A collapsible water bottle is a great addition to any gear inventory; having a collapsible water bottle can really save space in your backpack. But this is not just a great option for hikers! Anyone can benefit from having a space-saving collapsible water bottle around. You can carry it to the gym or yoga, or to an event, or anytime you need a drink! Incorporating a reusable water bottle will make a drastic reduction in the amount of plastic garbage a person generates as well, so this is one item that is certainly Earth-Approved!
As an ultralight hiker, I have spent decades trying to save space and weight in my own backpack; as a result, I know way too much about collapsible water bottles! In this article I am going to go over the common types of collapsible water bottles and what material is used in each, and then get into my Top Picks for each category.
I will be highlighting the Pros and Cons of each type of collapsible water bottle, as opposed to each Top Pick; the construction and performance of these bottles are so similar that sometimes it is tough to compare them side by side. Instead, I will be highlighting what makes each of my Top Picks stand out from the rest!
OK, Let’s get started with the two main types of collapsible water bottle you will find when exploring your options; the silicone water bottle and the “foldable” water bottle.
FIRST, A WORD ON BPA!!
All of my Top Picks will be BPA-Free options. The only time you will find BPA still used is when you buy a used bottle or a very cheap bottle from overseas.
BPA and BPA-FREE are words that are tossed around a lot! If you are not sure of why we choose to exclude this in our manufacturing process, let me sum it up for you.
BPA (Bisphenol A) is an organic compound that mimics the female sex hormone estrogen. When used in bottles or containers, it can seep or leach into your food or water. Once in the human body, BPA “fits” into the same enzymatic protein pockets that estrogen does, meaning it can activate some of the same processes.
We certainly don’t want that! Glad BPA is gone for good!
THE COLLAPSIBLE SILICONE WATER BOTTLE
A collapsible silicon water bottle has many great uses. Each one of my top picks in this category will highlight silicone water bottles made from food- or medical-grade silicone. These bottles roll into a compact little bundle that can be stashed anywhere!
INSIDER TIP: While using your silicone water bottle in hot weather, fill the bottle about 2/3 full of water or juice and freeze it. Just before you head out, top the bottle off, and enjoy a cold drink all day long!
Silicon water bottles are great for anyone trying to focus on minimizing their environmental impact. With filtered water available in so many places it is tough to justify wasting a single-use bottle on a simple drink!
- Durable – with proper care will last for years to come
- Eco-friendly (no BPA or other toxic chemicals)
- Versatile – can be used in many areas
- Collapsible – save space in your backpack or purse!
- As they age can lose sturdiness
- Silicone can impart a taste is water is left in the bottle for multiple hours
THE FOLDABLE WATER BOTTLE
The foldable water bottle is the other main style of collapsible water bottle on the market. I have been using this style of bottle for many years and I prefer this to the silicone water bottle for use during hiking trips.
The foldable water bottle is constructed from polyethylene or something similar, and all of my Top Picks will be BPA-free. The bottle can be folded (using the bottle bottom as a guide) into an incredibly small package.
While hiking I generally try to keep very little water in my backpack, if I know water will be available during my walk. Water is heavy, about 2.2lbs per liter! However, after the day is done I need to cook, brush my teeth, and rehydrate throughout the night. Having a couple of foldable water bottles along with me means I can fill up at the last water source before I make camp and carry plenty of water for the night, all while keeping my pack light during the day!
Traditional water bottles do not collapse and so they are not a good option for this, they take up too much space in my backpack and some of them are actually quite heavy. But my foldable water bottles worked perfectly and I never had to worry about being able to carry enough water!
- SUPER light-weight
- Stands upright when full
- Less likely to leak when new
- Can be used with water bladder hoses (versatile)
- Less durable – after many folds the creases begin to weaken the material
- Not as easy to drink from when comparing to the silicone water bottle!
- Not great with hot drinks
So now that we know what we are looking for, let’s get into my top picks!
NUMBER ONE PICK FOR BEST COLLAPSIBLE SILICONE WATER BOTTLE – THE NOMADER COLLAPSIBLE SPORTS WATER BOTTLE
The Nomader Collapsible Sports Water Bottle is my number one pick for two simple reasons; the rigid outer insulated sleeve and the patented locking twist cap. The sleeve will keep your drinks hot or cold for far longer than traditional silicone! Plus, the locking twist cap doubles as a guard against dirt or bacteria. All the great benefits of a silicone water bottle with the added icing on the cake!
INSIDER TIP: During a fall or winter hike, don’t be afraid to use your collapsible water bottle for hot drinks. With a couple of reusable plastic cups and spoons, you can even pack a soup or chowder along with you to really enjoy your lunch break! I like to tuck the bottle of hot liquid close to my backplate in my backpack and carry a personal heater along with me while I hike in cold weather.
NUMBER TWO PICK FOR BEST COLLAPSIBLE SILICONE WATER BOTTLE – THE AQUABOD COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLE
The Aquabod Collapsible water bottle comes in second on my list of top picks, but it could easily tie for first place! The Aquabod is constructed from medical grade silicone, a higher grade than the standard food grade silicone bottles. This means the bottle will expand and contract far easier, and does not retain the flavor or odor of the beverage you keep inside.
This is a stylish bottle with a great wide mouth you can pop ice cubes into!
NUMBER THREE PICK FOR BEST COLLAPSIBLE SILICONE WATER BOTTLE – THE SKYYHI COLLAPSIBLE SPORTS WATER BOTTLE
The SkyyHi is on my list of top picks because of the super cool design. This is not the best bottle for saving space (the thicker silicon does not roll up like the thinner models) but this bottle will be most like drinking from a normal bottle. The rigid frame keeps its shape at all levels of water and can be compressed as you drink!
Add the super stylish bamboo lid and you have a winner!
NUMBER ONE PICK FOR BEST FOLDABLE WATER BOTTLE – THE VAPUR ELEMENT
The Vapur Element is one of the industry standards when discussing foldable water bottles. The flip-top cap with integrated carabiner is a great option, you can attach this to your backpack or bag and pull it off to drink with one hand. I like this option!
The Vapur Element collapses into almost nothing; you can easily stash this bottle in your back pocket when finished drinking what is inside.
INSIDER TIP: When reading reviews or descriptions of collapsible water bottles, silicone water bottles, or foldable water bottles, you will see nearly all of the bottles note that they are OK to use with hot liquids. While this is technically the case, if you are interested in using your new bottle for hot liquids, I suggest the silicone water bottle. A foldable water bottle is made form extremely thin material and can be uncomfortable to handle if the liquid is too hot!
NUMBER TWO PICK FOR BEST FOLDABLE WATER BOTTLE – THE PLATYPUS SOFTBOTTLE WITH CLOSURE CAP
The Platypus SoftBottle is just awesome – Platypus has been making high quality water containers for many years and most of my hikes have included at least one Platypus in my backpack! The SoftBottle is great for any occasion and the anti-spill bite nozzle keeps your water in the bottle until you are ready for a refreshing sip!
NUMBER THREE PICK FOR BEST FOLDABLE WATER BOTTLE – THE SPORTZU
The Sportzu foldable water bottle is my number one pick for best economic collapsible water bottle. This pack of three costs less than some of my other top choices! However, the quality is still apparent; this bottle is ready to go with a tightly sealing cap and stylish colors.
Enjoy your new water bottle!