I got the 27oz loop cap version that fits in a bike cage, because someday, I will again own a working bicycle.
Without much further ado, a brief history of metal water bottles in my life.
My first was a donated Sigg, which was unfortunately aluminum, lined with a maybe BPA-impregnated plastic substance. It was lighter than subsequent stainless steel bottles I have owned, but not as durable. In point of fact, after maybe 10 months as emergency yoga hydration, it showed much flaking of the external paint due to repeated dents and it eventually developed a crack, not unlike a mistreated Coke can, and had to be discarded.
The second bottle (referred to in a comment on said article) was clearcoated stainless steel, unbranded (unless you count a deceptive ‘Property of Mom’ decal as branding) and not so tough. It dented easily during rough-and-tumble gym bag transport (but has not yet cracked). I should point out that I believe it is plastic coated on the inside as well. In its defense, it’s the closest I have tasted to the drinking-from-the-garden-hose experience.
Now on to the Klean Kanteen. Easy enough to describe its merits; wide mouth for the easy application of ice (not that I ever did this, preferring tropical-room-temperature water to the cold kind), wide threads for the loop cap (more on this later), tougher steel, and it’s all steel except for the BPA-free cap and its silicone seal.
The caveat with that wide mouth is that it makes drinking tricky as a mobile endeavour. With the previous bottles, taking a swig whilst driving is easy because your mouth fits around the entire opening, ergo no spills. Wider-mouthed bottles however, require that the drinker tip the bottle carefully to avoid soaking the Armani tie and the Lacoste silk chemise (whilst driving the also imaginary Porsche mentioned in a previous comment). The road had better be excellent and one’s fellow drivers perfectly predictable for this to be practical however, so I often turned up for Fortune 500 meetings somewhat wetter that necessary. I suppose this is what the sport cap is for, but the Klean people explicitly state that the sport cap is NOT leakproof (which is why I chose the twist-to-open loop cap), so it’s either the while-you’re-wearing-it bespoke tailoring or the expensive electronics in the gym bag that will get soaked. Choices choices.
(Whaddaya mean “buy both”? Whaddaya think I’m made of, time? Money? Wisdom?)
The value of large and (thankfully) few threads is that they make it much easier to remove the cap. This is very helpful while drinking and driving (don’t try this at home kids, not that your home has a four-lane expressway anyway, so what the hell, go ahead but don’t blame me for the death and dismemberment). Hydratus genericus above requires a full seven revolutions to remove the cap, while the Klean needs only three full turns. The Sigg was somewhere in between, if I remember correctly, but fewer turns is demonstrably better.
In addition, any issues with cross-threading the threads through carelessness are rendered nil. Yea verily I say unto you ’tis well nigh impossible with these thick square-profile ridges. I’d like to see a hyperactive, accident-prone child manage it, even on purpose. That would be some trick indeed.
One other downside with the Klean’s particular design may be that the edge of the bottle (where one’s mouth touches) is a rolled-under affair that leaves a small open gap on the outside of the bottle’s lip where germs might take up residence if not cleaned regularly, presumably with a fine-bristled brush (and/or my favourite, boiling water).
In addition, I’ve always wondered why most such bottles (including all I’ve ever owned) leave said edge where one’s mouth touches exposed to the gym-bag and mud-splash elements. Do they expect that most people will take out a subscription to ZipLoc or Glad (as I have in the past) to ensure the bottle is carefully sheathed every time we head out? I submit that we will not. Maybe it’s a survival of the fittest thing, weeding out the fools and/or those with weak immune systems. (The only sports bottle I’ve seen that defeated this natural selection process had a sippy valve under a flip-top cap. I expect they’ve been bought out by the Neo-Darwinian world order.)
(Klean does have an even wider-mouthed [read: impractical for use during sports or driving] Kanteen whose cap protects the threads, but it’s observably designed more for pouring than chugging.)
I can report success in the stress-testing portion of my investigation, as I have managed to dent it slightly at the bottom, but it wasn’t easy to do absent-mindedly. The secret is to put a mostly full bottle in your non-cushioned gear bag (it will migrate to the bottom all by itself after mild agitation). Then, carefully impersonating an apathetic teenager, idly drop it on a hard surface from about two or more feet up. The elegantly curved base mitigates the damage somewhat, but it’s still doable.
In an unusually thorough move, I also read the Kanteen’s included literature and learned that one is NOT supposed to use it for hot liquids, though I get the impression that this is simply lawsuit-prevention, as grabbing uninsulated boiling-water-hot steel may cause… discomfort. Fascinatingly however, one is also not supposed to freeze the bottle under any circumstances, as this will damage the metal. Presumably snowboarders need not apply.
In conclusion, I like the product, but I await a resolution to the sport cap debacle. Apparently, they’ve solved the issue of adequate liquid flow whilst drinking from an incompressible canister, but they haven’t managed to make it watertight when closed, nor foreign-gunk-resistant.
Otherwise, that would represent the ideal handheld hydration solution, from my perspective at least.
Happy, hydrated holidays!
P.S. from Greg-
I’d like to thank Won for putting all the time and trouble into this product review. No kidding- he didn’t just type it up and email it to me (which I would have considered a very kind thing for him to do- and all of you are invited to email me a product review you like) it arrived with all the html and links in place. Holy Cow! Thanks to Won Outdoors! I’m a couple of days away from finally printing up some weather-resistant helmet stickers. I’ll definitely be sending Won a few.
And here’s the Klean Kanteen. If you feel the need to provide yourself with some, click and you’ll go to a fine page for ordering them-