Everyday Carry

How to Choose the Best Water Bottle for Your EDC

Authored by:
Bernard Capulong

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It’s hot out. Brutal, at times. Staying hydrated throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to keep cool against this summer’s unrelenting heat. Drinking plenty of water is also just a healthy habit to have! For something as essential as water to keep nearby, not just any bottle will do for your daily carry. In this Carry Smarter guide, we’ll break down some key features to consider when picking an everyday bottle and recommend our favorites to fit your hydration needs.

How to Choose a Water Bottle for Everyday Carry

You should opt for a reusable water if you’ll be drinking often during the day, every day. It saves you money over buying bottled water, and it’s better for the environment too. A water bottle, like other EDC essentials, can be a very personal item to shop for, with plenty of factors to consider. To help you better understand what makes a bottle EDC-worthy, let’s briefly go through some of the most important ones:

  • Choose high quality, durable materials. Like with most EDC gear, your bottle needs to be dependably durable. Along with its construction, the materials used play a big role in making a suitable vessel for daily carry, use, and the occasional accidental abuse. Commonly used materials include food grade stainless steel, (hopefully) BPA-free plastics, and good old-fashioned glass, among others.

  • Make sure it won't leak. When you’re carrying water along with things you consider absolutely essential and necessary to your day, you don’t want to risk a leaky bottle. It’ll leave you out of a drink, with your gear, and your day, ruined.

  • Get something that's easy to use. A good bottle serves up a quick drink no matter where you are with no fuss. Bottle caps and lids come in so many different shapes and designs — you’ll want one with fewer loose parts to lose or break, and ones that hit a balance of easy to open but difficult to accidentally leak.
  • Carry just enough water for your needs. This is another one of those tricky things that you’ll need to figure out. You’ll need a bottle that can hold enough water that’ll last you long enough on longer trips away from a place to refill that doesn’t get cumbersome and heavy on your person. It’s different for everyone, but a good range to start would be 16 oz (473ml) to 24 oz (708ml). That’s the range most of our recommended bottles will fall into.

  • Don't let your bottle weigh you down. Weight considerations vary for different materials: stainless steel and glass can get heavy, so you might want to get those in smaller capacities, whereas plastic bottles are usually lighter and allow you to carry more water. But don’t underestimate the weight of a full bottle sitting in your bag for hours on a scorching day!

  • Make sure it fits. As for size, look for bottles that fit your hand, your bag, your bike cage, your car’s cupholder, etc. (wherever you’ll want it ready most often during the day.) Also consider the bottle's grip and finish as slippery bottles that "sweat" can really get out of hand.
  • Be mindful of taste. This is another subjective factor, but you might find the taste of your water changes depending on the vessel it’s in. For some, that can be a dealbreaker. Cleaning and maintenance can help to a lesser extent, but we won’t consider that so much for EDC-able bottles in this guide.

  • Get the right bottle for the job. Lastly, like the essentials we choose to carry, bottle designs and features serve different purposes for different applications. Think carefully about where and how you’ll be using your bottle, then pick something that you think will excel in those scenarios in addition to everyday hydration duty.

There’s a ton of bottles out there. And as you just read, plenty to consider. Here’s our best shot at making the search easier for you:

For those who want an all-around EDC bottle…

Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Hydro Flask bottles earn their spot as a great everyday bottle for getting so many things right in their design, construction and features. It’s uniformly slim for a comfortable grip, which is only enhanced by its “non-sweat” unique powder-coated finish. Water stays cold through even your longest days (up to 24 hours) out thanks to its double wall vacuum insulation. Its BPA-free stainless steel construction handles drops with dependable durability to stand up to everyday use. Lastly, its flip top is easy to operate one handed for quick sips on the go.

BUY ($26)

For the outdoor adventurer…

Klean Kanteen Classic Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Klean Kanteen have a well-deserved reputation of making high quality stainless steel bottles with durability you wouldn’t expect from their price tag. While they’re great for everyday hydration, this non-insulated option lets you throw it on the campfire when trekking outdoors to boil out anything unsafe to drink in the water you’ll collect in the wild. Stainless steel construction lets it survive drops in any terrain, while a looped screw cap lets you easily carry your precious water without fear of it leaking.

