When you’re busy preparing for a trip, a water bottle is an easy thing to overlook. However, staying hydrated is essential, especially during travel. But there are other things you need to factor in, like water quality and your environmental impact if you use single-use water bottles.
The best travel water bottle for you really depends on where you’re going and the kinds of activities you’ve got planned for your trip.
Can you drink the tap water at your mountain retreat in Patagonia?
If you’re traveling carry-on only, is there room in your carry-on backpack for a water bottle?
Are you tramping around in the wilderness, or sticking to big cities?
If you’re an outdoorsy type, you’ll probably want a metal water bottle that will stand up to the elements (and carry a fair bit of H2O). On the other hand, if you’re taking some time to travel in Europe, you’ll love a stylish, glass water bottle.
Whether you’re a beach bum or a mountaineer (or if you’re simply searching for a great travel gift), I’m here to share the best travel water bottle options to help you stay hydrated on the road!
Convenience. You need to stay hydrated while you travel, and a reusable water bottle that you can fill up every morning is the simple solution.
Safety. Drinkable tap water is an unknown luxury for the vast majority of the planet. Containing everything from heavy metals to pathogens, you don’t want to take your chances with tap water when you travel in most places across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The consequences can range from slight nausea to a full-blown dose of cholera.
Environmental awareness. You could just drop into a store and buy a bottle of water, but single-use plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment! Most countries just aren’t equipped with the right waste management and recycling programs to cope with all that plastic, so they end up in the oceans and waterways.
Better taste. Even if you can drink the tap water at your destination, there’s a good chance it won’t taste great. If you’re going to a region where water is scarce, you’ll probably come across water that has either been desalinated or chlorinated. These processes make the water 100% safe to drink, but it’ll taste funky. If you travel with a water bottle that has a basic filter, the water will taste better.
A water bottle also comes handy on airplanes. Flights make you super dehydrated, but single-use plastic bottles of water at an airport regularly sell for $10 each. (Just make sure your bottle is empty when you go through security!)
On the other side of security, most airports have drinking fountains where you can refill your water bottle.
Now that you know why it’s essential to bring a bottle, let’s go through the best travel water bottles that you’ll love.
LifeStraw Go is a two-stage water filtration bottle that makes any water safe to drink. Whether you collect the water from a stream or a pool of still water, this lab-tested bottle removes heavy metals and other pollutants as well as 99.9999% of pathogens including E-Coli. It’s a decent size for day treks, but you can easily fill it up along the way if you’re going out for longer.
The LifeStraw Go water bottle has a filter system that reduces chlorine content and improves bad odors and tastes, as well as a hygienic silicone mouthpiece. The replaceable hollow fiber filter of this bottle is good for 5 years of use (1000 gallons of water), while the replaceable carbon filter is good for 3 months of use (25 gallons).
Plus you’ll have no accidents! When it’s time to replace the filters, the pores clog so water can’t pass through.
If it’s time to replace the filter, it won’t push any water through, so you’ll never accidentally get sick
Makes terrible water quite palatable
Recyclable and light
Each purchase gives a child access to clean water for a year
Comes in 14 designs and colors
You can only use it for water
The water is filtered as you sip – you have to apply a fair bit of suction.
You have to replace half of the carbon filter every three months
Going trekking in the wilderness or living somewhere particularly underdeveloped? You probably won’t HAVE tap water, let alone drinkable stuff. You definitely won’t have access to a store where you can buy safe drinking water. You’ll probably be collecting water from unknown lakes and streams.
If you’re not careful with the water you drink, you run the risk of getting sick. A water bottle with a purification system is a life-or-death necessity.
Here’s where a water bottle with heavy-duty filters come in. You REALLY don’t want aggressive diarrhea. Or cholera. Or typhoid. Or hepatitis. That’s not a pretty image.
The best filtered water bottles make any water drinkable by removing waterborne-pathogens like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. A good bottle should also take out heavy metals and other pollutants from the water. No matter how bad the water, you’ll be able to drink it and use it to wash fresh fruit and vegetables.
I’m going to share a few bottle options to help keep you healthy:
If you need to drink water that’s downright disgusting, the Grayl Geopress
is the travel water bottle for you. In just 8 seconds, this lab-tested water purifier bottle removes chemical pollutants and waterborne pathogens from Hepatitis A to Cholera, making any water, no matter how vile, safe to drink and wash fruit or vegetables.
