Travel Water Bottles — Stay Hydrated and Reduce Your Environmental Impact!

Travel water bottles come in various guises. Some allow you to drink water from almost any source, others pack down super small when not in use. Occasionally reusable travel bottles are insulated, while others are ultra-lightweight. There are even smart bottles for travel which track your hydration habits and tell you when it’s time to drink! 

Whatever type of reusable water bottle you opt for, you’ll reduce your plastic footprint and ensure you stay hydrated on the road! 


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Best Travel Water Bottles — Quick Answers!

Image Product Features Price
Best Filtered Travel Water Bottle
Grayl UltraPress
Grayl UltraPress
  • Purifier 
  • Durable
  • Easy To Use
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Best Plastic Travel Water Bottle
Polar Bottle 30oz
Polar Bottle 30oz
  • Lightweight
  • Durable 
  • Great Value For Money
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Best Metal Travel Water Bottle
LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis
LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis
  • Self-Cleaning
  • Cleans Your Water
  • Tough
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Best Collapsible Travel Water Bottle
Platypus Soft Bottle
Platypus Soft Bottle
  • Collapsible
  • Ultra-Lightweight 
  • Great Value
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Best Travel Bottle For Hikers
Katadyn BeFree
Katadyn BeFree
  • Collapsible
  • Filter
  • Ultralight
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Reusable Water Bottles for Travel — Top Choices

Polar Bottle

Polar Bottle Breakaway Bike Water Bottle - BPA Free, Cycling & Sports Squeeze Bottle (Wave - Charcoal & Black, 30 oz)

Pros
  • Lightweight insulation
  • Durable
  • Well priced
Cons
  • Limited volume options
  • Some models must be squeezed to get liquid out
  • Built for cyclists — Polar Bottles are built for cyclists. This means they’re rugged, lightweight and easy to drink from while moving! 
  • Insulation — Polar Bottle produce both single-skin and insulated bottles. The insulated bottles are slightly larger which is to be expected. That said, Polar Bottle’s proprietary Tri-layer insulation system is much thinner and lighter than traditional vacuum insulation! It’s also much more durable, able to survive the knocks and bangs of cycling as well as travel! 
  • Volume — Polar Bottles are available in a range of sizes. The smaller 440ml bottles aren’t all that useful for travellers but the larger 710ml and 880ml versions are more suitable. The 880ml bottle is only available in a non-insulated single-skin model.
  • Sports cap — Built for cyclists and athletes, Polar Bottles all feature some form of sports cap. The Surge Cap is completely leakproof, requiring you to squeeze the bottle to get liquid out. The standard sports cap allows you to get to your water just by sucking. Either option makes getting to your water easy even while on the move!
  • Lifetime warranty — Polar Bottle stand by their products. They promise to repair or replace any bottle that malfunctions due to manufacturing defects! This warranty only stands for the ‘practical lifetime’ of the bottle. 
Best Plastic Travel Water Bottle
Polar Bottle 30oz
  • Price Range: $
  • Best Feature: Lightweight Insulation
  • Feature To Improve: A higher capacity version would be welcome

Grayl UltraPress

Grayl UltraPress Product Image
Pros
  • Makes water from almost any source drinkable
  • Rugged
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Big and heavy for the volume of liquid it holds
  • Filter needs to be replaced every 150 litres
  • Expensive initial investment 
  • Purifier — The Grayl UltraPress purifies water from almost any source. Using a combination of electro adsorption and activated carbon, the UltraPress safely removes bacteria, protozoa, minerals, heavy metals, sediment and viruses from your water. This means you can drink from rivers, streams, lakes and even from taps in countries with questionable water quality! 
  • Easy to use — To purify water, pull the bottle apart and fill the outer with dirty water. Slide the inner bottle into place and press down (ensure you open the cap half a twist). This forces water up through the filter, cleaning it on the way! It can take a bit of force to get the water moving but this is one of the fastest purifiers we’ve ever used! 
  • Volume — The UltraPress only holds 500ml of clean water. You may find this nowhere near enough to get you through a day. We suggest pairing the UltraPress with a lightweight or collapsible travel bottle for the most effective setup. Use the UltraPress to clean water from your accommodation before pouring it into another bottle to take out for the day! Over a long trip, this will save you a ton of money on bottled water!
  • Rugged — Grayl make all their bottles from tough food-safe plastics. Even while full of water, the UltraPress can survive a three-metre drop onto concrete. It’s built to be taken on hardcore expeditions so will keep going as long as you do! 
  • GeoPress — If you find the limited volume of the UltraPress a turn-off, consider the Grayl GeoPress. This larger bottle holds 200ml more clean water. Its increased size and weight make it more difficult to travel with but it’s excellent for hikers not wanting to carry an extra bottle! 
Best Filtered Travel Water Bottle
Grayl UltraPress

