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The Best Water Bottles for Travel

By Kelly Bastone and AFAR Editors

May 7, 2020

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Whether you’re looking for something lightweight or with a built-in filter, there’s a water bottle for your type of travels on this list.

Courtesy of Purist, Klean Kanteen, and Larq

Whether you’re looking for something lightweight or with a built-in filter, there’s a water bottle for your type of travels on this list.

With features ranging from built-in filtration to enviable good looks, these reusable water bottles make it easy to ditch single-use plastic water bottles and stay hydrated when you’re on the go.

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No matter where we travel, we never leave home without a reusable water bottle. And since every year brings new technological advances that help keep our beverages colder and hotter, our bottles lighter, and our water cleaner, there’s always a new one for us to try out. After extensive, hands-on testing of some of the newest bottles on the market, we’ve reviewed and found the 10 best—including a few time-tested favorites—for just about any water-related travel need. These are the best travel water bottles to pack on your next trip:

  1. Yeti Rambler
  2. EcoVessel Aspen
  3. Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 
  4. Klean Kanteen TKWide
  5. Bindle Slim
  6. Vapur Anti-Bottle
  7. Katadyn BeFree
  8. Lifestraw Go
  9. Larq Bottle
  10. Purist Collective Maker
The Yeti Rambler will keep your drink cold for days.

Yeti Rambler

  • Highlights: Durable and keeps drinks cold for days
  • Buy Now: $50, yeti.com

The 36-ounce Yeti Rambler looks impressively beefy: Its very appearance promises to preserve your drink’s original temperature no matter what—and the Rambler makes good. Want to go backpacking for a few days and find an ice-studded bottle of lemonade when you return to your car? This is your vessel. We’ve successfully transported ice cream in this bottle (after chilling it with cold water).

As with many well-insulated bottles on the market, the Rambler is made with double-walled, food-grade stainless steel. But it’s tougher and hardier than most: You can drop this bottle from a first-floor balcony and find it undented from the fall. And unlike most double-walled bottles, which require hand washing, the Rambler is dishwasher safe.

The extra-wide opening is both a pro and a con: It means the lip won’t collide with your nose, but it does allow for a possible tsunami of drink should you sip in bumpy conditions. Wider (3.75 inches) and heavier (22 ounces) than most comparable bottles, the body is too big for most cars’ cupholders. But the simple screw-top lid is particularly comfortable to hold, in part because it accommodates three fingers, instead of one or two as other bottles do, and the rounded plastic doesn’t dig into your skin when the bottle is heavy with water.

The streamlined EcoVessel Aspen fits in most cupholders.

EcoVessel Aspen

  • Highlights: The sleek and stylish solution for most travelers, most of the time
  • Buy Now: $32, ecovessel.com

The 25-ounce Aspen manages to pack impressive water-cooling properties into a streamlined shape. It slides easily into cupholders and the holsters on most totes and backpacks. But this bottle’s comparatively thin walls keep drinks cool (or hot, as you prefer) for an astonishingly long time: EcoVessel claims cold water and drinks will stay cold for 100 hours, making the EcoVessel Aspen one of the best water bottles for hot climates.

We haven’t fully tested that boast but can confirm that this bottle kept water icy for a full day, even in roastingly hot weather. 

That said, ice isn’t always easy to fit inside the relatively narrow, 1.5-inch opening—some larger cubes do get stuck. Once inside, though, they last a long time, thanks to a three-layer construction that sandwiches copper between two layers of stainless steel. It’s recyclable but also durable (with a 100-year warranty!), so you’re not likely to deal with this bottle’s end-of-life issues. Losing it is more likely—leaving some lucky finder to enjoy its sleek good looks.

Klean Kanteen TKWide

  • Highlights: Best for travelers who want to keep all their beverage options open
  • Buy Now: $21 (was $30), rei.com 

Sure, you can fill this 16-ounce bottle with water, and we do. But its four interchangeable lids make the new TKWide bottle from Klean Kanteen ready for anything. We like the Café Cap, which features a small opening perfect for sipping coffee that twists closed, saving you and your bag from spills. It also has a metal swing handle that makes it easy to tote along on hikes, but snaps to the side when you don’t need it. The Wide Straw Cap comes with a 10-millimeter, stainless steel–and-silicone straw that accommodates thicker beverages, like smoothies or frozen margaritas. 

The BPA-free, food-grade stainless steel bottle is insulated, keeping contents hot for up to 14 hours or iced up to 47 hours. It’s also treated with Klean Kanteen’s proprietary, chip-resistant Klean Coat finish and backed the brand’s lifetime “Strong as Steel” guarantee.