This water bottle is BPA free and comes with a 10-year warranty. The replaceable filter cartridges are good for 3 years of heavy use, and there’s a recycling program for the water filter.
The Grayl Geopress water bottle also comes in an ergonomic design, with four different colors: camo black, alpine white, coyote amber, and visibility orange.
As well as killing 99.9999% of waterborne creepers, LARQ
is also the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle. This bottle filters and cleans itself with UV light every two hours. LARQ’s technology works similarly to the old trick of leaving a bottle of water out in the sun to disinfect. But it does that whole process in just 60 seconds.
As the LARQ bottle cleans water with a UV light, it doesn’t require filter replacements like the other bottles in this list. The UV light is powered by a lithium battery that lasts for one month on a single charge, and you can recharge it via USB. The battery is good for 1000+ water cycles.
While it is a great water bottle for making dodgy water clean, it’s not as suited to super-intense wilderness expeditions like the LifeStraw and Grayl because it’s battery operated and it’s kind of fancy-looking.
It’s better for urban areas that have untreated tap water. Be careful though–some city tap water contains heavy metals, so check first. While the LARQ bottle removes pathogens, it doesn’t take out heavy metals.
Another big thing to love about the LARQ water bottle: its double vacuum insulation keeps contents hot for 12 hours or cold for 24 hours!
When you’re disconnected from reliably clean water, the LifeSaver
enables you to drink out of lakes, ponds, and rivers. Its ultrafiltration system removes 99.99999% of waterborne bacteria and viruses. Well, that’s what it claims to do… but this water bottle has mixed reviews (just take a look at our pros and cons section).
This water bottle can filter up to 4000L of water and has a replaceable activated carbon filter. Plus you’ll have no wait time–you instantly get clean water. The LifeSaver also improves clarity, taste, and smell of untreated water. Mm, pure water.
Easy to transport with the strap
No wait time for filtering
Failsafe: The filter tells you when it needs to be replaced
BPA and BPS free
Some people love it while others say the filter didn’t work and they got sick from drinking water
The carbon filters can crumble making them useless
If you’re not about to head into cholera-country, you probably don’t need a full filtration system. You’ll be fine buying a big tub of water that’ll last you a week and filling up your drink bottle every morning.
In this case, I’d go for a stainless steel water bottle for travel. They’re super-strong so they’ll never get cracks or dents.
The best stainless steel water bottles are also insulated. If you get a well-insulated one, it’ll keep your water cool all day long. Who wants to sip on near-boiling water on a hike through the South East Asian jungle?
Oh, and in case you were wondering: There’s a myth going around that you can’t take stainless steel water bottles on planes. That’s bull. You can 100% take a metal water bottle on the plane, just make sure it’s empty when you go through security.
HydroFlask’s wide mouth and standard mouth water bottles are the best of the brand’s range. If you want something versatile, a HydroFlask
is a good option. These bottles for water can handle activities from beach-going to mountaineering.
The bottle’s insulation stops condensation and allows cold drinks to stay cold for 24 hours and hot drinks stay hot for 12 hours. It’s also compatible with other branded mouthpieces.
One of my favorite things about the HydroFlask water bottle? It comes in dozens of colors!
Yeti makes robust stainless steel drink bottles that are another extremely versatile option if you’re a well-rounded traveler who wants a water bottle that can slide into a day pack without much hassle.
The double-wall vacuum insulation of a YETI water bottle
keeps drinks hot or cold, while also keeping fingers dry and non-frosty. The 100% leak-proof cap is essential if you happen to toss your bottle into your backpack with all your valuables!
YETI water bottles also come in a wide range of colors so you don’t have to stick to boring blacks or greys.
The wide mouth makes it easy to clean
You can fit ice cubes easily so your drink will stay extra cold
It NEVER leaks
The wide mouth can cause water to splash out when you’re drinking
Glass might not be the most durable material, but it has a stylish image and it’s much more environmentally friendly than both plastic and steel.
If you want to do some light traveling in a sustainable style, a glass water bottle could be for you. But be careful not to drop it! If you’re clumsy or doing something a little more intense than visiting a museum or a beach, consider plastic instead.
The Ello Syndicate BPA Free Glass Water Bottle
is very on-trend. It looks just as good sitting on your desk as it does 33,000 feet in the air or lounging around on a beach in Thailand. Just maybe don’t take it trekking.
Its convenient one-handed push-button lid is a nifty feature as well, making it easy to gulp down some water when you’re in desperate need.