Platypus Soft Bottle

Platypus SoftBottle Flexible Water Bottle with Closure Cap, Platy Logo, 1.0-Liter

Pros
  • Super lightweight
  • Packs down really small
  • Tough
Cons
  • Hard to clean
  • Can be hard to hold
  • Lid is easy to lose
  • Collapsible — The Platypus Soft Bottle is one of our favourite collapsible water bottles. The thin plastic construction allows it to be rolled, folded or squashed down super small when not in use. This makes the bottle easy to hide in the nooks and crannies of your backpack! 
  • Capacity — The Soft Bottle can hold 1 litre of water which is ideal for travelling. It’s enough water to keep you going but isn’t so big that it weighs you down while on the move! 
  • Standard Thread — The Platypus Soft Bottle uses a standard thread on the cap. This means that although the lid is quite easy to lose, it can be replaced with a cap from most other drink bottles. It’s worth being aware that other lids may allow water to leak out. The standard thread also means the Soft Bottle is compatible with water filters like the Sawyer Squeeze or Platypus’ own QuickDraw Microfilter
  • Well Priced — It’s fair to say that the Platypus Soft Bottle is better than well priced — it’s a bloody bargain. Available for around $10-$15USD, this bottle can last for months of backpacking if it’s looked after! 
  • Other Bottles — Platypus also produce a range of collapsible bottles in different volumes ranging from 750ml to 6 litres! If the 1-litre Soft Bottle doesn’t appeal to you, check out the rest of their range. They even produce a bottle specifically designed to carry wine… 🍷
Best Collapsible Travel Water Bottle
Platypus Soft Bottle
  • Price Range: $
  • Best Feature: Packable 
  • Feature To Improve: Can be hard to clean

Hydro Flask Trail Series

Hydro Flask 32 oz. Lightweight Trail Series Water Bottle- Stainless Steel, Reusbale, Vacuum Insulated with Standard Mouth

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Insulated
Cons
  • Dents easily
  • Pricey for what you get
  • Metal — Being stainless steel, the Hydro Flask Trail bottles need less frequent washing than plastic alternatives — although we still recommend you wash them often! It’s also said that plastic bottles can leach chemicals into your water whereas metal ones do not. If that concerns you, the stainless steel construction of this bottle should help put your mind at rest. 
  • 1-litre — Okay, it’s not quite a litre but with a capacity of 946ml, it’s close enough! This is enough water to get you through without being too cumbersome in your bag. If you’re after a smaller travel bottle, there’s also a 710ml and 620ml version in this range. 
  • Wide Mouth — The two larger Hyrdo Flask Trail bottles feature a wide mouth. This makes them easy to clean and allows you to insert ice cubes or fruit slices for a cool refreshing drink! The bottle is compatible with Hydro Flask’s Hydro Flip Lid and Wide Mouth Straw Lid if you prefer those to the standard screw top. 
  • Insulation — Hydro Flask’s own Tempshield Insulation keeps cold drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for twelve. It’s also 25% lighter than traditional Hydro Flask insulation! 
  • Lightweight — All Trail Series bottles have been engineered to be as lightweight as possible. As well as super light insulation, the bottles are made from thinner materials to reduce weight while maintaining strength. The cap features honeycomb insulation, as well as a perforated carry strap and aluminium pivot points. When empty, the bottle weighs just 350g! 
Hydro Flask Trail Series
  • Price Range: $$$
  • Best Feature: Very light for an insulated bottle
  • Feature To Improve: Dents more easily than other metal bottles

LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis

LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis - Lightweight Self-Cleaning and Non-Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with UV Water Sanitizer, 32oz, Black/Pine

