Don’t Cup Your Hands: The Cheapest and Best Water Bottle for the Apocalypse
Water is possibly the most necessary thing you will need in a post-apocalyptic world. Why? Because, dum-dum, water is the body’s principle component and it makes up somewhere between 60 and 70% of our body’s weight. Without water lubing up our various systems, the body can begin to break down and damage itself. Toxins aren’t cleaned out, nutrients aren’t carried to vital cells, and you can begin to dehydrate, all of which saps you of precious energy.
So you’ll need to carry around a decent amount of water at all times. But what’s the best way to do it? I went to low-end retail stores, bought various water bottles, jugs, and canteens and will give you a rating so you can make your own decisions.
- El Cheapo – this thing looks like a light-blue gallon jug with a nozzle top. That’s because that’s all it is. While this model only costs about two bucks and holds the greatest amount of water, the thin plastic easily dings, cracks, and is a real pain to clean out. Rating: ♠♠
- Desert Canteen – The most stylish of all the drinking apparatuses I have tried, the desert canteen is a more durable, two quart plastic jug lined with canvas and rimmed with some kind of extra thick aluminum foil. The “metal” will bend irreparably out of shape the first time you drop it from a foot’s height, but the jug will then comically rock as the contents slosh back and forth. But what do you really expect for 6 dollars? Also I could see this one almost double as a kind of concussive weapon, but the screw top gets VERY dirty and some kind of fuzzy mold started to grow in mine. Rating: ♠♠♠
- 3) The Bota Bag – Going to Burning Man? Bring this along! Trying to survive the final ride of the four horsemen? Better leave it at home. The bota bag, or wine skin, resembles a small suede stomach; it is really nothing more than a plastic bad with a bit of leather for protection. You can forget about cleaning it – that is unless you go out and buy special soluble cleaners (like those made for CamelBaks – gross rip off ). Also, my bota bag said it filled to 1 liter, which was an outrageous lie. It filled to about 600 mL, but water pressure wasn’t enough to fully fill the bag. Plus you’ll look like a hippie, a hippie that can afford an $8 plastic bag, i.e. a dumb hippie. Skip this one and make your own out of a dead cow’s udder. Rating: ♠
- The “Nalgene” – while probably the most eco-conscience of the list, the Nalgene is probably the most common water-drinking device in the market, being that it only costs between 10 and 12 dollars. It has a hard durable construction, a large, easily accessible mouth (go for the wide mouth 32 ounce model), and is marketed as being “indestructible.” While that is close to the truth, remember any time you fill a non-porous object with water, freeze it (water expands when frozen), and then shoot it with a shotgun… well, you’ll be picking out the pieces of that puppy from your hair for weeks. However with that said, it is fairly easy to clean and can carry a significant amount of water. Flavored beverages (like tea or tang) tend to leech out their flavors into the plastic, so you taste it sometimes even after you’ve cleaned it. And don’t these things give you cancer or something? Who cares, it’s the apocalypse. If the cancer don’t kill you, the guy in the hockey mask probably will. Rating: ♠♠♠♠Nalgene also makes collapsible canteens, a reinforced plastic pouch, in varying sizes, up to a whopping 96 ounces. Not a bad second option.
- Cold Steel – My final purchase was a stainless steel water bottle, similar in size and shape to the “Nalgene,” which makes it’s own stainless versions for 27 dollars. I paid 12 for my generic version. It is great. Same wide mouth, very durable material (I dropped mine on a concrete floor and only put the tiniest of dents in it), and it looks like you’re drinking out of something from a reactor core. What’s probably the best idea about investing in this for a survivor on the go is the fact that it’s made of metal. You can get any water, set the water bottle in your campfire, boil it and kill harmful bacteria. People with Nalgene’s can do that, and while they’re cramped up with Giardia, you can go scavenge some more with your thirst quenched. Rating: ♠♠♠♠♠