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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Nalgene loop-top bottle > Owner Review by Hollis Easter

Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth Loop-Top Bottle - Water Bottles
Owner Review
April 2nd, 2007

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Front view of the 32 oz Nalgene bottle

Reviewer Information:

Name: Hollis Easter
Age: 26
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 0" (1.8 m)
Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
Email address: backpackgeartestATholliseasterDOTcom
City, State, Country: Potsdam, New York, USA
Backpacking Background: I started hiking as a child in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. As a teenager, I hiked my way to an Eagle Scout award. These days, I'm mostly doing day hikes in the mountains. I hope to get back into doing longer trips soon. I'm also learning rock climbing.

I am a midweight backpacker: I don't carry unnecessary gear, but neither do I cut the edges from my maps. I hike in all seasons, at altitudes from sea level to 5,300 ft (1,600 m), and in temperatures from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38 C).

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Nalge Nunc International Corporation
Year of manufacture: circa 2001
Listed weight: 0.33 lbs (5.3 oz) (150 g)
Actual weight: 0.33 lbs (5.3 oz) (150 g)
Listed volume: 32 fl oz (950 mL)
Actual volume: 36.5 fl oz (1080 mL) filled to bottom of neck.
MSRP: $9.50 US

Product features: (from product website)

  • Strong, durable polycarbonate (Lexan) construction
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Leakproof cap never gets lost and screws on easily
  • Large opening easily accommodates ice cubes, etc.
  • Available in many colors "to brighten up anybody's gear"
  • Graduations on the side of the bottle for easy measuring
  • Withstands temperatures -211 F (-135) C to 275 F (135 C)

Field information:

Hiking locations used: I don't believe that location matters a great deal with water bottles; they seem relatively unaffected by altitude, trail conditions, and the like. However, I've had several of these bottles and they have accompanied me on every hike I've done in the last six years. That includes terrain both flat and mountainous, high and low elevation, in four countries (USA, Canada, Scotland, and Spain).

Non-hiking locations used: My Nalgene bottles have carried water for me while kayaking, while attending classes, while performing on stage, while rehearsing, etc. Basically they've been my water bottles of choice under all circumstances.

Weather conditions: Nalgene bottles, like the postmen of old, shrink from neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail. I have used them in bright sun and in cloud, in rain and snow, at temperatures as low as -10 F (-23 C) and as high as 110 F (43 C). As with location, weather conditions don't matter that much to water bottles except when they're used below freezing. Water has frozen in my bottles many times, without bursting them.


I suspect that few items of "outdoor culture" are as familiar as the Nalgene bottle. Whether made from the currently-popular Lexan polycarbonate or the formerly ubiquitous HDPE, these bottles have been accompanying hikers as long as I can remember. They have also become required pieces of uniform kit for "outdoor chic", the new fashion style that involves wearing the finest of high-tech gear for backcountry jaunts to the corner store and epic treks to the mall.

Nalgene bottles are everywhere. They're for sale in outdoor stores, but also in college bookstores, grocery stores, drug stores, and big box retailers. I love my Nalgene bottles and refuse to give them up for PET plastic alternatives. Why? Perhaps it's the bright colors that "brighten up" my gear. But really, there are a few factors that clinch it for me.

I have never had a Nalgene bottle leak in all my years of using them. I once had a water bottle made by a competing brand split open along a seam, which was made even more inconvenient by the fact that it was packed next to my sleeping bag at the time. This has not been a problem with Nalgene bottles. The Lexan polycarbonate is extremely strong; even after dropping these bottles on rocks and floors and sidewalks, they remain watertight. Knock on wood, they will keep it up!

The wide mouth on the bottle allows easy addition and removal of tea bags when I want to make tea in the bottle. This is particularly convenient in the winter, when I often take a full bottle of sweetened tea as a civilized energy drink. The wide mouth allows me to reach in with a spoon to extract the tea bags, and also allows me to add sugar without spilling. Close the lid, shake, and I'm set!

Nalgene bottle showing the faded markings on the side
Damage to the external markings

Winter brings out another advantage of the Nalgene's cap. Whether because of its width or because of the ridges on the cap, the bottle is very easy to open and hold even with heavy winter gloves on. I appreciate this when it's well below freezing and the wind is gusting to 60 miles per hour (100 km per hour).

The bottle is very easy to clean. I usually just rinse it out with water when I get home from a trip, and allow it to dry in the open air. If I've carried tea in the bottle, a quick wash with a bit of dish detergent cleans it fine, and leaves no lingering scents.

I have no way to test the bottles to their rated thermal limits. However, I can attest that the bottles work fine when I pour boiling water into them in the winter, and when I put ice cubes in them during the summer. The boiling water capability significant extends their utility in the winter. Even with the boiling water treatment, my bottles still freeze at the end of a day in the mountains; without it, they'd freeze before the morning was out.

The Lexan polycarbonate is impact-resistant. I have occasionally used a bottle to chip ice, and it doesn't show any marks. In the spirit of multiple-use items, I must point out that Nalgene bottles have served as my pillows on many nights--they fit the curve of my neck well enough to suffice, in a pinch.

My one complaint about my Nalgene bottles pertains to their external markings. The bottle carries a volume graduation in both fluid ounces and milliliters along one side; the printing is very slightly raised. Over time, this marking always rubs off. The effect is particularly pronounced around the middle of the bottle, where I tend to grip it. This is no great loss, but it's mildly unfortunate.


I have used Nalgene bottles for a long time. I love them, and even though I know I could save a few ounces by using cast-off soda bottles or hydration bladders, I remain a Nalgene user. Why? They never fail me. They are easy to use in all weather conditions, are functionally indestructible, and don't smell manky after I've used them for a long time. If I'm feeling lonely, I can look around and feel a frisson of belonging when I see identical bottles in the hands of all my fellow hikers.

The Nalgene bottle does what a bottle should, and it does it well.

Read more reviews of Nalgene gear
Read more gear reviews by Hollis Easter

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Nalgene loop-top bottle > Owner Review by Hollis Easter

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