This water bottle has an integrated carry loop and a protective silicone sleeve that adds much-needed padding. But you’ll find no BPA, phthalates, or lead traces on this thing!
Easy to clean – it’s dishwasher safe
Doesn’t trap odors or flavors
Not as versatile as a stainless steel bottle
Dry it as soon as you wash it – the space between the silicon and glass can grow mold
The problem with finding the best travel water bottle? Most bottles take up a lot of space.
Luckily, there’s a genius solution: collapsible water bottles. When you don’t need your bottle, you can just fold it up and make space for other gear.
The best collapsible water bottles pack down completely flat. They’re perfect for plane travel. They’re also a good idea to haul around as a back-up water bottle if you prefer to drink from something a little more rigid.
Now I’ll share some of the best collapsible water bottles for travel:
Need to save space? The Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle
is the perfect companion. It’s a super flexible water bottle made from silicon. You can just squish it right into your bag, making heaps of space for other odds and ends.
I like the Nomader’s bottle because they’re more rigid than the other ones on this list. This makes them easier to drink from. It has other practical features too, like a leak-proof screw cap, a hygienic drinking spout cover, and a carry strap.
You can roll it right up
Sturdy enough to prevent spills
Beverages tend to heat up in this drink bottle
The silicone attracts dirt
The narrow mouth makes it difficult to clean without a brush
The Platy 2.0L Bottle is more like a very durable plastic bag for water. It can hold the most water out of any bottle on this list, so it’s perfect if you’re going for a particularly long or grueling hike. This bottle is for the extremely space-poor. When it’s empty, it’s as a flat as a ziplock bag.
The Platy is BPA, BPS, and phthalate-free. One of its best features? It’s compatible with other Platypus-brand filters and tubes. Its only real downside is that the material is so soft, it can actually be a little hard to drink from.
Very light and completely flat when empty
It doesn’t leave weird tastes
Compatible with other Platy accessories
Perhaps a bit too soft – it’s tricky to drink from this one
It’s VERY difficult to clean, so it could get a little unhygienic after a while
The Vapur water bottles are pretty similar to the Platypus one above (they’re more like bags than bottles), but they have a few advantages. Unlike the Platy, the Vapur comes with a filter that you can use to get rid of any waterborne grossness in an emergency.
The Vapur Element
is freezable, so you can stick your bottle in the freezer overnight and enjoy long-lasting cool water all day long. The bottle is BPA-free, and you can clip it onto other bags. The tough flip cap is very hygiene-friendly since it keeps icky things out.
You can choose a wide mouth or standard style, whatever works best for you
Dishwasher safe – more hygienic
You can put it in the freezer so you have extra cold water all day
While metal water bottles are stronger and arguably more versatile, plastic water bottles are more cost-effective. Unlike metal water bottles, they’re flexible so they can’t develop dents.
While they’re not as eco-friendly as glass, reusable plastic water bottles have a very good lifespan if you take care of them, so they don’t have the same environmental impact that their single-use plastic cousins do.
Reusable plastic has several advantages, but there is one issue with certain kinds of plastic: Some contain BPA chemicals. While the FDA claims these chemicals are safe if used in small quantities in food and drink containers, BPAs have been linked to various health issues affecting brain development and blood pressure. If this kind of thing concerns you, it’s a good idea to look out for plastic bottles that are BPA free.
You’ve probably seen about a million of these around. Every backpacker on earth has one. This bottle is very popular because it’s almost a perfect choice: it’s reusable, it does what you need it to do, and it does it well. No bells and whistles needed.
Free from BPA, the Nalgene Wide Mouth
is the best bang for your buck that you’re going to get. Nalgenes are a great choice if you’re a multi-purpose traveler as they’re ideal for both hiking and general travel. It has a tethered screw-top cap, AND it’s leak-proof.
The wide mouth makes the bottle easy to clean and fill
No weird tastes or smells here
SImple, light, and durable
You can’t accidentally lose the bottle cap because it’s tethered to the bottle
The bottle is too big for most car cup holders
The wide mouth can cause water to spill down your face
Can’t choose between a glass or plastic water bottle? The KOR Nava Water Bottle
brings you the best of both worlds. Made with Tritan copolyester, this travel bottle gives you the look of glass without the risk of smashing it.
