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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Bilt Vite Plus Stainless Steel Bottle > Test Report by Edwin L. Morse

BILT VITE STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLE
TEST SERIES BY EDWIN MORSE
LONG-TERM REPORT
February 16, 2009

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 71
LOCATION: Grawn, Michigan USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lbs (32 kg) with food but no water. Since that first time I have made one and two week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Late last summer I did a 2 week hike on Isle Royale. My starting pack weight was 32 lbs (14.5 kg), including 10 days of food and 3 qt (2.8 l) of water. I am slowly learning what lighter gear works for me.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Bilt
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.bilt.ca/site/
MSRP: $17.00 CAD Coloured Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle
This is the version I'm testing
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 7.1 oz (201 g)
Other details: Copied from the website:

"Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle
$15.00 CAD

Bilt Vite plus Stainless water bottle
copied from website


Slang for speed en Franšais, this narrow single wall stainless steel water bottle is perfect for active use!
Easy to use sip top for drinking on the go; snap on cover gives grit protection
Fits most bicycle water bottle cages and car holders unique lid design for easy carrying and clipping onto a pack
Easy-grip indents on main body thread pattern fits bottle adaptors of most backcountry water filters including msr and Katadyn.
Wide mouth threaded collar of tested food grade polypropylene for use in cool conditions; no more frozen lips!

Capacity: 730 ml (26 oz)

Select a colour:
Stainless/Black Stainless/Hendrix Purple Stainless/Light Green Stainless/True Blue"

My own description uses less colorful words but more colorful pictures. The bottle, without cap, is 8 3/8 in (213 mm) high. With the cap I measure 10 in (254 mm) in height.
The best I can measure, the outside diameter is 2 11/16 (2.687 in) (68 mm), using a tape measure graduated in 1/16 inches.

I requested light green color.
After looking at the website I expected the bottle to be grey and the cap to be green. Instead the bottle I received is a darker slightly shade of green than the cap.
my Bilt Vite Plus bottle
my Bilt Vite Plus Stainless water bottle

If I go to the website Home page and click on the stainless steel water bottle selection I find a page with several products pictured. The Bilt Vite Plus Stainless Steel water bottle shows the bottle as grey and the cap in the selected color. The Bite Plus Color bottle page shows the bottle as the same color as the cap.

Both the Vite Plus and the Vite Plus Color website pages show a 26 oz (730 ml) capacity. On the outside of the bottle I received it is stated "730 ml 24 oz."







INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Bilt Vite Plus Stainless Steel Water Bottle arrived in a cardboard shipping box with a light cardboard frame for protection of up to six bottles. The bottle looks and feels so solid that I don't think it needed any protection. The bottle feels very solid and has three indentations on opposite sides. On the other two sides (if I can say a round bottle has sides) there are peel off labels, one side in English and the other side in French.
peel off description
peel off description


The lid of the bottle has a convenient loop that just fits my finger. The pop top pull up 'sippy' lid is nearly fool proof. In this picture the top is closed.
bottle with top closed
top closed


There is a very small white silicone knob in the top of the lid. This knob can be pushed to increase the flow of water. I tried it and it works. This next picture shows the flip top open as well as the little white knob.
lid with cap open
lid with flip cap open


Even with the cap open and the drinking spout pulled up, when I tipped the full bottle over only a few drops of water spilled.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

There was a delivery note (packing slip) in the box with a small instruction sheet (in both English and French) inside the folded packing slip.
The English portion stated: "Your Bilt Vite Stainless Steel Bottle comes with a pop-top lid for easy access sipping. We have chosen a food-grade silicone valve to allow air flow while sipping. If you wish to increase the rate of liquid delivered while sipping do the following:
Locate the white translucent knob poking through the top of the lid.
Press lightly on this knob; this will increase the rate of flow.
If you find the rate of flow too great or liquids leak out of the valve area when the bottle is inverted; turn lid upside down and press the silicone valve back into place.

Wash in warm soapy water; using a non-bristle brush, clean well underneath the threaded collar. Rinse throughly and dry.
Enjoy your Bilt Vite Bottle."

TRYING IT OUT

The Bilt Vite Plus Stainless Steel Water Bottle arrived just before I was ready to leave for a two day hike. I quickly read the instructions (something I often skip) and washed the bottle. Then I filled it with cold water and put it in an outside pocket of my pack. I drank out of the bottle for lunch both days and for supper the first day. I had to learn to push the little white silicone knob in the right direction before I could get more than one good swallow of water. I did not use the bottle while hiking because I use a hydration system so I can drink while I keep walking. Here is a picture of the bottle in use while I was eating supper.
getting a drink while eating supper
bottle in use


I filtered all my water for evening, morning and hiking the next day before I started fixing my supper. I tried to filter directly into the bottle but my hose adapter would not fit the bottle top. I use a MSR filter. I filtered water into my smaller hydration bladder and then poured it into the bottle.

