AVEX BRAZOS AUTOSEAL STAINLESS WATER BOTTLE
TEST SERIES BY STEVEN M. KIDD
October 14, 2014
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Steven M. Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
185 lb (83.90 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 30 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2014
|AUTOSEAL Insulated Brazos|
MSRP: US $29.99
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: Bottle + Lid 13.9 oz (395 g)
Measured Weight: Bottle 11.6 oz (329 g)
Measured Weight: Lid 2.3 oz (66 g)
Listed Height & Width: 11.0 in x 2.75 in (28 cm x 7 cm)
Measured Height: 10.875 in (27.6 cm)
Measured Lid Width: 3 in x 2.625 in (7.6 cm x 6.7 cm)
Measured Base Width: 2.875 in (7.3cm)
Listed Capacity: 24 fl oz (710 ml)
Measured Capacity to Brim: 26 oz (769 ml)
The Brazos AUTOSEAL water bottle is a stainless steel insulated water bottle designed to keep liquids cold for up to 20 hours. It is not designed to keep liquids hot. The bottle uses a lid with a patented AUTOSEAL technology designed to be both spill and leak-proof. The spout is opened for sipping by depressing the AUTOSEAL button and is sealed by releasing it. The body of bottle offers a double walled vacuum seal to create its insulating properties.
It allows for one-handed operation and is BPA free.
The bottle offers a transport clip that allows it to be attached to items like gym bags, backpacks or simply carried with an index finger. The Brazos also offers spout shield that is designed to protect the spout from dirt and germs when not in use or during transport.
The bottle is not intended for use with hot or carbonated beverages. It is not to be microwaved or frozen, and should not be cleaned with cleaners containing bleach, chlorine, abrasives or other harsh chemicals.
The lid is top rack dishwasher safe, however, it also may be cleaned by flushing the spout with warm water or soaked in warm water for at least 10 minutes. The bottle is not to be placed in a dishwasher.
The Avex Brazos appears to be a quality built product in my opinion. Initially when I first picked it up, it felt a very heavy compared to most of my backcountry hydration bladders that weigh in just around an ounce (28 g), but compared to the average sport/recreation bottles I use for exercising it isn't considerably heavier. To clarify, though the Brazos is considerably heavier than my backcountry hydration systems, none of them are insulated to keep liquid cold.
After inspecting the bottle I immediately measured the weight and volume capacity. Both are mentioned in the specifications section, but I'll comment further on the volume capacity. The capacity is listed at 24 oz (710 ml), but I measured it at 26 oz (769 ml) to the brim. However, I quickly learned that one should follow the suggested maximum volume specifications. I state this because the product warnings suggest pressure can build up under the spout seal. I've noticed pressure build up when I've depressed the AUTOSEAL button. When overfilled water/liquid will spit out. This is certainly why I understand both hot and carbonated beverages shouldn't be used in this vessel.
|Brazos Spout Closed|
I found the one-handed operation fairly simple. I can easily grasp the bottle in my palm and depress the AUTOSEAL with my index finger which opens the spout and allows me to have a sip of the liquid inside. I find this a simple operation with either my left or right hand.
|Brazos Spout Open/Depressed|
When considering the AUTOSEAL technology I foresee it being a very positive aspect when I'm running on a treadmill. Anytime I've historically used a simply store bought water bottle or any open mouthed bottle I've spilled water on myself when using a treadmill when running at a speedy pace. The only remedy I've seen to this to date has been a bottle with a sip spout. I look forward to testing the Brazos on a treadmill and giving feedback in the field review.
As a minimalist backpacker I find the spout shield and transport clip a little overkill, but I do see the benefit in keeping the spout free of debris and I've already used the clip in carrying the bottle around in the few days I've been using it for recreational use.
Avex claims the Brazos will keep liquids cold up to 20 hours. I haven't done any technical testing to date, but I can affirm some initial use feedback. I've filled the bottle with ice to just below the brim and then filled it with water on several nights. After 7 - 9 hours of sitting in a ~70 F (21 C) bedroom the bottle still had the majority of the ice remaining. I've also found ice remaining up to 12+ hours in similar conditions.
