As yet another addition to the numerous stainless steel, vacuum-insulated models out there, the GSI Outdoors Microlite 720 Twist is a familiar-looking bottle these days. The Microlite has a plastic cap and vacuum-insulated body on par with many of the other vacuum-insulated models we've tested in past years. The bottle proves to be several ounces lighter than some of the other stainless options out there, and the lid is unique. Besides these small features, the Microlite did not have much in terms of features or unique attributes that made it stand out from the rest. That said, it is mid-range in terms of price with no frills and a durable design, making it a sturdy workhorse option for an insulated bottle. For folks who want hot tea on the skin track or afternoon coffee at the crag, the Microlite is the ticket. This bottle is functional, simple, and insulates well.Editor's Note: This product review was updated on March 25, 2022, with advice on what we would purchase and why.
GSI Outdoors Microlite 720 Twist Review
Cons: Carrying handle is an odd size, rim of bottle is a bit sharp
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
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|Pros||Lightweight, well-insulated, simple design, reasonable price tag||Simple design, inexpensive, lightweight||Light, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy filling||Durable, simple, wide mouth makes it easy to clean||Affordable, insulates well, has interchangeable lids, easily portable|
|Cons||Carrying handle is an odd size, rim of bottle is a bit sharp||Made of plastic, doesn't fit in all cupholders||Diameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or driving||A bit heavy||Paint chipping after a few months of use, flip cap seemed to lack security|
|Bottom Line||This bottle offers the lowest weight among insulated stainless steel bottles that we have tested||This bottle is recommended because it is simple, lightweight, durable and has a solid feature set||A tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably priced||A straightforward and simple stainless steel bottle with a reasonable price tag||This is one of our favorite bottles because it's easy to use, just the right size, lightweight and inexpensive|
|Rating Categories||GSI Outdoors Microl...||CamelBak Eddy+ Trit...||Nalgene Wide-Mouth||Iron Flask Insulated||Simple Modern Summit|
|Ease of Use (40%)|
|Specs||GSI Outdoors Microl...||CamelBak Eddy+ Trit...||Nalgene Wide-Mouth||Iron Flask Insulated||Simple Modern Summit|
|Body Material||Stainless steel, polypropylene, silicone||BPA-free plastic||Eastman Tritan co-polyester||18/8 stainless steel||18/8 stainless steel|
|Empty Weight||10.5 oz||7.1 oz||6.4 oz||14.9 oz||15.7 oz|
|Volume||24 oz||32 oz||34 oz||32 oz||32 oz|
|Bottle Weight per Fluid oz Capacity||0.43 oz||0.22 oz||0.19 oz||0.47 oz||0.5 oz|
|Mouth Diameter||2.25 in||2.3 in||2.5 in||2 in||2.25 in|
|Base Diameter||3 in||3.8 in||3.25 in||3.5 in||3.5 in|
|Height||9.3 in||9.25 in||8.25 in||9 in||9 in|
|Free of Materials||BPA-free||BPA, BPS, BPF free||BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free||BPA-free||BPA-free|
|Cap/Lid Type||Screwtop||Screw cap, flip top||Loop-top screw cap||Screw cap, flip top||Screw Cap, flip top|
|Volume Options||17 oz, 24 oz, 34 oz||14 oz, 25 oz, 32 oz||16 oz, 48 oz||14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz, 64 oz||14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz, 64 oz, 84 oz|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Ease of Use
At first glance, the GSI Outdoors Microlite looks just like the many other vacuum-insulated bottles we've tested over the past few years. But, a few specific features set this bottle apart from the rest. To start, the Microlite has a silicone pad on its base, which protects it from denting and gives it a bit of friction on surfaces, reducing its chances of spilling when lightly knocked. The bottle's plastic lid has a hinged handle that can be stowed along the bottle's side when it's not in use. We liked this aspect of the carrying handle, but we found that when it was deployed, it was too small to carry comfortably unless you want to hang the bottle from a single finger. Alternatively, this handle could be used as a clip-in point for a carabiner, but we don't often find ourselves clipping our stainless steel bottles to anything.
Cleaning the Microlite is a fairly easy and straightforward task. The wide mouth makes it easy enough to get a bottle brush down into its depths, but the lid proves to be a bit more difficult to clean thoroughly.
In our drop tests, the GSI Microlite showed no signs of damage after being dropped from a height of 3.5 feet. The silicone padding on the bottom of the bottle seemed to absorb quite a lot of impact when the bottle was dropped, protecting the stainless-steel body from damage. Other stainless water bottles we've tested have dented upon impact, but the silicone protected the GSI bottle significantly. Also, the cap design feels especially sturdy, as it is made of a softer, more malleable feeling plastic than other bottles we've tested.
Here, the GSI excels. The name Microlite is truly fitting — as this is the lightest of all the vacuum-insulated, stainless bottles we've tested. With a total weight of 10.5 ounces, the Microlight falls in between the vacuum insulated and non-insulated stainless bottles we have reviewed in the past.
Right out of the box, the Microlite had a bit of a plasticky, packaging taste to it, but this was quickly remedied with a few rinses. The simplicity of the lid and the rim of the bottle make it so that flavors do not linger in these areas. Stainless steel bottles, in general, don't hold on to flavors, so we were not surprised by the Microlite's performance in this category.
Should You Buy the GSI Outdoors Microlite 720 Twist?
The most notable aspect of the GSI Microlite is its weight. Hence the name. We were definitely impressed that GSI was able to make a vacuum-insulated bottle that functions well and is significantly lighter than most other options out there. Beyond that, the Microlite performed much like any other insulated bottle we've tested in terms of ease of cleaning, durability, and features. True ounce-counting ultralighters will probably stick with a Nalgene Wide-Mouth, but if you want to have an insulated bottle while backpacking, this would be our suggestion, as it's the lightest insulated stainless bottle in the fleet.
What Other Water Bottles Should You Consider?
If you're seeking a super light backcountry bottle, our recommendation is the Nalgene Wide-Mouth, perhaps in conjunction with the Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle. Otherwise, our favorite insulated bottles for urban use are the Yeti Rambler 26 and Simple Modern Summit options.
— Jane Jackson
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