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BPA-Free Water Bottles

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Updated May 29, 2014

Many walkers are concerned over reports that damaged polycarbonate clear water bottles might leach bisphenol A (BPA) into the water. Many water bottles are made of other plastics and have always been BPA-free. Polycarbonate bottles generally are clear, not opaque. If your clear plastic water bottle has a 7 inside a triangle on the bottom, it might be polycarbonate, although it could still be BPA-free. Manufacturers of polycarbonate bottles swiftly responded by spring of 2008, producing BPA-free versions. If it's time for a new water bottle, you might want to consider these choices or others labeled BPA-free.

1. Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle

Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Camelbak has a lightweight insulated bike bottle that keeps things cool four times longer.  The outer surface is lined with aerogel, and the bottle itself is BPA-free plastic.   I like just about everything about the Camelbak Podium Chill bottle.  First, it doesn't weigh any more than a non-insulated bottle and it is the same size as most, with a 21-ounce capacity.  It fits into bottle holder on a bike, in a waistpack, or your car cup holder.

2. Ultimate Direction

Ultimate Direction Access 640
Courtesy of Pricegrabber
This is my favorite water bottle in my favorite angled water bottle holster. The Ultimate Direction water bottle is made of polyethylene plastic. The Kicker Valve allows easy access to your water without leakage. The mouth of the water bottle is big enough to add ice cubes. Ultimate Direction sells a variety of holsters. The Access Plus has a small zippered compartment for essentials and a mesh pocket to hold a gel flask or other items like your cell phone. The Groove variation is designed for MP3 players, and the 2X has two angled water bottles.

3. Camelbak Performance Bottle

Camelbak Performance Bottle
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

My walking buddies discoveryed this bottle and soon I saw them everywhere. You just sip the water through the straw, eliminating the need to tilt the bottle up to take a drink. That means you don't block your own view, which is a good thing to avoid when walking. If you are aiming to drink a specific amount of water, you'll appreciate the marking on the side which tell you how much water is left. Original Camelbak Better Bottles were made of polycarbonate, but now they are made of BPA-free materials.

4. Nalgene OTG Tritan Bottle

Nalgene OTG Tritan Bottle
Photo © Wendy Bumgardner
Nalgene was one of the companies hardest hit by fears about polycarbonate bottles, as they have long built their excellent line of outdoor bottles and containers on the clear plastic polycarbonate Lexan polymer. They swung into action to replace Lexan with Eastman Tritan copolyester, which is BPA-free. The OTG Tritan Bottle has a flip cap to close off the drinking lip that I find easy to drink from. The side has graduations in ounces and milliliters to help you keep track of your intake. It still is clear, hard and impact-resistant plastic, and it's dishwasher safe. Don't fear your Nalgene. It has a 7 in the triangle on the bottom as that denotes its recycling stream, but you can look for the BPA-free or Tritan designation.

5. Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen
Wendy Bumgardner ©

Stainless steel is BPA-free and doesn't need to be lined with polymers that might contain BPA or other substances of concern. Klean Kanteen promises that the highly polished interior surface is non-leaching and toxin-free. But I can still detect a metallic taste in the water when it sits for any amount of time. Stainless steel bottles transfer heat and cold faster than plastic, so your drinks will reach room temperature faster.

6. SIGG Sport Water Bottle

Sigg Aluminum Wide-Mouth Sport Bottle
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

SIGG specializes in aluminum bottles lined with a resin to protect you from off-tastes in the water and any stray aluminum molecules. Before the plastic fears, there were fears about aluminum. SIGG bottles were rated as the toughest water bottle in a 2006 Backpacker magazine test. The mouthpiece has a "mud-cap" and you depress it to drink or twist it to seal it off. One drawback of metal bottles is that you can't squeeze them to improve the water flow, which some users find to be a flaw. Aluminum is very lightweight. But it is also prone to quickly heating up or cooling down and sweating in humid climates.  SIGG now has wide-mouth models, which I prefer as I can add ice cubes to the water.

7. Amphipod

Amphipod Full Tilt Waist Pack
Wendy Bumgardner ©
Amphipod water bottles all have the recycling symbol #4 and are BPA-free and phthalate-free. They are cleverly shaped to be low profile, so they don't project out as far out as cylindrical bottles. The Amphipod Full Tilt system is contoured to fit snugly into your lumbar area with no bouncing and is easy to wear under a jacket. The 20-ounce water bottle is contoured and fits securely in its sleeve. In other versions, the bottles hook onto a belt for quick access.

8. ALEX Bottle

ALEX Bottle
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

The ALEX bottle is a modular stainless steel bottle that comes apart for easy cleaning by hand or in the dishwasher. This kills two concerns -- icky bacterial/fungal growth and concerns over plastics. I didn't find any off-tastes in water left in it overnight. The ALEX bottle is wider than most due to the central flange, and may not fit into your existing bottle carrier. You must remove the top cap to drink from it.

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