Collapsible Water Bottle – Just about all eco-conscious travelers are aware of the virtues of stainless steel water bottles. And if you want to know which ones are best, check out our Stainless Steel Water Bottle Smackdown. There are advantages to a collapsible water bottle. The first is that you can always fit it in your purse or backpack. That’s important because most of us carry around a heavy water bottle with us and we don’t want it to get overfilled with water.
What is a Collapsible Water Bottle?
But what about the collapsible water bottle option? At first it might seem a tad gimmicky, but this foldable water bottle variety is here to stay. Is it a viable green option? If so, which one should you buy?
How to Use a Collapsible Water Bottle
Reusable Water Bottles in General
Pros to Folding water bottle
- Great for backpacking or hiking
- Some are made in the USA
Cons to Folding water bottle
- Made with plastic materials
- Most hold less volume than traditional hard-shelled bottles
- Foldable: most don’t stay upright easily
- More seams equate to greater leaking potential
Folding water bottles are made of plastic, are they eco-friendly and safe?
Some are not: read carefully before buying! Warning: cheap collapsible water bottles, such as most free promotional ones, will leak! You’re better off spending a few more dollars on one of the ones below.
BPA-Free Collapsible Water Bottles
The options listed below are all BPA-free. They are all reusable, and all require less energy to pack, carry, and create than heavier stainless steel.
The Platypus bottle is BPA-free, made in the USA, and holds a full liter of water. All Platypus collapsible bottles are made to fit in car bottle holders (though they sometimes fall over) and all the tops in the Platypus line are interchangeable, a big plus.
The PlusBottle is coated with what Platypus calls its Slimeguard antimicrobial treatment, which is a fancy way of saying it’s treated with a natural (and safe) coating of silver ion which keeps the water fresh and taste-free. The PlusBottle is on Amazon.
Nalgene Wide Mouth Canteen
The Nalgene bottle is also BPA-free, and holds more liquid at 1.5 liters or 3.0 liters. It’s stiffer than the Platypus, and instead of folding it, travelers can roll it. I really like that its wide mouth fits ice cubes and almost all filtration systems. It’s best for backpackers, as the wide mouth might be a detriment for kids and casual travelers. The 48 oz version can be found online.
Vapur Element Collapsible bottle
The Vapur (also made in the USA and BPA-free) includes what it calls a SuperCap over its wide-mouth, which makes it perfect for adding ice cube and easily sipping from.
According to numerous Amazon reviews (this is the only bottle of the three I haven’t personally tried), the Vapur stands up well while filling, and doesn’t collapse even when only half-full.
Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle
Featuring a unique, patented design, the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle is capable of adapting itself to your needs, even in the most demanding conditions. Without a doubt, its versatility is impressive, and it makes it the kind of object everyone can use.
Ergonomic, portable and practical, this collapsible water bottle certainly holds great value despite being slightly more expensive than your average water bottle. In order to save space when it is not being used, the Nomader water bottle can be either folded or collapsed flat.
This is remarkable considering its rigidity and stability when it’s in its unfolded, erect state. Apart from being solid and having a great balance, the upright bottle is tough and durable. In fact, being made of shatterproof silicone, it’s resistant to impact, heat and more. Even better, the Nomader is completely leak-proof, making it a truly reliable water bottle.
Everyone knows water bottles can be difficult to clean. Luckily, the Nomader’s design also makes it very accessible for cleaning purposes. What is more, it’s remarkably hygienic during the drinking process due to its hinged cap that doubles as an anti-germ protective spout cover.
In addition, the bottle is completely BPA-free, BPS-free and resistant to phthalic acids and other harmful chemicals. As if all that wasn’t enough, the Nomader is remarkably sleek and stylish.
Pros of Nomader Folding Water Bottle
- Compact and portable
- Easy to clean
- Completely BPA-free
- Flexible and yet durable
- Very versatile
- Great for kid’s school backpacks
Cons of Nomader Folding Water Bottle
- Slightly more expensive than the average water bottle
- Not UV-proof, but the Nomader water bottle is made of silicone, and will not experience fading or deterioration caused by UV.