I did leave the bottle filled with roughly half full of ice and water in an open Jeep for 3 1/2 hours in 85 F (29 C) temperatures under the open sun. When I took a sip, I noticed the ice had melted and the water wasn't 'cold' in my opinion, but I would subjectively refer to it as 'cool'. It was much more pleasant sip than leaving a comparable 1/2 liter store purchased bottle of water or even a similar aluminum bottle I've used that would be outright 'warm' or 'hot' to the lips. I've yet to see the bottle 'sweat' or have any form of external condensation.
My initial impressions with the Brazos AUTOSEAL Stainless Water Bottle are quite positive in general. I can certainly foresee myself using the bottle for both exercise and general recreational use without hesitation.
|Spout Shield & Transport Clip|
The bottle is certainly much heavier than the typical hydration vessel I regularly use in the backcountry, but none of these provide insulating properties to keep liquids cold for short, must less extended periods of time. I envision myself carrying the Brazos on an outing filled with only ice to both minimize weight and maximize extended cold liquids while in camp. I look forward to measuring how long it keeps water cold in the coming summer months.
The roses I see in the product are that in using it in initial non-controlled tests are that it has kept water/liquids cool or cold for time periods considerably longer than comparable products I've used in the past. Stated simply, it has kept water 'cold' for 7 - 9 hours in normally regulated interior conditions. In particularly warmer conditions under direct sunlight the Brazos kept water 'cool' with no ice remaining after close to 4 hours.
The only thorn I have at this point is the weight of the bottle when using it in the backcountry. At 13.9 oz (395 g) it's heavier than my entire hydration system to include water filtration combined. However, my current system is not designed to keep water cold so I must keep that in perspective.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
28 June, 2014; Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, Indiana. Having relocated to Indiana in advance of my family and yet without my backpacking gear I decided I needed to get into the woods for some sanity. I took a 6.75 mi (11 km) hike along the Red Trail at a local city park in Indianapolis. I wasn't too familiar with the area, but a local website stated the following about the area: Eagle Creek Park has 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) of water and 3,900 acres (16 km2) of land. There are about 10 miles (16 km) of paths. Elevation in the area averages 700 ft (213 m), and although the trail is listed as moderate-to-difficult, I found it refreshing. It was a nice retreat for the day, and a good test in humid conditions. The temperature was around 82 F (28 C), but it was sticky outside.
26 July, 2014; Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, Indiana. After my family finally arrived to the area, I thought it would be a great idea to spend an afternoon outside in the closest nature I've been able to find to date. I returned to the park, but chose the 2.5 mi (4 km) Orange Trail for the kids. The loop was easily manageable for my wife and the youngsters. Temperatures were around 78 F (26 C) with low humidity.
15-17 August, 2014; Hoosier National Forest, Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, near Bloomington, Indiana. I finally was able to get the children out on a 3-day/2-night outing in the new state. We only hiked a total 5.5 mi (9 km) total on the trip and carried our own water. Temperatures were great for August with nightly lows around 55 F (13 C) and daily highs around 80 F (27 C) with elevations averaging 650-800 ft (198-244 m).
5 - 7 September, 2014; Camp Gnaw Bone, Brown County, Indiana. I joined a local group of fathers that do a monthly outing with their children sans mothers. The season opens post Labor Day and ends post Memorial Day weekends with camping trips at a camp in southern Indiana. Most spent the weekend in large family sized tents in a clearing on a parade field. My seasoned rug rats and I hung our hammocks on a wooded hill adjacent to the field. Weekend temperatures started around 72 F (22 C), but after a rainy Saturday morning and early afternoon dropped significantly and we awoke to 51 F (10.5 C) on a dry Sunday morning. On Thursday, the day prior to leaving temperatures were 90 F (32 C), so the dramatic change was very noticeable. Camping was base-camp like, but we went to a lake to swim for the afternoon, had dinner, skits and a bonfire that culminated with a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) round trip to a 'ghost house' around 11 PM Saturday evening. It made bedtime oh so easy, and both my pups required use of their night lights until they dozed off.
