Best Thermos & Insulated Water Bottle

Posted January 14, 2014 by Joel Schopp in Backpacking
Hydroflask climbing

The Hydroflask 40oz widemouth is the best Insulated Water Bottle and also the best Thermos out there for most people.  It has a great combination of durability, performance, and affordability.

Why Insulated Drink Jugs?

For most occasions to carry liquid we recommend you jump over and read our review of best hydration packs.  However, sometimes you don’t want what you drink to be air temperature.  For instance you need to carry hot drinks like coffee or hot chocolate.  Maybe it is below freezing outside and you’d like to actually drink your liquid instead of admiring how solid it is.  Maybe you live in the South and ice cold water sounds so amazing on those days that are so hot you think you will melt or spontaneously combust.

Why we Love Hydroflask


The outside is made of stainless steel, the inside is made of stainless steel.  Resists corrosion in wet environments, check.  Resists punctures, check.  Resists crushing, check.  Previously most thermoses had stainless steel exteriors but had glass interiors.  We’ve seen the result of what a glass interior thermos does when you abuse it and it isn’t pretty.

There are reports of people who have managed to damage the lid, especially when dropping the bottle while full and having it land on a hard surface on the lid.  We haven’t experienced this problem personally and thus think the risk is overblown.  We think the lids are quite durable.  That said, if your lid breaks or even start to leak the entire product has a lifetime warranty, just go on their site and fill out a quick form and get a new lid.  There also seem to be less reports of lid damage on the standard mouth versions, so if you are very concerned about breaking your lid you may want to choose a standard mouth version.


ZW7A0090.jpgAll Hydroflask widemouth products use the same threading as the MSR Dromedary Bags (rated our best hydration packs) which is the same threading as a Nalgene.  That means all the little sippy inserts and special lids from any of these products will work on the others.  Kinda neat.  The 40oz is also the same width and holds the same amount of liquid as a Nalgene, it is taller since it has to have space for the vacuum insulation.


You can drink straight from the bottle or use it to pour into mugs.  Because these are lower bulk and weight than traditional thermoses they can replace a normal water bottle.  They also work just as well as the traditional bulky thermos your parents might have owned.


Hydroflask claims all their water bottles keep hot drinks hot up to 12 hours and cold drinks cold 24 hours.  Our testing shows that is pretty accurate for their smaller bottles but that they are being modest with their larger bottles.  These things will keep cold stuff cold forever and hot stuff hot longer than you’d think.  The insulation is amazing!


The widemouth means the bottle is easy to clean with a brush or by just putting in the dishwasher.  Non-porous stainless steel means it doesn’t pick up flavors from your drinks or add them to your water.


Hydroflask lets you choose one of 12 charities they will donate 5% to, just go to their website and enter your name and serial number from your bottle.  You don’t even have to enter any contact information.  Simple.  We like it.

Caleb, one of the Bearded Brothers behind Bearded Brothers Bars, posing with his hydroflask between climbs:


What Others Are Saying

Outside Magazine’s Gear guy says “I highly suggest buying a Hydro Flask as your insulated, everyday water bottle. They are spectacularly tough.”

UppaDowna did a great review and they say “Hydro Flask claims the 12hr/24hr stuff as fact and to be honest in our tests we have found that the real world tests actually push those limits closer to 24hrs/72hrs!! Seriously I was and am still very impressed…I tell you these suckers are bomber and will last you your life time”

35 users gave the 40oz version 4.75 out of 5 stars

510 users gave the 40oz version 4.7 out of 5 stars

Other sizes

We think the 40oz is probably the best size for most people, and is the best selling size.  However, some people may want some larger or smaller sizes.  Here in Texas we just can’t get enough cold water for summer activities, so we dig the 64oz.  In colder climates or for those going solo and drinking coffee 12oz might be plenty.


64oz – Perfect as a beer growler or for those really hot days, this is a full 2 quarts also known as a half gallon.

40oz – The most popular size and the size we recommend for most people.

18oz – The smallest wide mouth is quite a big cup of coffee.  For reference a can of soda comes in at 12oz.


21oz - Fits the contents from one of those 20oz gatorade bottles.

12oz – Pour your can of soda into this and it fits perfectly and stays carbonated and cold.  Also perfect for a single cup of coffee.


We think getting the narrow mouth version is probably a bad idea.  You can get the regular mouth and make cleaning and putting ice in that much easier.  Really there is no upside to getting the narrow mouth.


About the Author

Joel Schopp

Joel is a a rock climber, canoer, backpacker, camper, father, skiier, programmer, swimmer, cyclist, zipliner, kayaker, and adventurer in no particular order. He is president of the Central Texas Mountaineers, Texas regional coordinator for the Access Fund, and sits on the board of the non-profit Ascend Outdoor Adventures. Joel wants you to have the best gear so you don't think about your gear and instead focus on the wonder that is the outdoors.


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