The Nalgene bottle: Strong and versatile.

Initial release date: November 11th, 2016 by Retexor

Illustration Nalgene

Specifications :

Volume : 1 liter
Total height: 210mm
Mouth diameter: 50mm
Empty weight: 180g

Retex information:

Acquisition mode : Purchase
Date of purchase: September 2011
Use time at the moment of writing this article: 5 years and 1 month
Price range: 8 to15 £ inclusive of all taxes


In a few words, Nalgene bottles are very sturdy water containers. But being satisfied with only this short definition would leave you uninformed of a lot of interesting points.

In fact, the Nalgene is not just your regular water bottle. By its shape it looks like a crossing between a bottle and a glass jar. It has a cylindrical shape with a wide mouth (50mm):

nalgene wide mouth

This large opening allows to store inside not just water:

nalgene_milk
Powdered milk

nalgene kit inside
nalgene kit outside
Basic equipment: knife, string, matches + ferrocerium rod, tube of vaseline soaked cotton, small flashlight

This large mouth allows also the filling of the bottle in uncommon conditions (small creek, hard to access tap etc.). Lastly the wide mouth makes the cleaning of the bottle much easier.

Nalgene bottles are mostly famous for their great sturdiness. They are made of a plastic material called "Tritan" which is BPA and phthalate free. This very strong plastic material is also capable to withstand sub-zero temperatures and up to 100°C. So it can be used for hot beverages and even soups. Tritan has also the advantage of not altering the taste of the liquids that are stored in the bottle. From my experience, it is true that you don’t feel any strange or "plasticky" taste. However, it happened to me once to feel a slight change in the taste of water after four days of storage in temperatures above 30°C.

So when I go out bushcrafting, I’m not afraid to store in my Nalgenes all types of dry products that I bring along (coffee, sugar, flour, powdered milk) and also water of course. This container proves also useful to store gathered resources when I’m lucky enough to stumble on them (berries, nuts, small chestnuts etc.).

The cylindrical Nalgene bottle has of course the drawbacks of its advantages. On the one hand, it weighs 180g for one liter of volume, whereas a standard plastic water bottle weights around 135g. But this is the price of sturdiness. On the other hand, its cylindrical shape, which allows it to carry not only liquids, makes it a bit cumbersome to transport.

However when we take into consideration all the benefits of this product, those disadvantages appear negligible. Anyway, if they really bother you, know that Nalgene offers other, more conventional, products:

nalgene canteen

I own this Nalgene canteen since August 2012 and I use it daily at work. Its shape makes it easier to carry in my urban backpack. Even if it is lighter and less rigid than a cylindrical Nalgene, I can’t see any signs of wear in the four years I’ve been using it on a daily basis. The only maintenance I do is using some white vinegar to remove the limestone deposits and it’s back as new.

So you don’t need to be reluctant, Nalgene products are of excellent quality and have proven very satisfying in the five years I’ve been using them. I only own the grey transparent type, but know that they exist in a wide range of colors.

3 nalgenes