Venture to any trailhead, campsite, college campus or brewery, and you’re bound to see an impeccably designed, often colorful stainless steel bottle with a joyful looking character inscribed on the side — a Hydro Flask double wall vacuum-insulated bottle. The brand has become synonymous with the insulated bottle category, and hasn’t ceased its cycle of innovation since it was founded in 2009. Its latest release, however, eschews the brightly colored spectrum of pigments in favor of a sleek range of metal finishes. But the advancements in the new Trail Series™ go much deeper than the surface — the new bottles are packed with serious tech aimed at shedding as many ounces as possible.
The new 24 oz Trail Series™ weighs just 9.9 ounces. 9.9 ounces. That’s featherweight compared to the 13.2 ounces of the standard Wide Mouth bottle. Hydro Flask was able to achieve this by thinning the 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel walls of the bottle to help reduce weight while maintaining durability — and the TempShield® double-wall vacuum insulation the brand is known for. Even the Honeycomb™ insulated cap and perforated strap cut down on weight.
To find out how these bottles perform in real life, and get an insider’s perspective on Hydro Flask as a brand, we caught up with Nicole Brown of Women Who Hike and professional photographer Richard Bacon.
Nicole Brown, Founder, Women Who Hike
Nicole Brown founded Women Who Hike in 2015. It all started when she moved to a metropolitan area in southern California. When she first arrived, she didn’t think there were going to be too many women like her in the area. She grew up in Oregon, and solo-hiked a lot; but the more she got outside hiking in California, the more she realized that there were a lot of women in her area interested in hiking — and interested in building a community. Since then, Women Who Hike has grown tremendously and hosts events across the country — in addition to the online communities it operates on Facebook.
Q: Do you remember your first Hydro Flask bottle?
Nicole Brown: I actually have one of the original models — back when they only had black with the old school logo, which is pretty cool. I mean, I can’t even tell you what year it was, but obviously it was a long time ago. I bought it when I was visiting in Oregon. And you know, I still have it. It’s got to be, like, 15 years old at least.
Q: How have the new Lightweight Trail Series™ bottles changed your perspective of the Hydro Flask bottle? Or how have they improved your experience with the bottles? Can you take them more places?
NB: I was actually one of the first people to see the Trail Series™ and it was such a big deal for me because I do so much backpacking. And, you know, every single ounce counts. So I was so excited to see this bottle. And for me, for backcountry stuff, and going out for two, three, four or five days, getting water is such a task. It’s one that I enjoy, but it’s also time-consuming. And no matter where you’re getting your water from, even if you’re getting it from a clear-running stream, and it’s cold because it’s coming from the mountains, you put that water in [a regular] bottle or a bladder and very quickly, your water’s warm. There’s nothing better than having cold, refreshing water in the backcountry. And the Trail Series™ bottle honestly has changed the game as far as being able to have cool refreshing water when you’re on a three-, four- or five-day backpacking trip. I’m so thankful that this product exists now.
Richard Bacon, Professional Photographer
Richard Bacon is a landscape and lifestyle photographer whose images of the Pacific Northwest have captured the attention of outdoor brands and enthusiasts around the country. Bacon grew up filming skateboarding in California, but it wasn’t until he moved to Bend, OR in 2013 that he began shooting still photographs. He started carrying a camera with him on weekend hikes with his wife, and quickly discovered not only a strong desire to capture the wilderness around him, but an obvious talent for doing so. In the six years since, Bacon’s photographs have been featured by various brands and publications across the U.S.
Q: What do you generally put inside your Hydro Flask bottle?
Richard Bacon: Usually if I’m doing a backpacking trip I’ll just have water in it; but my wife and I love to cross-country ski in the winter — there’s a bunch of little ski shelters in the area. A lot of the ski trails have these little warming huts that are a couple of miles out, and you can go out there and there’s a little fire going, so we’ll bring a hot drink sometimes, like a hot toddy or something like that. But usually if I’m on a longer backpacking trip I’ll just bring water.
Q: Have you had an opportunity to use any of the lightweight bottles from Hydro Flask’s new Trail Series™?
RB: Yes, I have actually — I went on a few hikes and snowshoes with the lightweight bottle and it was awesome. I know it’s been kind of an ask for a really long time — you know a lot of people’s only complaint about Hydro Flask is obviously, you know, they’re a little bit heavy which makes sense given the technology. I love that my camera bag has smaller holders for water bottles on the sides, and both the 32-ounce and the 24-ounce — the lightweight [bottles] are a bit slimmer than the original [bottles] — fit really well into my camera bag which is super nice. I mean, my camera bag will usually have three or four lenses in it so it’s a super heavy bag — honestly that stuff adds up, so I’ve been looking forward to a lighter bottle for a long time and I’m super excited to use it on backpacking trips this summer.
Lightweight Trail Series™ 24 oz and 32 oz by Hydro Flask
The Hydro Flask 24 oz Lightweight Wide Mouth Trail Series™ comes in obsidian- (pictured), slate- and clay-colored metallic finishes. Due to its innovative stainless steel design and Honeycomb™ insulated lightweight flex cap, Hydro Flask’s new 24 oz Trail Series™ bottle is 25 percent lighter than the brand’s other bottles of the same capacity.