BUY ($18)

For those who want H2O, not BPA, in their drink…

Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle

When shopping for a plastic bottle, be sure to check what kind of plastic it uses. It’s important to choose one that’s BPA-free to be sure you’re drinking pure water and not nasty toxins given off from low quality plastic. Nalgene has been making water bottles for over 20 years, now featuring heavy-duty, BPA-free, impact resistant Eastman Tritan co-polyester. This bottle features a wide mouth opening for easy drinking, measurements in both ounces and milliliters, and a threaded plastic loop top to ensure leakage won’t be an issue. Thirstier EDCers can appreciate its 32 oz. capacity, as its lightweight plastic won’t weigh down your carry as much as bottles from other materials can. Even still, Nalgenes come in plenty of sizes, colors, and cap configurations to suit your liking.

BUY ($14)

For those after the cleanest taste…

Takeya Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve

Many people prefer drinking from glass bottles because of its purer taste over metals and absence of leaching chemicals found in some plastics. It doesn’t keep water cold for as long as an insulated bottle, but it still provides a tasty drink. This offering from Takeya is a stylish, well-designed, and durable glass water bottle. A silicone outer sleeve protects the already thick-walled glass while adding extra grip in hand. A viewing window cutout makes it easy to check how much water’s left and lends to its modern design. Its wide mouth top includes a carrying loop and airtight cap, making it both easy to carry and leak-proof — ideal for everyday bag carry.

BUY ($22)

For those with less room to work with…

Vapur Element Bottle

One downside to carrying a rigid bottle is that once it’s empty, it takes up valuable space in your carry long after it’s served its purpose. A collapsible bottle like the Vapur Element works great to store water, featuring BPA-free materials, one-hand operable flip top, and ability to stand firm when filled. Better yet, once it’s empty, it conveniently rolls up to save space. Its integrated carabiner clips it closed and is versatile enough for different carry options no matter how you like to keep your bottle nearby.

BUY ($12)

For those who train hard and carry smart…

Camelbak Podium Chill Water Bottle

If you’re often on the move and in need of quick hydration, the Camelbak Podium should fit into your fast-paced lifestyle. Its sport bottle design boasts light weight, easily squeezable BPA-free plastic, a double-walled construction to keep your drinks colder for longer, and a self-sealing valve to prevent spills and leaks.

BUY ($11)

For the on-the-go caffeine fiends…

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug

For some of us, coffee can seem just as essential to getting through the day as our EDC setup. For that, Zojirushi makes a travel mug with a design and feature set that make it feel like another piece of EDC gear. It’s vacuum insulated to keep coffee hot and water cold for hours, streamlined and lightweight by design for easy carry and ergonomics in hand, and lockable to prevent any disastrous hot coffee spills. The lock and lid operate by pushbutton, with a satisfying activation and buttery smooth opening. If you love effortless knife deployment or clicky flashlights and pens, this is the bottle you need to experience.

BUY ($32)

Did we miss anything in our list? What are your favorite bottles for EDC? We and our other readers would love to know — leave us a recommendation in the comments. Stay hydrated, my friends.

Words by Bernard Capulong and Ed Jelley

Photos and Imagery by Ed Jelley and Bernard Capulong

Bernard Capulong

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

About the Author
Bernard Capulong is an everyday carry (EDC) gear expert, entrepreneur, all-around nerd, and the founder and editor-in-chief of EverydayCarry.com—the largest online community for EDC gear enthusiasts. Since founding Everyday Carry in 2009, he’s built over a decade of experience in the industry, reviewing and highlighting brands and products, including pocket knives, flashlights, wallets, watches, bags, pens, and much more.

Bernard is known for bringing everyday carry out of obscurity and into the mainstream, having been published or featured in various publications such as GQ, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, VICE, HYPEBEAST, Outside, and many others. He has also played a part in curating, designing, and developing digital and physical products, resulting in successful crowdfunding projects or limited edition collaboration products with established softgoods brands. He stays on the pulse of the EDC industry by attending trade shows, participating in online interest communities, and actively engaging with fellow gear enthusiasts on social media.

In addition to being the editor-in-chief and main social media personality for EverydayCarry.com, Bernard is an avid gearhead and collector in general. His personal collections span technical bags, fountain pens, digital cameras, retro gaming hardware, personal hi-fi audio gear, and mechanical wristwatches, to name a few. Bernard Capulong is a prominent figure and trusted authority in the everyday carry industry with a career dedicated to helping people discover this hobby and stay prepared with quality gear.

