Water Bottle

[Review] Hydro Flask 12 ounce coffee and tea flask

 Several years ago, I bought the 18 ounce coffee and tea flask with the flip top lid and said that it was close to perfection. One of my recommendations was for Hydro Flask to shrink it down to 12 ounces for those of us who want a smaller portion of coffee or tea. (or possibly have limited bag/backpack space to fit a bottle on your daily commute). Either way, this bottle completely answered what I wanted!

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So, after a year of use, here we go:

 I bought the white bottle because the powder coat paint job looks awesome. The little ‘hydro flask’ man logo and the hydro flask font are small enough that I think they look decent and don’t’ stick out too much. The white does, however, scuff a lot and show dirt easily (of course). Wash it regularly, though, and it’ll stay looking like new. If anything, the white forces me to keep it cleaner because I see the dirt. As for the inside, I clean it every other couple months or so to erase the coffee or tea stains that build up on the inside. Sometimes I scrub it with baking soda and a wire brush, sometimes I use some CLR (Calcium, Lime, and Rust) cleaner. With a little effort and a few grunts, you’ll have the inside of the bottle shiny and like new.

My biggest (and only) gripe with this bottle is the cap. In our family, we’ve actually had 5 of these 12 ounce bottles, and we’ve had to contact Hydro Flask warranty service because 3 of the caps either arrived faulty or broke within the first few days of use. This has me question whether Hydro Flask’s quality control is lacking. I have owned about 5 different varieties of Hydro Flask bottles and haven’t had problems with the caps until this 12 ounce version.  Another annoyance with this cap is that the small air vent always seems to get ‘clogged’ with a little bubble of liquid. This prevents your coffee or tea from flowing out freely until this clog is poked or blown out.

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All in all, I would absolutely continue to purchase from Hydro Flask. Their bottles are a bit more expensive than other brands, but they also consistently perform better (keeping cold drinks cold and hot drinks HOT) than other brands and are durably built. They also are backed with the great customer service that Hydro Flask gives. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to review 10 or so other brands of double walled, insulated bottles, and Hydro Flask is up at the top.

I give this bottle 4 out of 5 stars. It would be an easy 5 stars if I haven’t had so many problems with the caps on these.

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Buy it directly from Hydro Flask HERE. Expect to pay around $22.

[REVIEW] capCAP by humangear

Today’s review is for a product that will only cost you about $6. It isn’t much, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space, but some of you may wonder why you didn’t buy something like this a lot sooner!

The capCAP by humangear :

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The capCAP is a cleverly designed alternative to the very basic lid or cap that comes with your widemouth drinking bottle. I use a 32 oz Nalgene bottle as my daily water bottle. While the twist-off cap that comes with a Nalgene or Camelbak bottle may not necessarily be bad or poorly constructed, it could definitely be better. Here’s where the capCAP comes in:

A side by side comparison. (the capCAP is on the left).

A side by side comparison. (the capCAP is on the left).

The capCAP screws on just like the old cap does… so what is so good about it?

The top part of the capCAP, the blue part, screws off to create a smaller drinking spout. This makes drinking from the widemouth version of the bottle much easier. There is no worry of hitting your nose on the top of the bottle and it makes ‘drinking on the go’ much easier — I find it difficult to drink from the standard cap while walking because the water sloshes about and spills from around the edges of my mouth.

The blue part (other colors are available from humangear) is rubberized, so it’s very easy to unscrew. And it only takes one full rotation to screw on and off.

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I’ve been using this cap for about 2 or 3 months now — and it’s nearly the perfect cap, in my opinion. Nalgene should work with capCAP to ship all of the bottles with a cap like this.

But yes, I said ‘nearly the perfect cap’ — so what could be improved?

Well, it’s BPA free and made with FDA-approved food-safe plastic, so that’s good!

Here's Kitty, checking for any harmful chemicals in the capCAP. None!

Here’s Kitty, checking for any harmful chemicals in the capCAP. None!

