Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Coleman 32-Ounce Aluminum Water Bottle

$8.36 on Amazon
Good Warm Weather Hiking Water Bottle - Coleman 32-Ounce Aluminum Water Bottle

While I have plenty of the old plastic Nalgene bottles in my hiking gear chest, but I do have a couple of aluminum bottles that I have received as gifts over the years. One of those is the 32-ounce Aluminum Bottle from Coleman.  This bottle holds the same amount of a beverage (or any other liquid) as the Nalgene Plastic bottles, but this bottle has a narrow mouth and is made from aluminum and not plastic.

Overall I like the bottle, but I am not a huge fan of narrow mouth bottles in general for hiking.  I like to being able to put ice cubes into my bottles, pour drink mix in or fill it quickly and all of those things are easier with wide-mouth bottles.  The narrow mouths, like these bottles have, make it almost impossible to get an ice cube in.  The drink mix and filling, those you can obviously do, just not quite as quickly or as easily in my mind.

These types of aluminum bottles also benefit from the fact that they do not include the BPA chemicals that have scared some people away from older Nalgene bottles.

Bottle Basics

These aluminum bottles are quite light and I t think that they are lighter than a similar-sized Nalgene plastic bottle.  These aluminum bottles are basically indestructible through every day use like the plastic Nalgene bottles.  That said, I do not think that they would survive a huge drop or a very sharp puncture, but in the everyday rough and tumble world of hiking and being in backpacks, mine have done just fine.  The worst I have noticed are a few scratches and one dent from where I dropped it.

For drinking and for filling, the opening is a narrow one on the top of the bottle.  It's easy enough to drink from and fill from a sink, though because it is a taller bottle, tighter sinks like a bathroom sink, might be difficult to use to fill the bottle.  The cap is a threaded plastic cap that screws on to the top of the bottle and creates a watertight seal.

Aluminum is not transparent and so it is hard to tell what you've got in a bottle.  This is a pain when it comes to filling bottles from streams or other water sources and you may not know if you've gotten debris or other things in the bottle. It is also a pain to clean bottles when you use drink mixes, since you are not sure if you have completely cleaned the bottle (invest in a good bottle brush!).


I like the lightness and the durability of these bottles, but I really am not a fan of the narrow opening.  I like to add drink mixes and iced tea mixes to most of my drinks when I'm out in the woods and it is a pain to get them into this bottle.  It is also a pain cleaning them since I can see mold or dirt in a plastic bottle with this bottle, it is more of a guessing game.  These bottles also transmit heat or cold very quickly - aluminum offers basically no insulation so anything you put into the bottle that is hot or cold, is room temperature pretty quickly.  I do not use these bottles in the winter, as I find my water freezes faster than in a plastic bottle.

For summer hiking though, I have found that this bottle makes for a good general purpose hiking water bottle.  In a year round setting, they make a good choice for a refillable water bottle in a home or office setting.
Also these bottles can be used as fuel bottles in a pinch (though you wouldn't want to use them as a water bottle after that).  With a funnel you can fill the bottle with White Gas or whatever other stove fuel you use and carry it with you.  I have not used this specific bottle for it, but I do have a small, aluminum Coleman bottle that I have used for this purpose over the years when I do not need to bring a ton of fuel with me.

Final Thoughts

While I doubt that narrow mouthed aluminum water bottles will replace all of my Nalgene bottles, the Coleman 32-Ounce Aluminum Water Bottle is not a bad choice if you hike mainly in the warmer months.  It holds plenty of water, is lightweight and is very durable.  It will probably last for years and should serve you well.

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