7 - 10 October, 2014; Pine Mountain Trail, eastern Kentucky and western Virginia. This was a 4-day/3-night outing in which I met up with six hammock camping buddies at the Birch Knob Observation Tower shelter and hiked to the trailhead in Elkhorn City, Kentucky. The rest of my comrades had already been on the trail for three days encountering torrential downpours and extremely steep climbs. This caused three of the crew to call an audible and remain at the shelter for the final leg of the trip. Four of us set out on the next morning and covered 14 mi (22.5 km) over the next two days. Elevations ranged from roughly 2800 ft (853 m) to around 800 ft (244 m) just outside of town. After emerging from the trail we were shuttled back to the tower for a final night in the woods. Temperatures on the trail were as high as 75 F (24 C) and conditions were bright and sunny. On the evenings in base camp temperatures dropped to around 45 F (7 C) and poured rain on and off.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I've come to love the Brazos AUTOSEAL water bottle. I can't say I'll grab it to take into the woods for future backcountry use, but I can affirm that I use it every day.
|Ice Water after 20 Hours|
I fill the bottle with ice water every night before I head to bed. This is generally in the 10 PM time frame. I will typically drink all the water in the bottle throughout the night and leave the Brazos on my night stand the next morning or carry it down to the kitchen and sit it next to the sink. Invariably when I arrive home the following afternoon (roughly 19 1/2 hours) there is always still ice remaining in the bottle.
|A Chunk of Ice|
I had planned on using the bottle when I ran on the treadmill, and I did this a few times, but I don't like to take it out of the house in the event I were to forget it at work and not have it at bedtime. It's become my 'woobie' much like a blanket my daughter has and a stuffed animal that my son needs for sleep!
I used it on a few day hikes and anytime I take a walk in the neighborhood or to the park with my wife and kids. I have learned in these instances I do not need to fill the bottle to the brim with ice. If I do so it leaves less room for water and I run out more quickly than I'd prefer. Then I'm left with the dilemma that the ice within the bottle will simply not melt...even if I remove the lid. Now if I'm going to take it with me on a walk or a hike, I tend to fill the bottle about 1/3 the way full with ice and allow the remaining volume to be used for water.
I've left it in a hot car all day to have some ice remain; I've left it in the house for a day and half and had ice. The bottle simply lives up to and beyond its claims. The most extreme incidence that I can recall was a recent trip I took to the Pine Mountain Trail. I filled the bottle full of ice and then with water around 7 AM and drove to work. I left it in my car all day with exterior temperatures around 65 F (18 C). I can't honestly estimate the interior vehicle temperatures over the next eight hours. I then hopped in the car and drove six hours to Kentucky and drank the water along the way. I went to the Birch Knob Shelter campsite and met some buddies that evening. I refilled the bottle with water using the same ice from 15 hours earlier and drank that. I laid the bottle under my hammock and didn't tend to it until around 1 PM the following day as I was about to begin hiking. Temperatures dropped to around 45 F (7 C) that evening, but were up to 75 F (24 C) as we were about to hit the trail. The bottle still was half filled with ice some 30 hours later. This was after sitting in a car all day, being refilled with air temperature water and sitting outside overnight!
On a walk to the park with my family one afternoon my son fell and skinned his knee. He was fussing and as I ran to tend to him the transport clip slipped from my hand and bottle flew off bouncing down the sidewalk. After ensuring my son was alright I grabbed the bottle to notice a few small dings on the side and one on the bottom of the bottle. None of this affects the insulating properties of the vessel, but it does want to rock slightly now on a flat surface. Self-inflicted damage, I can't blame that on the product!
I carried the bottle on two trips and used it during basecamp on my long mountain trip. I had planned on carrying it on that one as well, but the buddies I met to hike with had just experienced some extremely difficult trails in the two days preceding. We all decided to cut weight anywhere we could, so the Brazos didn't make it from base camp. On the trips in which I did use it, the bottle kept water icy and/or cold well into day two for each occasion. I'd love to have it in the backcountry, but I don't see myself paying the weight penalty in the future.
I am thoroughly impressed with the Avex Brazos AUTOSEAL. I love the bottle and use it daily around the house. The only negative feedback I can give on the bottle is its weight. It simply weighs too much for the style of backpacking I am accustomed to doing.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.
I will continue to use the bottle until the AUTOSEAL gives out, and when that day comes I foresee myself replacing it. I will also continue to take it sporting events, on family walks and the like. I will even use it for base or car camping in the future. I just don't see it making it on the trail again due to the weight penalty. If I really needed ice water in the backcountry...it would be the bottle for me.
I am very impressed with this product and I'd like to thank Avex and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Brazos Stainless Water Bottle.
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