SUMMARY

The Bilt Vite Plus Stainless Steel Water Bottle is an interesting water bottle. This drinking valve concept is a new idea to me. At this time I'm still fumbling with the valve that makes the water flow or not flow. I like the bright color but after taking a few pictures I worry that if I set the bottle down in a grassy area it will be hard to see in the green color I selected. The flip top cap that covers the sip top is a feature I like.

I generally use a hydration system for drinking while I'm hiking. The hydration system can be irritating when I stop for a break or for lunch and try to keep the bite valve out of the dirt. I will carry the Bilt Vite Bottle as an extra water supply for drinking on breaks and lunch stops.

This concludes my Initial Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The weather has varied from cool to cold for most of my hikes during the last two months. The high temperature while I was hiking was 70 F (21 C) one sunny afternoon, while the low temperature was 22 F (-6 C) when I was eating breakfast at 6:00 one morning. There have been a few rainy days and a few bright sunny days. Several mornings have been frosty as well as cold. Mostly the terrain has been rolling hard wood and pine forests. I've been on at least ten day hikes while carrying the Bilt Vite Stainless Steel water bottle. I've also done one two-night backpacking hike and two overnight hikes. All except one of the backpacking hikes were in the Manistee National Forest (MNF) in northwest Lower Michigan.

The third overnight was in the Ocala National Forest (ONF) in Florida. The weather was cooler than I expected in Florida but not much different than late summer in Michigan. The high temperature for this hike the first two days of December was 64 F (18 C) with a low in the morning of 38 F (3 C). Michigan is relatively flat compared with New England or the western states but Florida is really flat.

Day hikes were in the MNF, the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Pere Marquette State Forest. I've used the Bilt Vite water bottle for all hikes I've done in the last four months.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I've been using hydration systems and had not carried a water bottle in several years. I am now carrying the Coloured Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle in a side pocket of my pack, whether on a day hike or backpacking. I use the hydration system for drinking while hiking and use the water bottle when eating lunch or dinner.

I don't generally like any water container in the tent when I'm sleeping. I had bad experiences twice in the last few years when I put weight on a hydration bladder with the hose still attached. I rolled over on a full bladder once and another time I set my nearly full pack on the bladder. I had water all over the floor of the tent before I discovered the problem. Now I put hydration bladders outside the tent for the night. The Coloured Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle I believe to be safe enough to keep inside the tent.

My third overnight hike was in the ONF in early December. I started hiking at Juniper Springs and stopped for lunch at Hidden Pond.
lunch near Hidden Pond
lunch break with a view

Here is a picture of the view where I ate lunch near Hidden Pond which was behind me when I took the picture. There are several rather secluded campsites in this area.

I used a hammock for the first time while backpacking in the Ocala NF. I was able to fill all my the Stainless Steel Sport Bottle directly from the hand pump at the Hopkins Prairie campground, which is much easier than filtering water and then pouring it into the bottle. I had brought an extra Ziploc bag so I could pump into the Ziploc and pour into the Bilt Vite bottle. The small stream that the pump produced let me pump directly into the water bottle.

backpacking in Ocala NF
my campsite at Hopkins Prairie

Here is my campsite at Hopkins Prairie in the Ocala National Forest, after filling all my water containers at the pump. Even with all the advantages (pump, tables, fire pits and outhouses), I decided again that I prefer not to camp in established campgrounds.

The Bilt Vite is heavier than other water containers I use, which is a bit of a problem since I'm trying to lower my pack weight. Another 'problem' is filling the bottle. Filling is easy at home with the kitchen faucet. Filling the bottle in camp is not usually so easy. With other systems, including most hydration bladders and many bottles, I can fill directly from my MSR filter outlet hose. With the Bilt Vite bottle I usually have to fill another container first and then pour the water into the bottle since the MSR filter adapter does not fit the bottle top opening. When backpacking I carry a both a one L (1 qt) and a two L (2 qt) Platypus hydration bladder. It has long been my practice to use the drinking hose of the hydration bladder to filter into each bladder. The simplest way for me to fill the Bilt Vite bottle is pour from the smaller hydration bladder into the bottle. The following picture illustrates how I fill the bottle and a bladder that also did not fit my filter adapter. The bottle had already been filled the same way before I set up the camera.
filling Moflow bladder
the Bilt Vite bottle was filled the same way

This picture is from an overnight hike in the Manistee National Forest.

As an aside from backpacking and hiking, I also keep the Vite Plus water bottle in the vehicle when I'm driving. While I was in the process of writing this report I went for a short dayhike in the Sleeping Bear Dunes. When I got back to the Jeep I pulled the bottle out of the pack and took a quick drink. Then, instead of putting it in the cup holder, I set the bottle on the passenger seat where it tipped over. A stream of water came out of the silicone valve. When I got home I tipped the bottle over in the sink several times and the same thing happened. Finally I took the cover off and pushed up on the silicone valve from the bottom of the bottle cover. This solved the problem.

