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Gear Test: Klean Kanteen Wide Insulated Stainless-Steel Water Bottle

October 1, 2010
Filed under Camping Gear, Water & Hydration

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Concerns over the safety of using polycarbonate plastic water bottles caused a major stir a couple of years ago. Fears were further fueled by recent research in the United States indicating that Bisphenol A (BPA), an organic chemical used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastic, may be toxic to humans. In response, manufacturers of water bottles made from this plastic have been scrambling to find alternatives to materials containing BPA, which have also been used in food packaging since the 1960s and in reusable water bottles.

Are plastic water bottles, even those containing new chemical formulas free of BPA, safe for consumers? While that question might stir a heated debate among folks of differing perspectives, there is a simpler solution for consumers. Purchase one of the many stainless-steel water bottles available for your recreational needs, and there’s no room for debate. Stainless steel releases no toxins into water, and it’s highly durable and easily cleaned. Some people might notice a metallic taste, but it’s hardly objectionable.

Among the stainless-steel bottles now on the market, we found a few with design and construction characteristics that set them apart from the masses. One such bottle is the Klean Kanteen Wide Insulated. It is double-walled, vacuum-insulated and made from top-quality 18/8, food-grade stainless steel. Its interior is 100-percent stainless steel, too, so it won’t retain or transfer tastes from any foods or liquids stored inside.

Several sizes are available, but the 20-ounce was my choice for testing. Although wide enough to easily fill or drink from, the bottle is still narrow enough to slip into most water-bottle pouches on the typical daypack. The looped plastic top (stainless steel inside) accommodates a carabiner for external attachment to a pack.
And Klean Kanteen sells an excellent accessory, the Nite Ize S-Biner for just such applications.

To test the bottle’s heat-retention capabilities, we preheated it with hot tap water for five minutes. We then filled it with boiling water (197 degrees F at my altitude) and left it outside in 45- to 53-degree temperatures for exactly six hours. Upon opening, the water was 136 degrees, plenty hot for a cup of celebratory green tea and it easily poured from the bottle’s wide mouth. That sounds like a real success story to me. $23 to $28, depending on size. Klean Kanteen: 530/345-3275; kleankanteen.com.

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