: Aluminum, Steel, and No BPA” in our Gear Guide:

This post has been locked and is not accepting new comments