SUMMARY

It has been interesting to test the Coloured Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle. I have found that I like using a bottle for drinking when I eat lunch or dinner. While I'm hiking I use the hydration system and I throw the hose and bite valve over my shoulder to keep it out of the way. This lets me take off the pack and set it on the ground without getting the bite valve in the dirt. The Bilt Vite bottle eliminates this problem with the cover for the drinking spout.
Likes:
* Water comes out only when I want it to.
* I can tip the bottle over and not worry about water leaks.
* It is easy to drink from if the proper procedure is followed.
* The bottle is easy to fill from a faucet or hand pump.

Dislikes:
* The bottle is heavy.
* The bottle does not hold enough water.
* Proper procedure MUST be followed to drink from the bottle.
* The opening does NOT fit my water filter so it is more hassle to fill the bottle when backpacking. If the screw top opening would fit the outlet adapter on my water filter I could filter directly into the water bottle.

There is one change I would like to see in this system: the size of the fill opening should fit the outlet hose adapters of popular water filters.

This concludes my Field Report on the Bilt Coloured Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle.




LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Most of my use of the Bilt Vite Plus Stainless water bottle has been in northwest Lower Michigan. We've had good snow cover since mid November. Snow depth varies from about 6 inches (15 cm) in areas of strong wind to well over 30 inches (76 cm) in some more protected areas. This has made for some good skiing and snowshoeing. The weather near home has varied from cold to very cold with temperatures of 22 F (-6 C) down to -4 F (-20 C). The day the temperature went down to -4 F (-20 C) I was snowshoeing along a high ridge and it was so windy the snow was coming more sideways than down. We have had some sunny days and at least as many days when it was cloudy or snowing hard.

The terrain where I was skiing and snowshoeing was rolling to steep dunes mostly covered with oaks and pine trees. I was out skiing 4 times and snowshoeing about 12 times. These day trips were either in the Manistee National Forest or the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

I also did a five night and five day backpacking trip through the Ocala National Forest in central Florida. The terrain in the Ocala National Forest is what I consider flat with a few dips and a few small hills. The vegetation seems to be mostly short, thinly spread sand scrub pine and red oak. There are areas of long leaf pine and live oak both the latter often include a heavy understory of brush and palmetto. I just happened to pick the coldest spell Florida has had in six years. The first three mornings the low temperature was 22 F (-6 C), 22 F (-6 C), and 29 F (-2 C). Then it started to warm up and the low temperature the last two mornings were 39 F (4 C) and 43 F (6 C). The high temperatures were 62 F (17 C), 68 F (20 C), 72 F (22 C), 72 F (22 C) and 74 F (23 C) while I was hiking.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I use the water bottle when I eat lunch on day hikes or for lunch and dinner when backpacking. I carried the water bottle in a side pocket of my pack on all the above outings. When I'm driving I always keep the water bottle in one of the cup holders. With the narrow profile this works very well.

I had the water bottle freeze twice when I was snowshoeing. The temperature was about 5 F (-15 C) the first time. In the picture below I was carrying the water bottle in a side pocket of my pack. I was standing near the edge of a sharp drop above Lake Michigan. North Manitou Island is just visible in the distance.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
snowshoe hike

I sat down for lunch after plodding along for about 3 hours. When I took the bottle out I could open the cap cover but could not pull up the drinking spout. I tried to unscrew the cover and could not do that either. I drank from the hydration hose which I kept mostly inside my shirt.

Another time I forgot and left the water bottle in the Jeep overnight when the temperature dropped to -10 F (-23 C). I brought the bottle inside in the morning and set it in the kitchen sink to thaw. It felt like the water in the bottle was completely frozen. It was several hours before I could take the cover off. When I did the silicone valve was not in the cover. I carefully poured the water out and found the silicone valve in the bottom in the bottle. I pushed it back in place. When the bottle was tipped over to check for leaks water poured out the silicone valve. I left the bottle set in the warm house for two days and the leaking problem topped.

While I was in Florida the water bottle worked very well. The cap kept the drinking spout clean and when the bottle was tipped over several times there were no leaks. The following picture was taken just before sundown.
relaxation time
watching the sunset

I was relaxing for a few minutes before I cooked my dinner.


SUMMARY

The Bilt Vite Plus Stainless water bottle is a well designed and made piece of gear. It is very nice to use in many situations. I will continue to carry the bottle on day hikes, especially in warm weather. I will probably never take it backpacking again for two reasons; first it is heavy compared with other water containers I've used, second I prefer to use a hydration system with extra bladders for all my hiking. I've become too weight conscious to carry this extra weight backpacking.

Pros;
" The cap keeps the drinking spout clean
" The bottle fits pockets on all my packs
" The bottle fits the cup holders in both my vehicles
" The indentations make the bottle easy to hold
" Usually the bottle does not leak when tipped over

Cons;
" The water bottle is heavy compared with other water containers I use
" It is not a good cold weather water container
" The silicone valve seems to shrink when it is cold allowing the bottle to leak if tipped
" The silicone valve seems to have worn out since I no longer have to push it to drink

This concludes my Long Term Report on the Bilt Coloured Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle.

I would like to thank BackPackGearTesters and Bilt for the opportunity to test the Coloured Vite Plus Single Wall Stainless Steel Sport Bottle.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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