The terms "Nalgene" and "water bottle" are often used as synonyms, reflecting on this bottle's continuing popularity over the last decade and more. A time-tested classic, the Nalgene Wide-Mouth is as good as plastic gets for most folks hydrating in the outdoors. It's simple, durable, inexpensive, and versatile. Given its high performance and affordable price tag, it earns its place as a high-value bottle. It's easy to clean and doesn't impart any funky plastic taste on its contents. It is so light and easy to use, we found ourselves carrying it around town, though it really shines as an outdoor adventure bottle.
REASONS TO BUY
Wide mouth makes for easy filling
REASONS TO AVOID
Diameter too big for cup holders
Wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or driving
Need more volume?
If 32 oz isn't enough for you, the Nalgene 48 oz costs only a dollar more while providing 16 more ounces of volume to keep you hydrated all day.
Editor's Note: This product review was updated on March 25, 2022, to include additional product recommendations for specific uses.
Light, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy filling
Simple design, inexpensive, lightweight
Affordable, insulates well, has interchangeable lids, easily portable
Useful carabiner attachment, well-designed lid, lightweight, very collapsible
Durable, lightweight, leak-proof cap, nice feel
Diameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or driving
Made of plastic, doesn't fit in all cupholders
Paint chipping after a few months of use, flip cap seemed to lack security
Tips easily, hard to clean
Expensive, lacks versatility, tips over very easily
A tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably priced
This bottle is recommended because it is simple, lightweight, durable and has a solid feature set
This is one of our favorite bottles because it's easy to use, just the right size, lightweight and inexpensive
This bottle combines a collapsible design with a spout for convenient, easy drinking
Overall, we like this bottle's low weight, flexible body, and easy to use spout
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Ease of Use(40%)
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Platypus DuoLock So...
Eastman Tritan co-polyester
18/8 stainless steel
Nylon / polyetholyene
Bottle Weight per Fluid oz Capacity
Free of Materials
BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free
BPA, BPS, BPF free
Loop-top screw cap
Screw cap, flip top
Screw Cap, flip top
Duo-Lock flip cap
Screw-cap with spill-proof nozzle
16 oz, 48 oz
14 oz, 25 oz, 32 oz
14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz, 64 oz, 84 oz
.75 L, 1L
Show full specification detailsHide full specification details
Our Analysis and Test Results
Ease of Use
This bottle's simple design is a big advantage. It consists of a cylindrical body and a screw cap, with a retaining strap that attaches the two main components. This allows you to take a gulp while hanging off a cliff without having to worry about losing your cap. We used the retaining strap for clipping onto our favorite backpacking backpack, but this isn't necessarily recommended.
The Nalgene boasts one of the widest mouths of all the best water bottles we tested, which has its pros and cons. The wide mouth makes filling the bottle a breeze, virtually regardless of the water source. If you were desperate, it would, by definition be able to catch the most rainwater over a set amount of time. However, we found that the wide mouth also made it harder to drink from without splashing water down our chin, chest, and elsewhere. If you are moving at all, including sitting in a moving vehicle, you can expect to get a mini shower down your chin and shirt. On the plus side, though, the wide mouth makes it a breeze to clean.
Pro tip — Get a bottle insert like this one to drastically improve the drinking experience from your Nalgene. It greatly reduces the chance of spilling on yourself while moving and drinking. Some of our testers have been using these in their Nalgenes for years.
Although its large volume reduces the number of times we had to fill it, the bottle feels substantial in hand. For folks with small hands, it can feel a little cumbersome to drink from one-handed. Furthermore, there isn't a cup holder we came across that could accommodate this bottle's wide girth. Since it's more awkward to drink from in day-to-day use, the Wide Mouth fell back from the top of the pack in this metric.
Leakage is not a problem whatsoever with this bottle. It passed our leak test with a score of 100 percent. We gave this bottle our complete confidence, and it did not fail us when being jumbled around inside backpacks while cycling and hiking. It is also reasonably quick to open and close, requiring only one cap revolution to screw/unscrew the cap.
This is a strong bottle. The plastic body and cap can endure many drops and tumbles and still maintain their integrity. In our drop tests, the Nalgene only suffered minor scrapes and bounced around like a football before coming to a rest on the ground. Even when dropped on its cap, it showed only small scuff marks. There's a possibility that the cap and (less likely) the bottle may shatter when dropped more than 10 feet. However, in our experience, we expect this bottle to survive much more often than fail.
Throughout our testing, we did not experience any problems in the durability of the retaining strap. Nonetheless, this is the weakest point of the bottle. During any activity where you depend on this bottle as your sole water source, we don't recommend hanging it by its strap.
Taking OutdoorGearLab measurements, this one came in as our lightest bottle with a rigid body. After testing, the Wide-Mouth was the lightest and easiest to use, even beating out some of the collapsible competition. The Wide-Mouth also weighs only 0.20 ounces per fluid ounce. Its low overall weight and large capacity make it a common favorite for multi-day trips in the backcountry. It also pairs with several top-rated backpacking water filters.
This product scored as well as most other plastic bottles we reviewed in the taste metric. Although we did prefer the taste of drinking out of glass to any other material, the Wide Mouth performed admirably. It does not impart any plastic flavoring into its contents. Even after leaving the water to sit in the bottle for 24 hours, we couldn't distinguish any plastic-like flavor in our water from the Nalgene's body. It was no fresh spring water, but it also lacked any flavors imparted from the body. If you plan on using your bottle for liquids other than water, you need not fear the Nalgene. Each bottle was filled with a sports drink mix and left for 24 hours. Next, we hand-washed each bottle with warm water and dish soap before filling them with water and performing our taste tests.
Our taste testers noted that the Nalgene retained a faint smell of the sports drink mix used in the test. However, they could not detect any effect on the taste of the water. After cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, the smell disappeared completely.
The folks at Nalgene proudly say that their bottles resist flavor retention, and our tests verified this claim.
Should You Buy the Nalgene Wide-Mouth?
There is a clear reason that the Nalgene Wide-Mouth has been so ubiquitous in the world of outdoor recreation for the past few decades. It's a durable bottle that is also lightweight and easy to clean. It has a few tricks up its sleeve that can make campsite cooking and cold winter nights a little easier. You can mix sports drinks in the bottle without forever ruining the taste of future water refills. We feel confident using this bottle in just about any backcountry activity. It isn't our first choice for an everyday bottle, but for the price, we feel that there's still money in the bank for a bottle more suited for that. If you enjoy the outdoors, you're going to find lots of uses for this bottle.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.