With so many water bottles available, and the differences between them so small, it can be a tough decision. How are you going to find the best water bottle to fit your needs? And how can you be sure it’s made of BPA-free materials?

Here’s a guide to the best water bottles for athletes and outdoors-people of all types.

The BPA scare

I originally posted this article in 2008, when BPA (short for “bisphenol A”) was frequently in the news, with more and more studies showing the possible side effects of BPA consumption, which happens when BPA leaches out of a plastic water bottle and into your drinking water.

Which is why I received this email:

Have you blogged about the proper kind of water bottle to use? Knowing that so many plastics leech into the water. Are there any metal insulated types available? thanks!

Plastified Pete

I haven’t been too worried about BPA, but now that most water bottle makers have been pressured into producing new bottles, and Canada has placed a ban on plastic baby bottles that contain BPA (with the USA proposing something similar), it might be time to switch to BPA-free bottles.

BPA-free Plastic Water Bottles

You don’t have to give up plastic entirely. Typical on-bike water bottles aren’t affected (the ones with soft, squeezeable sides), but the heavy-duty polycarbonate bottles from makers such as Nalgene are getting hit hard with negative publicity because they do contain traces of BPA.

To adapt, companies are reformulating their plastic water bottles to use BPA-free plastics. Nalgene plans to focus on these new bottles and filter out the existing bottles that contain BPA, and CamelBak has also launched a new line of BPA-free bottles.

With this being a “Water Bottle Wednesday” I think we should take a look at these new bottles!

Which material?

  • BPA-free Plastic
  • Glass
  • Metal

Plastic is lightweight and flexible, hard to break. Perfect for cyclists and other athletes.

Glass is easy to clean and doesn’t retain flavors or odor. Your water tastes pure. But it’s a little heavier and might not hold up to extreme outdoor abuse.

Metal is also heavy, but nearly indestructible. Great insulating capability.

The Highest-Rated Water Bottles

Here are the best ones.

Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle

First, the Nalgene Everyday Bottles. If you are a current Nalgene user, these bottles will look familiar – they are tough, translucent plastic bottles that look just like their polycarbonate cousins.

However, the Nalgene “Everyday” line is made of Eastman Tritan copolyester, so the bottles are completely BPA-free! It is still super tough and dishwasher safe, too, as copolyester is very similar to polycarbonate, except that it does not contain BPA.

These bottles can be found at REI, in stores and online:

Buy online: Nalgene Wide-mouth water bottle

Nalgene “On The Fly” Bottle

The 22 oz bottle is said to be sleek and slender so it will even fit into bicycle bottle cages. That doesn’t mean it will be easy to drink from while riding, but at least they’re keeping cyclists in mind!

These bottles can be found at REI, in stores and online:

Buy online: Nalgene On The Fly Water Bottle

CamelBak Chute 1L Water Bottle

Next, the CamelBak Better Bottles. The “Better Bottle” lineup is CamelBak’s entrance into the BPA-free water bottle market, and it uses the same Eastman Tritan copolyester plastic as the new Nalgene bottles, so it should be just as tough.

What sets CamelBak apart is that they offer not only the classic cap, a typical screw-on cap, but also the neat bite-valve cap, which makes it like drinking from a CamelBak hydration pack.

These bottles can be found at REI, in stores and online.

Now check out the Better Bottle with a CamelBak bite valve style cap:

CamelBak Tritan Better Bottle – 32 oz.

Camelbak Podium

Definitely check out the CamelBak Podium bottle. At $9, it’s expensive for a water bottle, but it’s rather nice (and BPA-free.) Even better is the Podium Ice bottle, the high-tech insulated version ($20).

Metal bottles (naturally BPA-free)

There are some metal bottles, though. The two main choices have always been Klean Kanteen and Sigg. The Klean Kanteen is a stainless steel water bottle, and the Sigg is an aluminum bottle that uses a special liner that is supposed to be safe. Both bottles are about $30. (Personally I’d stick with the full stainless steel Klean Kanteen.)

Klean Kanteen

A classic stainless steel water bottle. Great for hikers. Different caps are available.

Also good for your desk at work. Especially the wide-mouth, insulated bottle.

Pro tip: Get one that is not painted. The paint will chip eventually, long before the rest of the bottle wears out.


CamelBak Stainless Steel

The CamelBak Better Bottle, which I mentioned in my previous article, comes in a stainless steel version now (for $24.) There is even an insulated stainless steel Better Bottle ($30).

CamelBak Chute Glass

CamelBak Chute Water Bottle

Those metal bottles aren’t the most convenient for on-bike use, though, so I’d also consider the plastic bottles from CamelBak.

Want to do some more shopping? Then check REI, because they offer a wide variety of bottles for hiking, bicycling, and everyday use, and they have separated all the BPA-free bottles into their own category!

More shopping links: www.REI.com or go direct to the REI BPA-Free Water Bottles Category

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  1. Its great the BPA free bottles are finally out… I wonder how long before we discover the material the new bottles are made from are bad for us as well.

  2. @Sam

    Haha, as soon as everyone buys one of the new bottles, there will surely be some studies that find a new chemical being leached into the water!

  3. Yeah, the new plastic leaches BP….B! 🙂
    It will turn us all into zombies and Will Smith has to come and save us.

    I use a Soma water bottle on and off the bike.
    No BPA and my water tastes like water. Good ol food container style plastic, but clearer.

  4. Hey check out the titan water bottle – it’s made out of tritan plastic like camelbak’s better bottle. My biking partner recommended it to me cause I guess you can clip it to your bike, take a drink, and reclip it all with one hand. Awesome if it works! I ordered one but it’s on backorder and I wont get it for like another month.

    The website is titanwaterbottle.com

  5. 1 vote here for the CamelBak Better Bottle.

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