Pros
  • Cleans water
  • Durable
  • Has a cool futuristic vibe
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Needs to be kept charged
  • Only works with clear water
  • Clean Water — The LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis features an innovative cap which bombards your water with UV-C light. Ultraviolet light in this wavelength (180-280 nanometres) kills or inactivates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in your water. This means you can make tap water safe to drink while travelling, saving you from the need to buy any water while on the move! The UV-C light also helps to keep your bottle smelling fresh and reduces the need to wash your bottle after each use. 
  • No Insulation — The Movement PureVis Bottle from LARQ has no insulation, allowing you to carry more water! The total volume of the bottle is 950ml. 
  • Multiple Bottles — If you’re keen on having an insulated bottle for your travels, LARQ produce their LARQ Bottle Movement. This insulated version holds roughly 200ml less water and weighs 100-150g more, depending on the size you opt for. Both the insulated and non-insulated models come in two sizes: 500ml/740ml for the insulated bottle and 710/950ml for the non-insulated version. LARQ also produce a filtered bottle but the filter doesn’t remove viruses or bacteria – instead, it deals with minerals and particulates.  
  • Mouthpiece — LARQ bottles have a wider mouth than your standard drink bottle. There’s just enough room to squeeze ice cubes into the bottle if you wish. However, it’s not as wide as a proper wide-mouth bottle, so you’ll still need a bottle brush to give LARQ bottles a deep clean.
Best Metal Travel Water Bottle
LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis
  • Price Range: $$$$$$
  • Best Feature: Cleans your water
  • Feature To Improve: The price
  • Read our full LARQ Bottle review

Vapur Anti-Bottle

Vapur Element Flexible Water Bottle - with Carabiner, .70 Liter (23 oz) - Water

Pros
  • Doesn't take up much room
  • Easy to fill
Cons
  • Hard to make stand when it's not full
  • Drinking from it takes some getting used to
  • Collapsible — Vapur’s Anti-Bottles can all be rolled or folded when not in use. They compress down small enough to fit in your pocket and can be squeezed into any leftover space in your backpack! 
  • Durable — The triple-ply plastic construction is much more rugged than you’d believe at first glance. Over time, it will show fold lines and scuff along the plastic but much like an old pair of jeans or leather jacket, these tell the story of its use. In our experience, the weakest point of the bottle is where the thread is attached to the bottle itself, this can be prone to breaking if you drop the bottle when it’s full of water. Unlike other collapsible bottles, the Anti-Bottle is dishwasher safe and freezable.
  • Range of Bottles — Vapur produce a range of collapsible bottles. These come in various shapes, sizes and designs. The 1-litre Anti-Bottle is our favourite but their bottles range in size from 500ml up to 1.5-litres. They even have a pet-friendly range and a range built for carrying wine… what more could you want?! 
  • Mouthpiece — The Anti-Bottle features a flip-top for easy drinking. The flow rate is very high, so can take some getting used to, especially with the soft nature of the bottle — do not squeeze the bottle while drinking! There’s also a carabiner connected to the lid. This can be used to attach the bottle to your bag or used to secure the bottle in its rolled-up state. 
  • Sustainability — As well as reducing your need for single-use plastic bottles, Vapur bottles can be returned for recycling at the end of their life in exchange for 50% off your next purchase. 
Vapur Anti-Bottle
  • Price Range: $
  • Best Feature: Collapsible
  • Feature To Improve: Hard to clean

HidrateSpark PRO

Hidrate Spark PRO Smart Water Bottle - Tracks Water Intake & Glows to Remind You to Stay Hydrated - Chug Lid, Steel, 21 oz, Black

