YOU CAN’T EAT the product in this Product Showcase. In fact, you can’t even buy it in New Zealand from what I can tell. So why would I bother extolling its virtues? Well, it’s basically way too cool to languish in obscurity.
Local obscurity that is. In the USA, where Hydro Flask is based, these insulated stainless steel flasks, water bottles and food containers have a great reputation and a strong following. Big deal I hear you cry, who cares? Everyone from Camelbak to the various outdoor shops to the Two Dollar Shops stock some kind of insulated bottle, and worst comes to worst, there’s a thermos flask hidden behind the Tupperware pile in almost every kitchen cupboard. That’s all true but none of those options are a Hydro Flask.
My particular interest in the brand and its products came from seeing a visiting instructor at Bikram Yoga Britomart lugging around a huge black water bottle. When you teach two 90 minute classes in a row with only a 30 minute rest in between, you tend to drink a lot. I noticed the logo on the bottle and filed it away in the memory banks of my onboard computer but it was only months later that I was moved to action. I read this article on My Bikram Yoga Life, the site run by our new guest poster Leigh A Hall, where she looks at how much she likes her Hydro Flask. As she put it, “If you do not own a Hydro Flask you are missing out. Period.”
Around then, I was using a mix of different BPA-free plastic bottles ranging from 800ml to just over a liter, and even a 1.25 liter Pump bottle to get a little extra liquid into class. In every case, all I could look forward to was water that got progressively warmer. After one particularly hot class at Achel Yoga in Botany, Auckland, where my water seemed to be delivered from the steam spout of an espresso machine, I decided that there had to be a better way.
So I did a search for Hydro Flask in NZ and found diddly-squat. Sure there were heaps of stainless steel flasks on Trade Me, but they all use those little press-button tops and that just wasn’t what I wanted to face while lying exhausted in a pool of my own sweat every day – I didn’t want dribbles, I wanted a gusher. So onto the Hydro Flask site I went, credit card in hand only to encounter that most nefarious of obstacles – the “we don’t ship to your hick country, no way, no how” situation.
Not one to be easily turned aside from what I want, I hopped over to Amazon, where there were heaps of Hydro Flask products and no issues whatsoever with shipping. A week or so later, my blue 40 oz bottle arrived – landed cost $60, which I consider to be a bargain considering how good the product is.
The wide mouth Hydro Flask 40 oz bottle (that’s 1.18 liters for us metric types) is made of 18/8 stainless steel and is a double walled design like most stainless steel insulated flasks. Where this one differs is that it’s built tough – this thing is something of a substantial load even when empty, but as Boris The Blade aka Boris The Bullet Dodger said in one of my favourite movies (Snatch), “Heavy is good, heavy is reliable. If it doesn’t work … you can always hit them with it.” That kind of thinking echoes mine, so I’m happy with hefty. It’s worth noting that the 40 oz bottle is also fat, way too fat to fit into the water bottle pocket on my Kata daypack but that’s also okay because I bought this sucker for Bikram Yoga class, which is where it’s simply brilliant.
According to the manufacturer, the food-grade stainless steel interior is non-porous, which means that there’s no residual bacteria buildup and no residual smell or taste. The insulated Wide Mouth Flat Cap is made from 100% recyclable BPA-free PP#5. I bought my bottle with the optional Hydro-Flip lid, which allows me to just pop open a flap and have a drink without screwing and unscrewing the standard lid. The wide mouth makes it easy for me to mix my strange hydration formula right into the bottle.
The bottle and caps are backed by a lifetime warranty but to be honest, that’s not much good down in NZ because the user is responsible for the shipping to get a defective product back to the USA. Still, the powder coated finish looks great – this is no thin, once over lightly coat of paint, while the bottle itself feels exceedingly durable, so I’m not too fussed about the warranty.
In use, the bottle is exactly what it’s cracked up to be. Hydro Flask claims that cold liquids will stay cold for up to 24 hours while hot liquids will remain hot for up to 12. I haven’t tried the hot liquid test but I can testify that cold liquids stay cold for at least a full day.
The insulation is a little too effective – you see, I had the bright idea of freezing some water before class (not in my Hydro Flask of course). When I transferred the icy water to the bottle, there were small chunks of ice floating around. When I got to the end of class over two hours later, the ice was still there and the water was too cold for me to chug down the way I usually do – so that’s still icy after 90 minutes in a 36-38 degree room. As far as I can recall, that’s the first time I’ve left a Bikram class with water in a bottle.
So as a water bottle for hot yoga, this thing is a 10 out of 10 but it’s also brilliant in a hot car. There’ll be no more drinking lukewarm water for me when I’m on the road or just out and about during summer. The bottle is also perfect for hot tea on those winter dive trips too (when I finally get back in the water) and it’s also spot on for a picnic.
In fact, the only thing wrong with the 40 oz bottle is that it’s too big and too small. Too big for a morning running errands, and it’s too small for a tough yoga class, the kind where I’m glugging back water like a camel just returned from a trans-Sahara trek. Fortunately, there is a remedy.
In the wide range, there are 21 and 24 oz (621ml and 709ml respectively) narrow mouth bottles, which would be ideal for general purpose use, and there’s an 18 oz (532ml) wide mouth bottle which would be perfect for smoothies.
Then for yoga use, there’s the big daddy of the range – the 64 oz (1.89 liter) Beer Growler; apparently Americans like getting draft beer and lugging it home, or to parties etc. Now that beast would be the perfect Bikram Yoga bottle for me. It’s huge, but I’ll cope with that just so can have nearly two liters of cold water on hand. And believe me, in the depths of a Bikram Yoga class, cold (not icy) water is more precious than gold. There have been a couple of moments when I’ve reached for this bottle at the end of class, gotten the first swig of cold water and thought that this is the very best thing I own – admittedly I probably wasn’t entirely lucid at that point but the sentiment is still valid.
So I reckon a 64 oz and a 21 oz will be winging their way to me soon, with a Hydro-Flip lid for the 64, and a couple of JugLug handles, which are made by a third party to be used on Hydro Flask bottles (the standard and Hydro-Flip lids on the wide mouth bottles aren’t karabiner friendly).
In short, I can’t recommend this product highly enough.