Hyrdroflask, YETI, and Nalgene - An Ongoing Battle For Water Bottle Supremacy
If you’re a working stiff, you’ve no doubt invested in a water bottle that sits next to the monitor on your desk. I don’t exactly know when the Nalgene began it’s takeover of the water bottle market, but over the course of a few years they have slowly become ubiquitous in the office, on the bedside table, and in fitness classes across this great nation of ours.
I can’t walk a city block without seeing a stranger carrying a half full nalgene by the little plastic thing that sits attached to the cap. I myself have a 32 ouncer as well as a 48 ounce behemoth. I use both for different situations, the 48 stays mostly inside my bedroom where I’m liable to drink at least 20 ounces over the course of a night spent sleeping. The 32 oz. is my office water bottle. I try to drink three or four bottles per day, which gives me built in excuses to visit the bathroom or get refills every few hours to break up the monotony of cubicle life.
Simply put, the Nalgene is everywhere. No one is drinking water from glasses or cups anymore unless it’s at the dinner table. We’re all slugging it back from But lately I’ve been noticing a trend towards water bottles that insulate better. If there’s one complaint I have with the Nalgene, it’s that it doesn’t keep water cold for very long. Enter YETI and Hydroflask, two upstarts trying to put a dent in the Nalgene empire. Both have been gunning for the Iron Throne that is the water bottle industry, but only one can emerge victorious. I present to you a case study in the three - at the end of this presentation I’ll give you my final verdict on what I like, but ultimately this is up to you. I’m sure many of you are going to go with auto-pick - YETI - but hear me out.
As I mentioned earlier, I have two of these suckers. It is the quintessential water bottle. Before Nalgene, I don’t think it ever dawned on anyone that a water bottle could be used outside of physical activity. It was a glass of water next to the bed or at the desk.
During physical activity, getting water into the body was confined to the classic spray bottle that you would mostly see on top of a hockey goalie’s net.
So going off of pure nostalgia, Nalgene is nice. They are an OG’s in the water bottle universe. It’s portability with that screw on, screw off plastic top is perfect for on-the-go drinking while doing something active, but again, this brand gets docked for inability to keep the water cold.
This is a brand in the world of water bottles that is relatively new (they came out in ‘09), but they’re really starting to make waves within the community. My one pet peeve? These things are heavy as all hell. They’re just real slobber knockers.
You could kill someone by knocking them over the head with a Hydro Flask, and while it does keep water extremely cold, they just aren’t as portable as the 32 ounce Nalgene bottles. If you’re on a picnic and want a little cold sink juice (aka tap water) with your meal, the Hydro Flask is a good bet because you can toss it in your tote. Same goes for the office. Nothing chaps my ass like some lukewarm water, and Hydro Flask will keep it cold. But the weight, along with the widemouth design is something I simply cannot abide by.
Has anyone had a more meteoric rise than YETI? They started out as a cooler company and changed the game forever. Now they make mugs, water bottles, and anything else you can think of in terms of portable cooler tech. They are the most versatile of the bunch here.
YETI offers twist-on, twist-off style bottles (very similar to the Hydro-Flask) as well as mugs that can keep stuff hot or cold. I have a 32 ounce YETI tumbler that I use for coffee, and while I love the thing, it’s also difficult to carry. It doesn’t fit conveniently in my cupholder in my ‘08 Impala, and I’ve found that the plastic cap (which claims to keep stuff hot for hours on end) doesn’t really do it’s job all that well. I know we’re basing this on water bottles and not on coffee cups, but I think it’s worth mentioning because the tumbler that I use is often used by others as a vehicle for water.
Yeti has a bottle very similar in weight and size to the Hydro Flask. If these two companies could figure out a way to put their cooling tech into a lightweight bottle I’m all for it, but for now I’m reticent to buy either product for the purposes of carrying water.
Ultimately I have to side with Nalgene. I’ve been using their water bottles for years, and I don’t ditch products based off of the latest and greatest stuff out there. Everytime I replace a Nalgene water bottle I choose a different color. My identity, in a small way, is attached to my Nalgene bottle. Sometimes I’ll go with a classic clear bottle, other times I go with something fluorescent. I’ll probably get killed for siding with Nalgene when there is better technology in both YETI and Hydro Flask, but I’m a loyal dog. Nalgene remains king of the castle.