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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Nalgene loop-top bottle > Owner Review by Anson Moxness

Owner Review
August 3rd, 2007
Name: Anson Moxness
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lbs (66 kg)
E-mail: anson dot Moxness at gmail dot com
Location: Anchorage, Alaska US
Backpacking Background:
I have been a backpacker for my entire walking life. Most of my experience backpacking has been in the Chugach Mountains outside of Anchorage. I am experimenting in a more lightweight approach to backpacking and hopefully I will end up with around a 15 lb (6.8 kg) pack for shorter (2-4 day) trips. I try to seek out the most rugged terrain possible; in the Chugach I prefer steeper rocky terrain with some snowfield and glacier crossing. I mostly hike in the summer months but I do have experience in cold weather conditions.

Product Information:
Model: 32 oz Polycarbonate Loop-Top Wide-Mouth Bottle
Manufacturer: Thermo Fisher Scientific
Year Purchased: 2006
Listed Volume: 32 fl oz (1 L)
Measured Volume: 36 fl oz (1.06 L) (when filled to rim)
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight (empty): 6 oz (170 g)
Dimensions: 8.25" x 3.5" diameter (21 cm x 9 cm diameter)
MSRP: $9.00 USD

Nalgene volume gradations The NALGENE 32 oz (1 L) bottle is the stereotypical hiker's water bottle. It is made of a tough, polycarbonate Lexan plastic, which makes it very solid, but forgiving enough to be shatterproof. The attached cap is made of a softer plastic, which screws over the 2" (5 cm) diameter opening. Nalgene sells their bottle in a variety of colors ranging from traditional grey, to pink, with plain Nalgene graphics or customizable ones, such as my red bottle from the Anchorage REI Store (Recreational Equipment, Inc). The side of the bottle is graduated with markings of fluid ounces and milliliters. Every 4 ounces starting at 8 oz, up to 32 oz, and every 100 ml starting at 200 and going to 900. The bottom shows that the bottle itself is made of #7 PC (other polycarbonate plastic), and the cap is a #6 Polystyrene plastic.
According to the Nalgene website, the features of the 32 oz polycarbonate Loop-Top bottle are:

  • Extremely durable
  • Resistant to staining
  • Resistant to retaining odors
  • Recommended for "extreme" adventures
  • Dishwasher Safe (top rack only)
  • Withstands temperatures from -135C (-211F) to 135C (275F)

Field Conditions:
My Nalgene bottle is a staple of my hiking, and daily equipment. While backpacking I have used it from altitudes of sea level to 15,000 feet (4600 meters). I have used the bottle in temperatures from 95 F (35 C) to -40 F (-40 C), in pouring rain, blizzards, and blistering heat. My Naglene water bottle has been frozen, with and without water in it, and I've taken it on airplanes (after chugging all the water at the security station).

It has probably been said that to be a serious outdoorsperson, one must own several, if not dozens of Nalgenes. While not technically true, this statement does shed some light on how wonderful these bottles actually are. I, along with seemingly countless others hikers, will have a Nalgene clipped to my backpacks or stuffed in an easily accessible pocket, and there is a reason for it. The first is that Lexan Nalgene Bottles are tough as nails. I personally have been part of an experiment [Note: don't try this at home] where I held an empty Nalgene under a small SUV's tire then a friend backed up over the bottle. We put a small dent in the bottom of the bottle, but it still held water just like it was new. I have frozen a full water bottle many times but it has never burst and I have poured in boiling water and the Lexan has never melted. The Lexan surface can get scratched, but I have never in my experience had one get a puncture.

Customized Nalgene Bottle The wide mouth allows for easy access to the contents. So, for example, it is easier to add energy drink mixes without spilling, or ice cubes over a narrower mouthed water bottle. The wide mouth of the bottle make it easier to use while wearing bulky winter gloves. Yet another aspect of the wide-mouthed Nalgene that I like is easy cleaning. Nalgene claims they are dishwasher safe, but I still just rinse the bottle out after a long trip and every once and a while rinse it with some dish soap to clean out any lingering scents that sometimes accumulate after a month or two of sitting in a car with half a cup of sports drink in it.

I have only had two issues with my Nalgenes. The first is the lettering on the side, volume graduations or logos, slowly wear off in high friction areas, such as where a strap might hit it or I might hold it on a long trip. Though I have never used the volume markings to measure anything other than a full liter (32 fl oz), which is fairly straight forward even without markings. My second issue is with the loop-top that attaches the cap to the bottle. The attachment at the top of the bottle seems to not be able to withstand more than a full water bottle's worth of weight. If a full bottle is attached by only the loop and the bottle is jerked downward, sometimes the cap separates from the loop. This is easily replaceable with a new cap (MSRP: $3 US, available in multiple colors).

In recent years there have been studies on dangerous chemicals that are contained in the polycarbonate of Lexan plastic. In one study, a similar plastic to Lexan released enough Bisphenol A to cause gene and chromosomal problems in mice. However Nalgene has stated that the amount of these chemicals that may leach into the contents of the bottle isn't enough to cause health problems. As with most current scientific studies there are differing viewpoints, and personally, I will continue using Nalgene bottles even though there are studies showing the bad effects of one kind of polycarbonate. In response to concerns, Nalgene released a High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bottle, which is free of dangerous chemicals.

To rehash:
Nalgene bottles are tough, tougher than me. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a reusable water bottle. The wide-mouthed bottles are easy to use and can be manipulated even with large gloves on. While the tops are not as durable as the body and the writing can come off, they are still one of the best water bottles I have ever used.

Read more reviews of Nalgene gear
Read more gear reviews by Anson Moxness

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Nalgene loop-top bottle > Owner Review by Anson Moxness

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

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