THE GEAR • December 2018
Whether you’re an on-the-go adventurer or taking a business trip, there’s a reusable bottle out there to suit every type of traveller. Travel journalist Ianthe Butt reviews seven of the best on the market right now
The lowdown: Eva Solo brings together Danish design smarts and foodie fun with its MyFlavour bottle (£30), made from BPA-free plastic. A simple way to jazz up water, which works brilliantly, it contains an easy to screw in skewer where fruit and herbs can be held in place to infuse the water. The skewer can hold a fair amount and easily pushes through citrus fruit skins. For a burst of summer (and a very photo-friendly drink) try threading on strawberry, mint and cucumber, or for a reviving kick, try lemon and ginger.
Any niggles? The skewer is slender; once removed it could easily be misplaced.
The lowdown: Most likely to confuse people with what you’re drinking is the Kickstarter-launched Memobottle. Reminiscent of a cool-looking translucent hip flask, Memobottle A6 (£23) is a BPA-free plastic bottle – corresponding roughly in size to a piece of A6 paper – and just 3cm wide, yet really robust. Slotting easily into a clutch bag or laptop case, it’s a good choice for business travellers who want to pack light and prefer a no-fuss, minimal bottle. It’s surprisingly comfortable to grasp, so it’s good for joggers too, and each purchase helps with clean water projects overseas.
Any niggles? People will repeatedly joke that you’re sipping gin, not water.
The lowdown: Long beloved by outdoorsy sorts, Switzerland’s Sigg has form when it comes to water bottles, producing them since 1908 – there’s even one displayed in New York’s Moma. BPA-free and 100% recyclable, the best thing about its Total Clear Bottle (£16) is the convenience afforded by an easy-to-grip handle and single-hand pop-up top and latch. If you’re out walking it means you can keep one hand free and take a drink without any faff.
Any niggles? The mouth opening is a tad on the large side, meaning a fast water flow.
The lowdown: An objet d’art in its own right, S’well Calacatta’s (£45) gilded-marble-look stainless steel bottle will fit right in at even the smartest boutique hotels. Not just aesthetically pleasing, triple-wall technology means water stays chilly for 24 hours (handily, the mouth is large enough to fit ice cubes in) or hot for 12. While it comes in 260ml and 750ml sizes, the 500ml is just right for a city break. Eco-friendly brand S’well regularly brings out new designs, from intricate artist collaborations to the pared-back wood look, and each supports clean water programmes in developing countries.
Any niggles? It’s most easily cleaned with the brand’s own bottle brush, rather than a regular washing-up brush.
The lowdown: Getting access to tap water while travelling can sometimes be tricky. BPA-free Lifestraw Go2 (£50) houses a clever bit of kit, a Lifestraw filter, which removes 99.9 per cent of waterborne bacteria, parasites and microplastics from flowing fresh water. It’s undeniably disconcerting drinking through the straw straight from a puddle or river water for the first time, but it’s useful (and potentially life-saving) if you’re out in the wilderness. The filter clicks in simply and smoothly on first use, and a carabiner clip means it can be clipped onto a backpack effortlessly. It’s worth remembering that it won’t remove chemicals or work in salt water, and that for each Lifestraw sold, a child in need is supplied with clean water for a year.
Any niggles? The filter needs to be replaced after 1,000L and must dry out between each use.
The lowdown: A really sturdy affair, the stainless steel 21oz Hydroflask (£25) is a stout bottle that slides easily into backpack side pockets and is strong enough to withstand pretty heavy bumps (there’s a lifetime guarantee). A great choice for campers, it keeps water cold for up to 24 hours, and soup or coffee warmed up in the morning will still be piping by afternoon. Slick design and a range of bright colourways mean it looks good, it’s super-easy to clean, and – even if it’s had spicy soup in it – won’t retain any flavours after washing.
Any niggles? The bottle is better suited to sitting-down rather than on-the-go drinking. For less spillage if you want to sip while walking then buying the additional sports cap (£8) is a good investment.
The lowdown: Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Case in point is Stay Sixty; these London-designed, double-walled stainless steel bottles (£29.95) have a genius unscrewable bottom, making cleaning an absolute breeze. A rubberised matte paint covering (in just three colours: pink, grey or black) gives an elegant look, but even better than that, a rather nice soft, soothing feel when gripping the bottle. Combined with a flexible pull-off-and-on handle, this makes for a real day-to-day winner that easily fits in a carry-on.
Any niggles? Not really. If we’re being picky, it can only be used with cold liquids.