Pros
  • Smart Bottle
  • Find my bottle feature
  • Insulated
Cons
  • Must be kept charged
  • Set-up can be complicated
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Smart Bottle — If you want to usher in a new era of hydration, the HidrateSpark PRO is the bottle for you. This smart bottle connects to your phone via Bluetooth. It tracks your water intake, sets hydration goals and pings reminders to drink throughout the day. There’s even a ‘find my bottle’ feature which tells you the last location your bottle and phone were connected! The bottle is compatible with Android and Apple devices as well as watches like Fitbit or Garmin. 
  • Metal vs Plastic — The HidrateSpark PRO is available in insulated stainless steel models and Tritan Plastic versions. The steel models are available in more size options than the plastic ones!
  • Volume — The HidrateSpark PRO is available in various sizes. Our favourite is the 946ml (32oz) stainless model!
  • Different Lids — As well as different models, HidrateSpark’s PRO bottle has two different mouthpiece options: the ‘chug’ and the ‘straw’. As the names suggest, one gives you a straw to suck on while the other offers a spout with a fast flow rate.
  • Reminders — It’s not only the app that reminds you to drink — the bottle itself will do it too! There’s a puck on the bottom of the bottle that glows when it’s time to drink. You can set the colour in the app! The puck also acts as a scale, measuring how much water you drink throughout the day. 
  • HidrateSpark TAP — If the idea of a smart bottle appeals to you but the price is putting you off, consider the HidrateSpark TAP. This cheaper alternative doesn’t connect to your phone via Bluetooth, instead requiring you to tap your phone against the NFC (Near Field Communication) tag each time you drink. It also doesn’t feature the scales so won’t track your water intake quite as accurately.
HidrateSpark PRO
  • Price Range: $$$$
  • Best Feature: Tracks your water intake
  • Feature To Improve: The pairing process doesn't always work

Katadyn BeFree

Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter, Fast Flow, 0.1 Micron EZ Clean Membrane for Endurance Sports, Camping and Backpacking, One Size, 8018006

Pros
  • Filters your water
  • Ultralight
  • Easy clean filter
Cons
  • Not a purifier 
  • Not the most durable bottle
  • Filter needs to be replaced every 1000 litres
  • Filter — Katadyn’s BeFree takes collapsible water bottles one step further by including a filter in the bottle’s lid. While this filter won’t remove viruses, making it unsuitable for cleaning tap water, it’s more than enough for cleaning water from fast-flowing streams or rivers. When new, the bottle can filter up to 2 litres of water per minute! 
  • Soft — Unlike other collapsible water bottles on this list, the BeFree feels almost soft to the touch. The silicone-like construction compresses easily but isn’t built to be folded or rolled. Instead, you can squash it down and find a home for it in your backpack! It won’t compress quite as small as other bottles due to the filter but it’s still much easier to pack than a rigid bottle. 
  • Wide mouth — The wide mouth on the BeFree makes it easy to fill, even if your only option is a small stream or trickle of water. The sports cap makes drinking while on the move easy enough and the fast flow rate means you don’t get the frustratingly slow trickle of water offered by some filters. 
  • Volume — Our favourite version of this bottle is the 1-litre model. It also comes in a 600ml version which is slightly cheaper but less practical unless you’re willing to decant clean water into a larger bottle.
Best Travel Bottle For Hikers
Katadyn BeFree
  • Price Range: $$$
  • Best Feature: Ultralight filter
  • Feature To Improve: Filter can clog up if not looked after

Why Should You Travel With a Reusable Water Bottle?

  • Eco-Friendly

Reusable water bottles reduce the amount of single-use plastic flooding into our oceans. It’s estimated that plastic bottles make up 14% of all litter. A countless number of these find their way into our oceans, causing havoc for sea life. If we lose enough of these aquatic organisms, all life on earth will be impacted.

  • Saves You Money

Bottled water can take up more of your travel budget than you’d expect. During my first backpacking trip, I spent over $500USD on bottled water alone! By travelling with a reusable bottle, you can save huge amounts of money. 

Filtered travel bottles can allow you to drink from any source but you don’t need one of these to save money on water! Any travel bottle can be filled up at refill points while travelling. In Thailand, a litre of water from a refill point costs just 1THB (3 cents)! 

  • Helps You Remain Hydrated

Water is always important. Dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, fatigue and even confusion. Even being a bit thirsty is uncomfortable — especially in hot climates. Staying hydrated will ensure you’re well enough to get the most out of your travels! 

A reusable water bottle ensures you have access to drinking water when you need it!


What to Look for in a Travel Water Bottle

Materials

Almost all reusable water bottles are made from metal, plastic or glass. Each material comes with advantages and disadvantages.

  • Metal

Metal travel bottles are durable AF. A good quality metal water bottle will easily last years before it needs to be replaced. Much like a good pair of jeans or Dr Martens, a metal water bottle tells the story of its life through the knocks, scrapes and dents! 

However, metal bottles weigh slightly more than plastic options and if insulated, tend to hold much less water than you’d expect when looking at them. 

Metal bottles are best for travellers who are hard on their gear but aren’t concerned about how much their backpack weighs. 