Discussion (58 total)

Chad North ·
The best all around water bottle material is titanium as it's light, strong, and 100% biocompatible (i.e. not harmful to living tissue or organisms which is why it's preferred for medial implants). The trade off is, of course, the price. Aluminum and stainless will corrode over time and leach nasties into your water (and you!) and others have noted the ongoing issues with plastics, BPA free or not. Save up and spend well. Vargo and Heavy Cover offer some great pure, uncoated/unlined titanium water containers.
Bejon Parsinia ·
I've been carrying a Hydroflask for the last year. It is rugged, well insulated and stores 32 ounces, keeping it cold/hot for several hours. A bit bulky on the carry side, it doesn't fit in my car cup holders or backpack sleeve, but I still carry it all the same.
I too have a Hydroflask (40oz) I've used it every single day since i've owned it, works great!
Maclain Silvey ·
That Zojirushi is the best insulated bottle I have ever had. way better than my Thermos.
I spent 2 nights in the open with temps below freezing and still had steaming coffee on the second morning!
alan j hornung ·
How about the SIGG Aluminum Bottles I have 4 of them and the MiiR Growler or new one at REI Liberty Bottleworks Mass Transite. I also have 6 Military 1943-1945 stainless steel Canteens that I use.
NotoriousAPP ·
The Zojirushi is an amazing bottle. I have one for tea/water and one for coffee, never mix the two up because the coffee flavor does stay with the water bottle. These bottles keep they're contents cold or hot for a long time.

I'm surprised by the absence of two different water bottles from this list:

1) AVEX Summit Water Bottles with their Autoseal Technology. Not only are these cheap but they're double wall insulated, inexpensive, you can choose between stainless and plastic and I've never ever ever had one leak, the Autoseal Technology is legit. I've dropped the plastic one numerous times and it continues to work flawlessly.

2) Any of the Liberty Bottleworks bottles. I love the 1/4 turn cap, easy on, easy off. They offer many different colors and artistic patterns on them which is cool. I've never had an issue with them leaking. Only downside is that they're not insulted so they do sweat.
Eugene Lempert ·
I have tired Liberty and got very different results then you. They absorb and retain odors, being single walled aluminum bottles, not very durable. they are pretty..and thats about it.
Doug French ·
You left out some really great water bottles from Thermos. Super insulated, will keep water cold for up to 12 plus hours. Stainless steel exterior on some models and a wide mouth for ice cubes, easy open locking cap, never leaks. I sell water bottles from 50 manufacturers and if you want cold water in a tough bottle Thermos is the best.
Quenching Your Thirst ·
Hi Everyday Carry,

Great article, and cool website! As you reviewed in your article, we also like the Hydro Flask water bottle as its vacuum insulated stainless steel walls keep your water cold for the whole day! Recently we wrote a similar article titled Best Water Bottle For Daily Use. Amongst other options, we talk about the Hydro Flask (our top pick!) as being the best water bottle for day-to-day. If you are interested, you can read the full article on our website, quenchingyourthirst.com

Scott Johnson ·
I used to carry a 1 litre Nalgene with a capcap cap. No that is not a typo. The capcap turns a wide mouth bottle into a narrow mouth bottle but can be removed for easy cleaning and filling. The Nalgene doesn't fit the cup holder in the car so I now use a Blender Bottle without the wire wisk.
John Sully ·
It can't be stressed enough about the weight. It may seem superfluous but the water bottle full will be most likely the heaviest thing in your bag. If you have a messanger bag in particular it can cause your shoulder un needed stress if you walk around with it full all the time.
Jed Edwards ·
Nalgene do produce a 500ml variant of their Wide-mouth tritan - I have both that and the 1L, they each do a good job depending on what load I want to carry.
weezer9 ·
Can anyone identify the maxpedition bag or organizer that is pictured in the article?
Jed Edwards ·
I believe It's a Pygmy Falcon II.
dave ·
what kind of water bottle pouch is that on the backpack? (molle compatible?)
Jed Edwards ·
the pouch is built into the pack, which is Maxpedition's Pygmy Falcon II
Arcturus ·
I have two 21oz and one 40 oz insulated, stainless steel Hydro Flasks. These are the best water bottles I have ever used. These bottles will keep your water cold all day. I frequently use to 21 oz bottle in my car, and even after leaving it in the hot, closed cabin for several hours the water is still cool. These bottles can't be beat!
Rob Muirhead ·
Fred water flask!!!!!! Best bottle I've ever had.
MoTrippy ·
I bring a vapur bottle when travelling/vacation as it's really portable. For everyday i've had a Hydroflask for a year or two but as a previous commenter has said, while insulation and capacity is awesome, it's quite bulky and dsnt fit car cup holders. I have yet to try a separate holder/carry attachment but can't find any in stores here. I alternate it with an envirosak aqua skinny bottle which addresses the size/bulk challenge but doesn't hve great insulation.
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