Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle Review

Overall Score

Last Updated December 3, 2022
  • Ease of Use 80% 80%
  • Durability 90% 90%
  • Seal 100% 100%
  • Maintenance 100% 100%
  • Insulation 20% 20%

Key Takeaways

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Large and Lightweight

The weight and capacity make this an ideal bottle for other extended activities

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Made in the USA

And backed by a full warranty that includes incidental damage

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Easy Maintenance

The bottle and cap are dishwasher safe, but hand washing is also a breeze

Made in the USA

Changeable Tops

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Overview

The Nalgene Wide Mouth is an all-time classic bottle that after decades of use continues to be a top choice among people with an active lifestyle. Nalgene was born out of a life sciences company that originally produced plastic pipettes in the 1940s1. In the following decades, the brand slowly made its way into the mainstream. In the 1970s, it was helped by outdoor enthusiasts and organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America who saw Nalgene’s durable plastic design as an alternative to the typical metal canteens of the time1. In 1980, Nalgene made its way onto the bench of the famed “Miracle on Ice” USA Hockey Team that defeated the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, NY2. By the 1990s, Nalgene was widely available on store shelves as the brand started to experiment with a more vibrant color palette that appealed to the masses1. Since then, Nalgene has continued to hold its place as a top choice for reusable bottles with the 32 oz. Wide Mouth product as perhaps its most iconic model.

The Hydration Review team found the Nalgene Wide Mouth to have a classic, sporty design. Even though the bottle is 32oz., it is not cumbersome to handle thanks to minimalist features. The bottle weight is also a lot lower than one may expect. Coming in at an empty weight of 6.25oz, it is almost one fourth the weight of the Yeti Rambler 26oz with an additional 6oz capacity. Whether you’re an urbanite who’s on the go all day or an outdoor adventurer taking the long way home, the Nalgene’s capacity and light weight make it a great choice for extended use.

Nalgene wide mouth sits on a railing with a scenic view in the distance.

Picture-perfect hydration. The translucent coloring of the Nalgene Wide Mouth makes it easy to see how much water you’ve consumed and how much you have left.

One other aspect we want to highlight up front is the lifetime warranty that includes incidental damages. Our team has researched a lot of bottles and we can confidently say this is a unique offering. Most other brands offer a limited warranty on manufacturing defects, however, the Nalgene warranty will cover any and all damage. This is a huge selling point and should instill the highest amount of confidence in buyers. 

Ease of Use

The Nalgene Wide Mouth 32oz., is at the high end of the scale when it comes to overall volume and at only 8.25 in. tall, this bottle is a bit stocky. A user with large hands should have no problem gripping this bottle, but those with smaller hands may find it harder to grasp. If holding it by the flask presents a challenge, users have the option of grabbing it by the plastic strap that connects the cap to the flask. Our review team found it most comfortable to carry it using this method with the bottle at our side while walking or hiking. 

Nalgene wide mouth is shown next to a ski erg.

The Nalgene wide mouth is a great choice for heavy gym days when you want to maximize your volume of water on demand.

While the screwable cap is the only component on this bottle, the team at Nalgene did a great job making it a user-friendly design. One of our reviewers specifically called out that she liked the textured grip on the cap since it allowed for easy opening and closing even when wet. Another reviewer found himself surprised that he could operate the bottle with one hand; unscrewing, drinking and then tightening the cap while his other hand stayed on the steering wheel of his car. Having the lid stay attached is a simple but seriously useful design feature. Users won’t ever need to think about holding or potentially dropping the cap.

One final feature to call out is the liquid measuring scale on the side of the bottle. This isn’t exactly a high tech feature, but it’s incredibly useful and seldom found on other water bottles. It’s a two-sided scale that shows milliliters and ounces starting from 4oz. and going up to 32oz. The HydrationReview team found this was a great way to keep ourselves honest about our water consumption throughout the day. This benefit, obviously not available in any stainless steel bottles, is something a user will appreciate more over time. 

Durability

In 2008, Nalgene announced its shift to Tritan as its primary plastic material as a result of heightened awareness of the deleterious effects of BPA. Tritan is a BPA-free, highly durable material that can easily stand up to daily abuse. A full strength grip of the bottle will barely make it flex. The bottle can even withstand routine dropping on hard surfaces. In fact, one of our testers “accidentally” dropped this bottle down a flight of concrete stairs and it barely even scratched the bottle. The Nalgene Wide Mouth is definitely a bottle you can rely on. 

The bottom line is the Nalgene Wide Mouth is extremely well designed and constructed. Whether you’re working through a long list of national park visits or endlessly exploring the big city, we’re confident the Nalgene will be your hydration partner for a very, very long time. And even if something crazy happened and your Nalgene was damaged, you always have the lifetime warranty to fall back on. 

 

Seal

Users of the Nalgene Wide Mouth shouldn’t worry about this bottle opening in their bag. With a little bit of torque, the cap will tighten, mitigating concerns around opening while in your backpack. After extended testing trials with the bottle ending up in every position in a variety of bags and backpacks, we haven’t had a single instance of leakage.

Maintenance

The Nalgene Wide Mouth is 100% dishwasher safe. Both the bottle and cap will be fully cleaned in a dishwasher. It’s wide mouth makes it easy for the dishwasher to reach all parts of the bottle and give it a thorough cleaning. 

The Nalgene Wide Mouth and Yeti Rambler bottles are positioned in a dish washer machine.

A weekly run in the dishwasher will keep your Nalgene squeaky clean. No need to worry about any damage to your bottle from the wash cycle or high temperatures.

No dishwasher? No problem. Hand washing this bottle was easy for our reviewers with a bottle brush or in some cases, a standard dish brush. The wide mouth of the bottle made getting in and moving around with a brush easy. Whether you use a dishwasher or clean it the old fashioned way, you won’t be spending too much time or effort maintaining this bottle.

Insulation

The single plastic wall construction is not designed to retain heat or cold. During our trials, we found the Nalgene Wide Mouth to keep water cooled for up to 4 hours. After that, however, the water inside warmed to room temperature. 

Without insulation, it is not a good choice for sipping hot beverages. The one common exception to this guidance is a strategy used for staying warm while camping: fill your Nalgene with hot water and place it in the bottom of your sleeping bag for an additional heat source. The insulation of the sleeping bag will keep the bottle (and you) warm for most of the night.

 

References

1“This ‘OG’ Water Bottle Has Been on the Market for 70 Years.” Insider, www.insider.com/sc/nalgene-anniversary-water-bottle-history-2019-6. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

2“Where Were You in 1980?” Nalgene, nalgene.com/brand/hockey.html. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

 

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