If you want a versatile travel water bottle that looks sleek, this is a great choice. The KOR is also one of those water bottles with filters! The carbon-activated filter is made with coconut shell, and it filters up to 40L. While it isn’t going to get rid of pathogens, this water bottle does a good job of taking the funk out of highly-chlorinated water.
It never leaks thanks to the pop-up straw and lockable cap
If you’re going on a trek or hike in a region where you’ll have access to clean water, you may not need a heavy-duty filtered water bottle. However, you’ll still need a bottle that’s more robust than the general traveler (if you’re a novice, be sure to read what to wear hiking).
Here are some of the best water bottles to take hiking in hot and cold weather.
The Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic
is an excellent water bottle for hiking in hot and cold environments. Nobody wants to go on a sweaty hike and have to deal with drinking warm water, and with the Klean Kanteen Classic, you don’t have to.
This travel water bottle keeps water cold for 90–yes, 90–hours. That’s epic insulation, thanks to its double-wall vacuum seal. It even keep liquid hot for 24 hours, so if you’re hiking through the snow and want to keep some hot tea to keep you going, you’ve got options. Hot or cold, this water bottle is a wonderful choice for hiking.
Made from super durable steel
The insulation to end all insulation
The narrow mouth makes it easy to drink while moving
No need for pockets: you can hook the cap onto your bag
Not quite as well insulated as the Klean Kanteen, this CamelBak Chute Vacuum
bottle is more suited to a shorter hike. It can keep water cold for a respectable 24 hours and hot for a lazy six. Its tether securely attaches the cap to the bottle for easy filling and refilling.
The biggest advantage of this water bottle is that it comes with an anti-slip finish so you can’t drop it so easily. It’s versatile enough for an everyday traveler, too. It comes with a half-turn lip that’s easy to sip from as well (a big bonus if you’re carrying hot liquid).
Staying hydrated can be a mammoth task on some trips, so you have to select water bottles for travel based on the conditions you’re going to face.
Personally, if I didn’t know WHAT to pick, I’d go for a stainless steel water bottle. These water bottles are as close as you can get to a perfect one-size-fits-all, especially if it has an insulation system. You’ll have a sturdy water bottle that works well across all kinds of climates without breaking the bank.
If you want the versatility and durability of steel without the extra weight, a reusable plastic bottle is a good option. While you could go for a more durable plastic, you’ll get the full advantage of this material with a collapsible plastic water bottle.
However, if you’re concerned about the impact that even reusable plastic has on the environment, glass is the best option. It also looks beautiful. The main disadvantage of glass is its fragility. It’s definitely not suited to a trip that involves any taxing physical activity.
Are you going into the back-country where there are no taps? Or maybe a place where sanitation is non-existent? You’ll need to keep yourself healthy during travel with a water bottle that has a reusable filter. Make sure it gets rid of both pathogens and other contaminants like heavy metals, microplastics, and chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides.
Here are the main things to consider when looking at water bottles for travel.
Durability: Are you traveling rough? Maybe you’re accident-prone? You’ll probably need to look for water bottles for travel that will handle rough conditions. A good water bottle could last you 20 years. Bonus points if it has a warranty.
Versatility: If you do a mix of travel, you need a water bottle that suits a variety of activities. Stainless steel and plastic water bottles win the competition there.
Space: You also want to think about your water bottle fitting in your travel bag. If you’re low on space, a flexible bottle you can squeeze into a corner of your hand luggage is a great idea.
Check for leaks: Who wants to find their travel bag filled with water? The more expensive a water bottle, the less likely it is to leak.
Environmental impact: Pollution is a major concern, especially in developing regions. The manufacturing of both plastic bottles and steel ones causes pollution, so make sure you purchase a travel bottle that is made to last for a long time.
Hygiene: Make sure you can clean your water bottle properly. They can grow mold and bacteria and get smelly. The most hygienic bottles are dishwasher safe.
Water quality: A high-tech filter or water purifier bottle isn’t necessary for most common tourist destinations. However, if you’re going off the beaten track, you literally can’t live without a water bottle with a filter.
Price: The prices of water bottles vary a lot. You can pick one up for two bucks or you can spend $200 on one. Price really depends on your needs, but you can still get a good water bottle for about $30.
Staying hydrated during travel should be simple, but it’s not. You have a plethora of choices. I’ve given you some epic insight into picking the right water bottle for travel.
Whether you’re going to hang out on the beach in Fiji or climb Kilimanjaro, you now know exactly what kind of water bottle you need!