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Hydrapak Stow Review

Overall, we like this bottle's low weight, flexible body, and easy to use spout
Hydrapak Stow
Photo: Hydrapak
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Price:  $18 List | $17.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, lightweight, leak-proof cap, nice feel
Cons:  Expensive, lacks versatility, tips over very easily
Manufacturer:   Hydrapak
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 26, 2021
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#17 of 20
  • Ease of Use - 40% 5
  • Durability - 25% 4
  • Weight - 20% 10
  • Taste - 15% 3

Our Verdict

The Hydrapak Stow wowed us with its durable, soft material, easy-to-use lid design, and overall innovative design that felt like a step in the right direction for collapsible bottle technology. Though its material is soft, the one-liter Stow we tested seems built to last, and its lid seemed to outsmart us with its leak-proof design. We most recommend this bottle for hiking, backpacking, and traveling due to its weight and portability, but also recognize that you can get very similar functionality out of other options that cost a little less.

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Hydrapak Stow
This Product
Hydrapak Stow
Awards  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $17.95 at Backcountry
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$8.73 at REI
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$18.97 at Amazon
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$18.99 at Amazon$10 List
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Pros Durable, lightweight, leak-proof cap, nice feelLight, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy fillingLightweight, easy for one-handed drinking, re-designed sport cap is effective, durable, good color optionsAffordable, insulates well, has interchangeable lids, portableInexpensive, passed our drop tests, easy to carry, easy to drink from, ergonomic design
Cons Expensive, lacks versatility, tips over very easilyDiameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or drivingSport cap not as secure as a screw cap, carrying handle is smallPaint chipping after a few months of use, flip cap seemed to lack securityNarrow mouth makes it hard to clean by hand, heavy, inherently less durable than steel competition
Bottom Line Overall, we like this bottle's low weight, flexible body, and easy to use spoutA tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably pricedIt is hard for us to find anything bad to say about this bottle, as it's simple, easy to use, and reasonably pricedThis is one of our top ranking bottles because it's easy to use, just the right size, lightweight and inexpensiveThis affordable bottle's no-nonsense, ergonomic design wins us over for the top glass option of all we tested
Rating Categories Hydrapak Stow Nalgene Wide-Mouth Klean Kanteen Classic Simple Modern Summit Ello Pure 20
Ease Of Use (40%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Durability (25%)
4.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
10.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
2.0
Taste (15%)
3.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Specs Hydrapak Stow Nalgene Wide-Mouth Klean Kanteen Classic Simple Modern Summit Ello Pure 20
Body Material Thermoplastic Polyurethane Eastman Tritan co-polyester 18/8 stainless steel 18/8 stainless steel Glass/ BPA-free silicone
Empty weight (oz) 1.8 oz 6.4 oz 7.4 oz 12.4 oz 18.5 oz
Volume (oz) 32 oz 34 oz 27 oz 22 oz 20 oz
Bottle weight (oz) per fluid oz capacity 0.06 oz 0.19 oz 0.27 oz 0.56 oz 0.93 oz
Mouth diameter 1 in 2.5 in 1.75 in 2.25 in 1.75 in
Base diameter 2.25 in 3.25 in 2.75 in 3 in 3 in
Height 9 in 8.25 in 11 in 9.5 in 10.75 in
Body Type Collapsible Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional
Free of Materials BPA, PVC-free BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free BPA-free BPA-free BPA-free
Cap/Lid Type Screw-cap with spill-proof nozzle Loop-top screw cap Sport cap wih spout Screw Cap Screwtop
Volume Options 500 mL 16 oz, 48 oz 18 oz, 40 oz, 64 oz, loop cap/sports cap, wide mouth 14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz 20 oz
Warranty Beyond Lifetime Guarantee Lifetime Guarantee for normal use Lifetime Warranty Limited Warranty Lifetime warranty

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.

Performance Comparison


The updated flip cap on the Hydrapak improves its overall ease of...
The updated flip cap on the Hydrapak improves its overall ease of use and functionality.
Photo: Jane Jackson

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 both when full and when collapsed, than the Platypus.

A flip cap replaced the twist-lock cap of previous models, adding...
A flip cap replaced the twist-lock cap of previous models, adding security and peace of mind when throwing the Hyrdapak into a climbing bag.
Photo: Jane Jackson

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 carry loop is handy, but we wouldn't recommend actually clipping...
The carry loop is handy, but we wouldn't recommend actually clipping into this plastic loop with a carabiner.
Photo: Jane Jackson

In terms of cleaning, 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.

Durability


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 — like those of the Platypus. 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 specific area.

In the backcountry, we found it nice to have a rigid bottle as well...
In the backcountry, we found it nice to have a rigid bottle as well as a soft bladder. A hard-sided bottle is easier to fill and filter, while the Hyrdapak offers another liter of storage without the extra bulk.
Photo: Jane Jackson

As mentioned above, 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.

We had no problem with the Hyrdapak tagging along on rugged outings.
We had no problem with the Hyrdapak tagging along on rugged outings.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Taste


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.

Weight


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 we got with the Stow's soft, silicone body and didn't mind the unnoticeable extra weight when using this bottle as our go-to on hikes and airplane travel.

It's so light, we sometimes forgot it was in our backpack.
It's so light, we sometimes forgot it was in our backpack.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Value


With a slightly higher price tag than any of the Platypus bottles in this review, the Stow is a bit more of an investment for a collapsible bottle. It could be a bit of a trend at the moment, but this bottle seems like it's well-made and thoughtfully designed.

Though it totes a stylish design, the Hyrdapak is more expensive...
Though it totes a stylish design, the Hyrdapak is more expensive than its Platypus competitors.
Photo: Jane Jackson

Conclusion


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. Though we have been fans of the Platypus collapsible bladders for a long time, the overall feel and durable nature of the Stow is a nice change. We were also impressed with the small touches, like the clip loop that then secures the bottle when rolled. Though the Stow is a bit pricey for a collapsible bottle, we approve of the overall design and performance of this bottle. 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.

Jane Jackson