When a collapsible water bottle is best
Airport security: easily dump liquids at security, fold and store, and refill at the gate. Backpacking during which weight (or lack thereof) is important (use a carabiner to attach a collapsible water bottle to your pack). Packing in luggage for use later during a trip
When a stainless steel water bottle is better
Hiking or backpacking if you dislike hanging a bottle from your pack, and prefer a bottle pocket. Car trips during which you need water bottles that fit in a cup holder. Travels with kids for which you’ll need a sippy cup spout on your bottle. Check out our best water bottle for kids picks.
When a hydration pack is better
Why a hydration pack?
We can probably all agree that hydration is important. Why choose a hydration pack over a stainless steel water bottle? It’s a matter of preference, of course, but in my experience, I simply drink more water when I have the convenience of a hydration pack at my fingertips (so to speak). So do my kids: when I strap a hydration pack on their backs, they happily drink water due to the ‘fun factor’ alone, whereas I have to remind them to stop to drink from their water bottles.
I also find that hydration packs need filling less often than water bottles (holding an average of 2L-3L), making them the best choice when water sources may be scarce. Pick up a Verve 5 for day trips, day travel, and shorter outdoor excursions. Do you use a hydration pack while traveling or experiencing the outdoors? What model of the ultimate collapsible water bottle do you recommend?
Hydration pack to consider
Osprey Verve Women’s Hydration Pack
The true test of a great backpack is not in its performance upon first use, but in how often you reach for it afterward. As a travel gear reviewer who specializes in outdoor gear, I have a lot of backpacks sitting in wait of the next day hike or bike ride. The folks at Osprey were kind enough to send me a Verve 5 to try out. Ever since I reviewed the Osprey Verve women’s hydration pack, this is the backpack I reach for.
The Osprey Verve for Women Review
The Osprey Verve hydration pack for women comes in 5L, 9L, and 13L, a full-sized hydration bladder, hose, and mouth valve included, this pack is meant to be an all-in-one hydration solution and storage pack for both warm-weather day hikes and bike rides as well as winter sport excursions including skiing, snowshoeing, or cross-country trekking.
It also makes a great companion on travel days with plenty of walking or city touring involved. Depending on the size chosen, the Verve can comfortably fit your day’s essentials on top of your water needs.
Verve Hydration Pack Design
I tested the Verve 5L, which I assumed would be very small, but was in fact much roomier than I’d anticipated. I always recommend trying out packs in a brick-and-mortar store before buying online for this very reason. While the 5L holds less storage room than some hydration packs, and has a sleek, flatter shape, it more than makes up for its smaller volume with numerous compartments to separate your stuff.
In addition to the reservoir pocket, there’s a roomy outer zip pocket with two interior compartments for a cell phone, snack, or gloves. I’ve fit snacks for my family in this pocket, along with a hat and camera.
Secondly, there’s a stash pocket to stuff a light jacket, base layer, or thick pair of winter gloves. Lastly, you get a small zip pocket at the top for storing keys, a cell phone, or other small essentials (perhaps sunscreen or chapstick).
On the outside are two side mesh water bottle pockets plus a helmet clip to secure a bike helmet. I found the pack construction to be superior to other hydration packs I’ve tried. You get Osprey’s AirScape back panel to wick away moisture and provide some air flow, plus the hydration hose is secured with not only a sleeve down the shoulder strap, but a handy magnet that holds it in place.
I assumed this would be gimmicky, but now I get annoyed with any pack that does not include a magnetic valve attachment! The Verve includes a chest strap as well as a hip belt, and a small front pocket on the shoulder strap.
Verve Hydration Reservoir
The reservoir is one of the easiest to fill that I’ve tried: to fill an Osprey, you open a large valve located on the side of the bladder and hold the reservoir flat under the water stream. There’s a sturdy handle by which to hold it and load it back into the pack (in its own compartment, of course).
If you already have an additional Osprey pack, it’s a breeze to transfer the Verve hydration system to a large pack. The dimensions of the 5L Verve are: IN: 18 x 9 x 6 – CM: 45 x 22 x 16
What you get:
In addition to the pockets and features mentioned below, the Verve comes with the following:
- Blinker light attachment
- ErgoPull hip belt
- Lidlock technology on the hydration system
- panel load access
Which to choose?
There are good options for collapsible water bottles and they can work really well for travelers. Just think about what you’ll use your collapsible water bottle for, then make sure you get one that’s BPA-free and won’t leak. Do you use a collapsible water bottle? Which brand do you recommend? Any pitfalls? Or do you prefer a hydration pack?