And Klean Kanteen’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond giving consumers an option to replace single-use plastic bottles. In April of 2020, Klean Kanteen announced that it is 100 percent carbon neutral in its manufacturing and delivery of products as well as Climate Neutral Certified.

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth

  • Highlights: The best water bottle for outdoor adventurers
  • Buy now: $45, hydroflask.com

Hydro Flask has long been a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts because the brand’s bottles boast excellent insulation, feature a comfortable, flexible plastic swing handle, and come in a variety of sizes and bright colors.

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We like the 21-ounce standard mouth bottle with a sport cap option, and the 32-ounce wide-mouth bottle with a straw lid option. And Hydro Flask’s double-wall insulation will keep your drinks temperature-stabilized for a full day’s hike—24 hours for ice-cold beverages and up to 12 hours for hot ones. 

The Bindle Slim is a wallet and water bottle all in one.

Bindle Slim

  • Highlights: The stealth storage solution ideal for beaches and day hikes
  • Buy Now: $31 (was $39), amazon.com

You expect a water bottle to hold water, but because travelers tend to carry more than just that, the Bindle Bottle doubles as a wallet. Unscrew the bottom section of this vacuum-insulated vessel and you’ll find a small storage compartment.

It’s just big enough for a hotel key or a few bills, which makes it handy on the beach: You can swim while your valuables hang out in relative secrecy. The Bindle Bottle is also useful at the gym (you can stash your locker key in the bottle instead of a pocket, which many workout clothes lack).

It’s not, however, ideal for running. Even the new Bindle Slim, a tall, double-walled 20-ounce option that fits in most universal cupholders, is too large and bulky to carry while logging your morning miles. Short hikes are OK: The cap’s broad handle makes it comfortable to hold while walking.

The wide opening makes the Bindle Slim easy to fill and accommodates ice cubes and fruit chunks (for those who like infused drinks). The food-grade stainless steel ensures that no BPA or other suspicious chemicals contact your water. Its matte powder-coat finish even comes in multiple colors and a few patterns—which seems fitting for a bottle that can also serve as a handbag.

The Vapur Anti-Bottle is a space-saving option for those who travel light.

Vapur Anti-Bottle

  • Highlights: The collapsible water bottle alternative for people who pack light
  • Buy Now: $7 (was $12), rei.com

The Vapur Anti-Bottle is one of the best travel water bottles for planes and an efficiency expert’s dream. When full, the water pouch holds almost 24 ounces of liquid, but empty, it weighs a mere 2 ounces and occupies about as much space as a wallet. The cap has a built-in carabiner for latch-and-go ease, and the body’s three-ply, BPA-free plastic is pliable enough to fold up into the clip. But don’t let the flexibility fool you—this pouch is durable enough to resist leaks, regardless of how many times it’s been rolled, twisted, or shoved in a full backpack. The Anti-Bottle can also stand on its own when full (or half full, or anything but empty, really).

Refills are a breeze with a hard plastic wide mouth at the cap’s base, and a much narrower mouthpiece protected by a flip top makes for spill-free sipping. Active adventurers will appreciate the DrinkLink tube accessory that converts the Anti-Bottle into a hands-free hydration reservoir. This collapsible bottle alternative is dishwasher safe, so there’s no need to buy a special cleaning tool for the interior. It’s also freezable, meaning it can serve as an ice pack if necessary.

The silicone BeFree bottle from Katadyn is a collapsible filter bottle.

Katadyn BeFree

  • Highlights: The space-saving filter bottle for outdoor adventurers and germaphobes
  • Buy Now: $45, rei.com

When empty, this collapsible flask packs down to the size of an apple, yet it delivers huge benefits: Its drinking spout sits on top of a (replaceable) filter that effectively traps protozoa and other disease-causing organisms. That means you can fill the silicone flask from any suspicious source and immediately enjoy clean water wherever you are.

The hollow-fiber filter delivers a pleasingly fast flow that’s genuinely thirst-quenching during exercise. Whereas some filters (including the Lifestraw, below) limit the flow to smaller sips, the BeFree releases a big, mouth-filling gulp—which we appreciated on 14,000-foot Colorado peaks where exertion and altitude left us too breathless to work hard for small returns on water.

We’ve used the one-liter BeFree to drink from roadside streams, backcountry lakes, hillside springs, and airport bathrooms—and can report no resulting ill effects. And you can count on a cartridge to last for several trips: Each one filters 1,000 liters (says Katadyn) and replacements cost $25.

