Updating a Classic Piece of Gear

One liter hard-sided Nalgene bottle

Now that winter is upon us here in the northern hemisphere those of us who pursue outdoor activities in the cold often turn to a trusty, classic piece of gear for carrying water when the temperatures drop below freezing.  In summer I maintain that a Platypus soft-sided device is hard to beat for weight and durability but in winter the narrow mouth is hard to fill without getting your hands cold and wet and water tends to freeze easily when stored in it.  So in winter I return to my trusty one liter Nalgene bottle.  The bottle above is one of two Nalgene bottles I own, this one was purchased in 2001 and has lived with me in three states, seen countless trail miles, has been thrown, dropped, floated, used, and abused in activities ranging from use at school, work, trail maintenance, snowboarding, canoeing, hiking, and probably enough others that I can’t even remember to list.

The lexan material used in the bottle is extremely durable and provides a great surface for stickers to personalize it from all the other Nalgenes out there.  Notice in the photo above that I’ve put stickers nearly all the way around the bottle but I’ve intentionally left a gap running from top to bottom.  This allows you to still see how much fluid you have in the bottle and makes it easier to denote volume when filling.

The lid and lid-retaining strap are less durable on these bottles although still well-designed.  I managed to keep this bottle completely intact until a dog got hold of it in ’06 or ’07 and gnawed the little piece of plastic off that holds the cap on.  Amazingly I managed to not lose the lid and have always wanted to fix it which I did last week.  I drilled a couple holes into the remaining bits of the strap, ran a piece of coated wire through them, looped the wire and closed it off with some little bits of hardware.  Works like a charm.

Do you have a favorite Nalgene that you’ve held onto for all these years regardless of the bad name they seem to get in the ultralight press?