OK, so the main thing that bothers me about this cap is the fact that the base of the cap AND the smaller cap both twist on and off in the same direction. So, for example, if the smaller cap is screwed on very tightly, unscrewing it might actually require enough force that the base unscrews with it as well. The smaller cap, on the top, should tighten in the OPPOSITE direction of the base. It would take a bit to get used to, at first, but it just makes more sense.

Another issue with this cap — and I saw that many people shared in this concern with me as I browsed some of the reviews on Amazon.com — is an odor issue. Some people claim that the rubber on the top of the cap absorbs smells of other foods (if the water bottle was packed in a lunch box, for example). Others say that the inside of the cap retains odors of any beverages in the bottle and must be washed very thoroughly after EVERY use.

I don’t have any experience with the above complaints, because I haven’t packed my bottle with other food, and I only use my Nalgene bottle for water. But I’ve noticed that if I don’t drink from my full Nalgene within a day or two, when I come back to it and unscrew capCAP, it stinks. It just… smells … like …. I don’t know, like old Tupperware or something. Like plastic that just really needs to be rinsed out and washed. I never had this issue while using the basic cap with my Nalgene bottle. It’s not a big enough problem to make me stop using capCAP, because it’s a super handy little cap with a great design, but it may be enough for me to reconsider buying another one, if it ever comes up.

I rate the capCAP by humangear 3 out of 5 stars:

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Hopefully they’ll be able to use some different materials and get rid of the odor problem, because humangear is really onto something special with this cap (and by the looks of the ratings on Amazon, most people seem to agree with me!)

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[Review] Hydro Flask 18oz Coffee, Tea, and Water Flask

Back in January, I reviewed the 18oz narrow mouth insulated bottle made by Hydro Flask. (click here to read it). Since then, I’ve gotten in touch with the kind people at Hydro Flask, and they sent me a sample of their 18oz wide mouth Coffee, Tea, and Water Flask to review. 

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So what is the big difference between this bottle and the last one I reviewed?

Well, the capacity is exactly the same. The only differences are the size of the opening and the style of the cap. But this small change makes a huge difference — it enables this version of the Hydro Flask to effectively handle both hot and cold drinks. Of course, the narrow mouth version I reviewed can also handle hot and cold beverages — but drinking hot drinks is a very risky maneuver without a sip lid (and nothing to block the steam from going into your face as you drink).

The flip & sip lid on the coffee and tea flask makes for very easy one-handed opening and closing.

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It actually secures very tightly and has a bit of force to it when it pops open — so if you are throwing your water bottle in a backpack or setting it down, always make sure that you press it down firmly to make sure it is closed.

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So what do I like about this water bottle? 

Overall, this water bottle is much more versatile than the 18oz narrow mouth bottle. The only thing missing, in my opinion, that the other one offers is the carabiner loop. Other than that, this one can do it all. I have used this coffee and tea flask for hot beverages more in the last 10 days than I used my narrow mouth bottle for hot beverages in the past year. It’s much easier to drink coffee or tea from the sip lid without burning your lips or tongue.

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Keep in mind, however, that this bottle works SO well that if you are pouring boiling water in this to steep some tea, you’ll probably want to leave the lid off to get it down to a more comfortable drinking temperature. Otherwise it’ll probably still be steaming in an hour, and you’ll be left wondering how long you have to wait to get your caffeine fix.

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Another great thing about the wide mouth bottle is the ease of cleaning it. Hydro Flask recommends pouring some hot water in it and using some baking powder to get any stains, but this is wide enough that you could easily scrub it with a toothbrush or sponge to keep it clean.

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The cap seems very durable and I can’t imagine it breaking under normal use.

For anybody wondering, there is also a screw top lid that can be purchased that adds a carrying loop for those who don’t need the convenience of a sip-top lid.

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So, what could possibly be improved?

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I don’t have too much of a problem with it, since i’m sure they’ve got their business strategy pretty well lined up, but I know a lot of people are pretty angry about how Hydro Flask has moved it’s production to China.

Edit: After checking in with Hydro Flask customer service, I was told: “Hydro Flasks have been manufactured in China from day 1. (There has been no recent move of production over there.) We would love to produce our bottles in the US, but the cost of manufacturing stainless steel domestically simply makes it unfeasible at this time. Our leadership and production teams do make regular visits to our factories in Asia to ensure both our quality standards and our fair labor standards are upheld!” 