But the BeFree doesn’t filter out funky flavors. It’s designed to be ultra-light and compact, so there’s no carbon element to neutralize foul tastes or smells. The bottle’s squishy design has advantages (packability) and disadvantages (it can be clumsy to hold). Instead, the filter-as-you-sip system is perfect for trail running, backcountry trekking, long-haul flights (no need to trust the airplane’s grimy water tank!), and any trip where you’ll need plenty of water but don’t want to be burdened by surplus water weight.

The Lifestraw Go features a filter and a flip-spout lid.

Lifestraw Go

  • Highlights: The flip-straw filter bottle for off-the-beaten-path travelers
  • Buy Now: $53, amazon.com

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The 22-ounce Lifestraw Go is one of the best water bottles with a filter. It looks like a basic plastic bottle with flip-spout lid, but the “straw” inside is actually a two-stage filter. Its hollow-fiber membrane traps bacteria, parasites, and even microplastics. Then, an activated carbon capsule neutralizes unpleasant flavors and odors.

Yes, you have to suck a bit harder on this mouthpiece than you would from an unfiltered straw. But you’ll hardly grow faint: The hollow-fiber technology delivers a speedier flow than most other filters.

Replacement cartridges cost $15, and since one filter treats 100 liters, that’s generally less than the cost of buying a similar amount of bottled water. The large, bottle-length filter also displaces a significant amount of liquid, so the 22-ounce capacity is misleading. With the filter inside, the Go holds more like 15 ounces.

The trade-off is convenience. The Go is super-handy for city and country travel—especially in places where the drinking water isn’t always trustworthy. It fits tidily into bottle pockets on backpacks and in cars’ cupholders, and the BPA-free plastic is thicker and tougher than most: Lifestraw builds each bottle for a long life of service. Promoting reusable plastics is just one part of the company’s sustainability program: Lifestraw also provides clean drinking water to needy communities. With each Go purchase, the company provides one child with a year’s worth of water.

Larq Bottle

  • Highlights: The self-purifying bottle that makes clean water elegant
  • Buy Now: $95, livelarq.com

The 17-ounce Larq Bottle is expensive, but your money buys you a lot—including a germ-free water bottle. It’s not always easy to remember to wash your water bottle while traveling, but the Larq does it for you. The bottle’s cap is fitted with an ultraviolet light that disrupts the DNA in bacteria and viruses, rendering them unable to reproduce (which is how they cause diseases). And not only does the UV light kill waterborne microorganisms, but it also does so regularly, by automatically firing the UV beam every two hours to kill germs that may have been introduced from your mouth or a questionable water source.

Unlike UV pens, the Larq doesn’t use mercury, which causes environmental problems when it’s tossed into landfills. Plus, the Larq’s UV bulb has more stamina, lasting 40 times longer than mercury-based technology (according to Larq).

The bottle also uses a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that lasts one to two months on a single charge. Pressing the top of the cap activates the light: Tap once for normal purification, or twice for “adventure mode,” which is useful when you suspect your water may be loaded with harmful microorganisms.

Even if you never refill it with untreated water, the Larq is an attractive bottle that uses double-walled stainless steel construction to keep beverages cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. And if it also self-cleans between proper washes? That’s priceless.

The Purist Collective Maker looks like a stainless steel bottle but is actually lined with glass.

Purist Collective Maker

  • Highlights: A lightweight glass water bottle that looks and insulates like a stainless steel one
  • Buy Now: $40, puristcollective.com

Glass bottles are great at repelling flavors and odors, which makes them particularly versatile: You can switch among coffee, water, and wine without any whiff of the previous beverage infiltrating the next. And unlike some plastics and metals, glass doesn’t leach chemicals into your drink.

But glass is heavy. Most glass water bottles (like the silicone-wrapped ones made by Lifefactory) might be great for home but feel too burdensome for travel.

Purist Collective solves this problem by lining its high-quality, surgical-grade stainless steel bottles with an ultra-thin layer of nonporous glass. We filled the Maker with coffee and cream in the morning, then refilled it with water—and discerned no java aftertaste.

The glass veneer is so thin that the Purist weighs no more than other double-walled metal bottles, so it’s easy to tote around all day.

The three bottle models come with basic screw-top caps with carrying loops, but additional caps can be purchased, including a flip-top and a leakproof one that will rotate to let you adjust the flow and sip from anywhere around the top. 

Even better than the clean, modernist design is the give-back program: Purist Collective partners with a network of social and environmental nonprofits, encouraging collaboration among the organizations, promoting their good work, and contributing financially to their efforts. So this good-looking bottle does good, too.

This article originally appeared online in November 2018; it was updated on May 6, 2020, and March 2, 2021, to reflect current information. 

>>Next: Why I’m Stocking Up on These Perfect Insulated Travel Mugs

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