Best Collapsible Water Bottles of 2023, Tested and Reviewed - by Field and Stream
One of the most important ways to prepare for any outdoor excursion is to carry enough water, and the most efficient way to do that (besides bringing water filters) is to use collapsible water bottles. The standard rule is to bring 1 liter for every two hours of hiking, but it’s never a bad idea to pack more, especially if the forecast is hot and you’ll be sweating more than usual.
However, the sheer bulk and weight of bottles can be a limiting factor to how much water you bring along. Sure, you’ll need 3 liters of water for that 10-mile hike, but now most of your pack space is stuffed with heavy, clanking bottles–and when they’re empty, they continue taking up room and jabbing your back at awkward angles. Even if you trade out a stainless steel bottle for a lighter weight plastic rigid bottle, it’s still using up valuable real estate inside your backpack.
This is where collapsible water bottles save the day. Typically made of silicone, nylon, and plastic, they are more lightweight than traditional bottles. Plus, once they’re empty, gone is the bulk; they fold into themselves to free up space in the pack. So whether you’re going for a short hike or compiling camping gear for your next backpacking trip, consult this list of the best collapsible water bottles so you can hydrate properly.
- Best Overall: Vapur Wide Mouth Anti-Bottle
- Best for Travel: Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle
- Best with Filter: LifeStraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze Bottle with Filter
- Best Budget: Platypus SoftBottle
- Best Rated: Hydrapak Stash Collapsible Water Bottle
How We Picked the Best Collapsible Water Bottles
Living in the Front Range of Colorado with its variety of trails, I go for a hike almost daily and need to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated in the dry climate. Most of the time, I carry a small daypack to hold water bottles and snacks, but sometimes I’ll just tote a bottle by hand if I want to forgo a pack.
To test these collapsible water bottles, I went on short, casual hikes carrying the bottles by hand and longer outings with the bottles stowed in a backpack. I made judgments based on:
- Ease of carry and use
- Water taste
- Space-saving capabilities
- Leak-proof performance
For good measure, I performed a drop test to see how the bottles could hold up to rough treatment without springing a leak. This entailed dropping each of the bottles on the ground while walking (twice on a paved trail and once on a dirt path), then jogging for a quarter mile with the bottles stuffed in a backpack. With these methods, I was able to fairly rank and review these collapsible water bottles.
Best Collapsible Water Bottles: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Vapur Wide Mouth Anti-Bottle
- Volume: 1L
- Materials: Polyethylene and nylon
- Weight: 2.3 oz
- Dimensions: 5.5”W x 11”L
- Handy carabiner for carrying or attaching to outside of backpack
- Easy-to-use snap cap on drinking spout
- Packs down very small and light (can even fit in a pocket)
- Costs less than $10
- Water did not stay cool
- Material is not puncture-proof
The Vapur Wide Mouth Anti-Bottle earns the best hiking companion award for being easy to drink from and convenient to carry by hand or by pack. It also boasts a minuscule weight and size when rolled up. This bottle features a sleek pouch with a basic snap-top drinking spout that is a breeze to open and use. With the capacity to hold up to 1 liter of water, the lightweight Vapur can be held by its handy top carabiner or clipped to your belt loop or backpack for hands-free hiking.
Once I finished drinking all of the water inside, I quickly rolled the Vapur up into a compact little scroll and folded the carabiner down to hold it tightly in place. The rolled up bottle is roughly the size of a hardshell taco, and nearly as lightweight. Slide it into a pocket or inside your pack—it’s practically as unobtrusive as it gets.
While the water inside got a bit warm from the sun as I carried it on the trail (the black color may have contributed to that), I was pleased to find that the taste of the water wasn’t affected at all. My main concern with the Vapur arose during the drop test, when tiny droplets emerged from a pinhole after the bottle was tossed twice on a paved trail. However, the bottle didn’t leak nearly enough to get my backpack wet, and I was able to easily patch it with a small piece of duct tape.
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