These are very high quality stainless steel bottles, and you’d really need to have the right resources to produce them in the US and still have a good profit return, so I can understand the reasoning. Some people stress buying american made products, or even buying locally made products — and that’s absolutely fine!

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My only suggestion for this bottle is to consider a smaller size. 18 ounces, especially when you’re drinking that much of a hot liquid, is A LOT of ounces! It almost feels ridiculous to pour 18 ounces of coffee into it, compared to a normal coffee mug. In my opinion, a 12 ounce wide mouth bottle with this flip lid would be PERFECT for coffee or tea. It would also feel much more portable and easier to carry around / throw in the car / put in a backpack.

I give the 18oz Hyrdro Flask Coffee, Tea, and Water bottle 5 out of 5 stars.

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I had thought about giving it 4 stars based on the slightly unusual size for a coffee/tea bottle, but this bottle does what it is designed to do perfectly.

I have made this my go-to bottle and haven’t been using my narrow mouth much anymore. If I knew how great it was, I would’ve just bought this one in the first place!

You can find this bottle at REI, Amazon, or Hydro Flask for about $20-$23

[Review] Hydro Flask Water Bottle (Narrow Mouth)

In the past, my go-to water bottle used to be a Nalgene bottle. They’re nearly indestructible and can hold a great deal, so I didn’t need to refill it every couple minutes. A couple years ago, though, I began to see stainless steel drinking bottles taking over the shelves next to the Nalgene bottles in outdoor stores. So I went for it and bought a Hydro Flask water bottle.

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18oz Hydro Flask Bottle

18oz Hydro Flask Bottle

My First Impressions?

I noticed, just by looking at the selection in the store, that the paint can chip easily. So although I did really like some of the colors and the matte finish on them, I bought the ‘classic stainless’ version of it. It has a good weight to it, but it’s not too heavy.

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My Thoughts upon using it?

Hydro Flask claims that it will keep your beverage hot for up to 12 hours or cold for up to 24 hours. And I’ve found that this is accurate. It can be a great way to have an ice cold refreshment on a hiking trip, or even a way to transport hot water on a winter hike.  (sometimes I’ve even filled it up with boiling water just to carry it around and warm my hands on the steam for a while!)

After a year of use, my bottle still looks great. It only has one small ding in the bottom of it, where it took a tumble onto a concrete floor. I have dropped it other times, though, and it hasn’t shown any other signs of abuse. The ‘classic stainless’ finish definitely ages better than the other bottles, as scratches blend into the stainless steel finish much better.

My only complaint with this bottle is that sometimes, even if I think I screwed the cap on tightly, it will leak a little bit in my backpack or as I’m carrying it. That rarely happens, but when it does it seems that it comes a tad bit loose on its own and just needs to be re-tightened.

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One of the best things about this bottle (besides the remarkable amount of time it can insulate drinks) is that the inside of it has no liner like most bottles. Just rinse it out and you’re ready to pour a new beverage in it. In my experience, it doesn’t retain the flavor from the last drink you had in it at all.

I recommend the Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle for:

Anybody! Seriously. Whether you are an outdoors enthusiast or an office worker, this should replace those mountain dew or coke bottles that you’ve been reusing as water bottles. I use mine at home, at work, and on backpacking trips. The loop-top cap is great to clip onto the side of your backpack for quick access. If you’re hesitant to buy it because of the price, I say “GO FOR IT!” I felt a little silly paying $30 for a water bottle when I first got it, but I’ve definitely gotten my $30 out of it already, and it still has years and years of life left in it. 

And Tea and coffee drinkers should check out the ‘coffee and tea flask‘ (it’s next on my list to buy!) They also make some pretty cool ‘food flasks‘ to carry soup, warm meals, or any other hot (or cold, of course) liquids!

I give the Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle 5 out of 5 Stars!

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(I’d buy it again!)

The special "Osprey" brand edition of the Hyrdro Flask bottle.

The special “Osprey” brand edition of the Hyrdro Flask bottle.