Hydrapak Stow Review
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|Pros||Durable, lightweight, leak-proof cap, nice feel||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||Expensive, lacks versatility, tips over very easily||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||Overall, we like this bottle's low weight, flexible body, and easy to use spout||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||Hydrapak Stow||CamelBak Eddy+ Trit...||Nalgene Wide-Mouth||Iron Flask Insulated||Simple Modern Summit|
|Ease of Use (40%)|
|Specs||Hydrapak Stow||CamelBak Eddy+ Trit...||Nalgene Wide-Mouth||Iron Flask Insulated||Simple Modern Summit|
|Body Material||Thermoplastic polyurethane||BPA-free plastic||Eastman Tritan co-polyester||18/8 stainless steel||18/8 stainless steel|
|Empty Weight||1.8 oz||7.1 oz||6.4 oz||14.9 oz||15.7 oz|
|Volume||32 oz||32 oz||34 oz||32 oz||32 oz|
|Bottle Weight per Fluid oz Capacity||0.06 oz||0.22 oz||0.19 oz||0.47 oz||0.5 oz|
|Mouth Diameter||1 in||2.3 in||2.5 in||2 in||2.25 in|
|Base Diameter||2.25 in||3.8 in||3.25 in||3.5 in||3.5 in|
|Height||9 in||9.25 in||8.25 in||9 in||9 in|
|Free of Materials||BPA, PVC-free||BPA, BPS, BPF free||BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free||BPA-free||BPA-free|
|Cap/Lid Type||Screw-cap with spill-proof nozzle||Screw cap, flip top||Loop-top screw cap||Screw cap, flip top||Screw Cap, flip top|
|Volume Options||500 mL||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
The Hydrapak Stow is a smart, sleek, and well-designed bottle that ups the ante in the realm of collapsible bottles. We were most excited about the feel of the container and its overall aesthetic. This bottle is made of thermoplastic polyurethane, which gives it a rubbery texture and is unique among collapsible bottles in our current line-up.
Ease of Use
Our past grievances with collapsible bottles make up a long list; they are notoriously hard to fill, they lack durability and structure, are tough to clean — we could go on, but we will spare you. These issues we have encountered in the past have made us approach new collapsible bottles with weariness and a particularly critical eye. The Hydrapak Stow impresses us with its smart, simple design that focuses on durability and ease of use. The bottle is a small, square shape — slightly wider, but shorter than the Platypus DuoLock, which has the same capacity. Both bottles are unstable when standing on their own, but the DuoLock does a better job than the Stow. The Stow, however, is more compact than the Platypus, both when full and when collapsed.
We were also pleasantly surprised by the lid on the Stow. Though the cap has a small opening for filling, which is common among collapsible bottles, the updated flip cap is very functional. It clicks into place and pops open with a little force, but there's yet another opening mechanism beneath that limits leakage. Like the previous sport cap, the spout on the updated version doesn't leak, even when open. That said, we found the Stow's lid to narrowly fall behind the clever DuoLock technology on the Platypus DuoLock. It should also be noted that the Stow requires sucking to get water out of the sport cap. A simple squeeze does not suffice. If you want to pour water out of the bottle, the sport cap must be removed.
The Stow is a bit challenging to clean. Its narrow mouth makes it nearly impossible to get a bottle brush in there. On the plus side, the mouth and lid are easy to clean. We found it best to use the Stow for only water to avoid lingering tastes and to increase the longevity of the bottle.
The lightweight nature of collapsible bottles makes them prone to failures in this metric. Overall, we found the Stow to do well overall in comparison to other collapsible bottles in durability. The bottle is made of BPA-free Thermoplastic Polyurethane, which creates a soft, malleable bladder that lacks the hard edges that are prone to cracking the way plastic soft bottles do. The Stow seems to be set up for relative longevity with its soft-sided construction. The Stow rolls up when empty, eliminating creases that can also be prone to wear and tear. The area where the Stow seemed most prone to failure was around the cap. Since there isn't anything to twist against, we found that we twisted the soft bottle itself to ensure the cap tightened down. This is a minor grievance, and it didn't fail us during the test period, but we do see the potential for future wear in this area.
This bottle soared through our leak test with flying colors. No water leaked when shaken vigorously, and nothing leaked out when the bottle was left on its side.
It comes as no surprise that this malleable, soft-bodied bottle retains a bit of flavor. Plastic bottles tend to retain tastes of electrolyte drinks and other drink mixes for most of their lifespan, and the Hydrapak Stow is no different. As we mentioned above, we found it best to use the Stow as a bottle dedicated only to water if flavor retention is a concern. The spout has many places where flavors can linger, and the material seems to trap flavor as well.
Though not as light as the Platypus DuoLock or the SoftBottle, the Hydrapak Stow is still in the front of the pack in terms of weight. The Stow weighs in at just under 2 ounces — making it a hair heavier than the Platypus models. We liked the added bit of durability from the Stow's soft, silicone body and didn't notice the extra weight when using this bottle as our go-to on hikes and airplane travel.
Should You Buy the Hydrapak Stow?
Overall, we were impressed by the Hydrapak Stow 1L. The soft bladder, leak-proof flip cap, and the bottle's ability to store compactly were the main selling points for us. We were also impressed with the small touches, like the clip loop that secures the bottle when rolled. In general, we still recommend the Platypus DuoLock to our friends looking for a collapsible bottle. But if you've tried and didn't like the more rigid Platypus models, the Stow might be right up your alley.
What Other Water Bottles Should You Consider?
The Platupus DuoLock is our top recommendation for a soft-bodied water bottle. If you're looking for an all-purpose backcountry or outdoors bottle, we recommend the classic Nalgene Wide-Mouth.
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