  • Plastic

Plastic travel bottles are the most common. They’re cheap, lightweight and relatively durable — although not as durable as metal bottles. They come in a vast range of shapes and styles so you’ll always be able to find a suitable option for your trip.

Plastic bottles are rarely insulated, so your water will quickly warm up if you’re exploring on a hot day! But the biggest downside of plastic bottles is that they’re plastic and as we all know, plastic is a huge problem. When they reach the end of their usable life, most plastic bottles end up in landfill, taking thousands of years to break down. But using a single plastic bottle for the length of your backpacking trip is much better than buying fresh, single-use plastic bottles every day! 

The low weight, good price point and relative durability mean plastic bottles are best for most travellers – especially if you’re trying to reduce, rather than eliminate, the amount of plastic you use! 

  • Glass

Reusable glass bottles are common in day-to-day life but we don’t recommend them for travel. They’re heavy and far less durable than the plastic or metal varieties. 


Filters & Purifiers

Some reusable water bottles come with filtration systems built-in. Depending on the type and quality of the filter, these can allow you to drink water from lakes and streams or even from hotel taps!

If you’re buying a filtered water bottle, ensure you know whether it’s a purifier or filter. 

Water filters remove minerals, particles, protozoa and even bacteria from your water — this makes them excellent for drinking from lakes or streams away from human populations. 

Purifiers remove the aforementioned nasties as well as viruses from your water — this means they allow you to drink tap water no matter where you are in the world. 


Size and Capacity

Most of the bottles on our list hold around a litre of water. Honestly, there’s not much point carrying a bottle that’s a lot smaller. They’re not that much easier to pack and will leave you constantly searching for a refill point — especially if you’re somewhere hot! 

A litre bottle generally fits comfortably into a daypack and holds enough water to get you through most activities.


Bottle Mouth

The mouthpiece and caps can vary wildly in water bottles for travel. Your travel style and personal preference will play pivotal roles in deciding which is best for you! 

  • Wide-mouthed bottles are easy to clean and refill. However, the wide mouth makes spills much more likely— especially if you’re drinking while walking or in a moving vehicle!  
  • Built-in straws are relatively common in travel bottles. The mouthpiece on these bottles can usually be secured when not in use. When needed, they flip open with ease, saving you from fiddling with screw tops. However, they’re often harder to clean. 
  • Tethered lids are chronically absent in travel bottles. However, if you find a bottle with one, it’s worth holding onto. The tether prevents you from losing the cap and rendering your bottle useless. My biggest complaint with Grayl’s UltraPress is the untethered cap! 
  • Sports caps are a great invention! They don’t need to be unscrewed and can easily be opened with one hand. They’re perfect for hikers and travellers who don’t want to stop moving each time they take a drink! 
  • Sipper lids can be similar to those found in bottles with built-in straws but without the straw itself — so you’ll need to tip the bottle to get at your water. Less sophisticated sipper lids are very similar to those found on reusable coffee cups. These are great if you find sucking through a straw just too much effort… 🙋 I include myself in this lazy group of travellers! Much like bottles with built-in straws, sipper lids can be harder to clean due to small, hard-to-reach areas! 

Price

Let’s face it, price is important. While some water bottles on our list seem extortionate, they will save you money throughout your backpacking trip. The longer your adventure, the more money a reusable bottle will save you!

You’ll find reusable water bottle prices range from $10-$200USD depending on the quality and features. If you’re looking for a bog-standard bottle, spending more than $10-$20USD is unnecessary. However, if you want a bottle packed full of amazing features, expect to spend upwards of $100USD. 


Insulation

If you want to keep your drink hot or cold all day, an insulated bottle is for you. Often, insulated travel bottles will maintain the temperature of what’s inside for 12-24 hours! The downside of these bottles is their size and weight. 


Final Thoughts on Travel Water Bottles

Travel water bottles help you stay hydrated, save money and reduce your plastic usage. Our favourite bottle for travel is the Platypus Soft Bottle, closely followed by the Vapur Anti-Bottle.

If collapsible bottles aren’t for you, the Polar Bottle is a great choice. However, if you need a bottle to clean tap water, the Grayl UltraPress can’t be beaten! For hiking trips, the Katadyn BeFree is a great choice.

Tim Ashdown | Gear Specialist

After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since then, he has travelled Southeast Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and backpacked South America. His first book, From Paralysis to Santiago, chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident and will be released later this year.

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