When it comes to the essentials, I can be somewhat unyielding. When I find something that works, I stick to it. For example, I kept the same paperback-sized wallet for nearly ten years, until it fell apart. The same is true for my water bottle. I have water bottles of all shapes and sizes — insulated, non-insulated, 16-ounce, 24-ounce, one-liter — but my favorite is a 40-ounce stainless steel one that’s covered in dents and stickers, which I’ve owned since 2010. It’s rolled down rock faces, was once almost confiscated at a soccer game in Spain and I’ve had to replace the lid, but it still holds water in addition to all that nostalgia. I never thought that the closest contender for its replacement would be a collapsible bottle.
I stumbled across HydraPak’s one-liter Stash bottle accidentally, and wrote it off, as I do many bottles that aren’t made of stainless steel or durable plastic, as a gimmick — it gets big, it gets small; why do I need that? But the cocktail party effect triggered and I began to notice HydraPak everywhere — its high-quality hydration reservoirs are used by Osprey, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Salomon and many more. They’re built with more functions than you’d expect a reservoir to have, like a locking baffle that expands its volume capacity or detracts for stabilization.
The reservoirs impressed me enough to see if, by chance, a collapsible bottle might be something worth investing in. To get right to the point, it was. I realized all of the bottle’s benefits on my first outing with it, a ski tour in the northern end of Grand Teton National Park. For one, the Stash’s flexible body is BPA- and PFC-free, a fact I took comfort in as I filled it. Secondly, its construction is sound: the elastic sides are connected to a hard plastic top and bottom that are scalloped and ridged so that bottle snaps shut into a tiny disc when it’s empty. It isn’t rigid like some other collapsible models, but that doesn’t make drinking from it sloppy (unless you’re careless; all you have to do is use one hand to tilt the bottom).
The main draw with the stash is that it’s light — about three times as light as my stainless steel bottle — and once it’s empty it doesn’t take up its full volume in my backpack. It hasn’t replaced my old bottle, but it’s become a go-to sub for high exertion activities when every ounce makes a difference. I’ve since picked up some of HydraPak’s other water storage products for camping and have been equally impressed.
Right now, the Stash is available in a bundle with HydraPak’s even more collapsible Stow bottle for 29 percent off at Massdrop. It’s not a massive discount, but notable in that it applies to something that I believe is well worth its full value.
A note on Massdrop:
Massdrop is not like other online retailers. It’s a members-only site that requires signing up (all it takes is an email address). If you’re not a member, you can sign up here. When you place an order from Massdrop at a discounted price, you’re not buying from them directly. The site works by taking orders from consumers, then bulk ordering product at a discount directly from brands and other wholesalers. For more information on how Massdrop works, click here.
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