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Nalgene Wide-Mouth Review

A tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably priced
Nalgene Wide-Mouth
Nalgene Wide-Mouth Loop-Top
Credit: nalgene
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Price:  $16 List | $15.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Light, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy filling
Cons:  Diameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or driving
Manufacturer:   Nalgene
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 10, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 21
  • Ease of Use - 40% 8.0
  • Durability - 25% 7.0
  • Weight - 20% 8.0
  • Taste - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

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.

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Nalgene Wide-Mouth
This Product
Nalgene Wide-Mouth
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $15.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$16.05 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$22 List
$21.99 at Amazon
$15.00 List
$12.95 at Amazon
$10.00 List
$8.00 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Light, durable, resists flavors, simple design, wide mouth makes for easy fillingSimple design, inexpensive, lightweightAffordable, insulates well, has interchangeable lids, easily portableUseful carabiner attachment, well-designed lid, lightweight, very collapsibleLightweight, collapsible, simple design
Cons Diameter too big for cup holders, wide mouth makes it difficult to drink from when walking or drivingMade of plastic, doesn't fit in all cupholdersPaint chipping after a few months of use, flip cap seemed to lack securityTips easily, hard to cleanNot very durable, difficult to clean, retains flavors
Bottom Line A tried and tested classic, this model is versatile and reasonably pricedThis bottle is recommended because it is simple, lightweight, durable and has a solid feature setThis is one of our favorite bottles because it's easy to use, just the right size, lightweight and inexpensiveThis bottle combines a collapsible design with a spout for convenient, easy drinkingWith its lightweight design and packability, this is one of the best collapsible bottles out there
Rating Categories Nalgene Wide-Mouth CamelBak Eddy+ Trit... Simple Modern Summit Platypus DuoLock So... Platypus SoftBottle
Ease of Use (40%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
3.0
Durability (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
3.0
3.0
Weight (20%)
8.0
8.0
4.0
10.0
10.0
Taste (15%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
4.0
Specs Nalgene Wide-Mouth CamelBak Eddy+ Trit... Simple Modern Summit Platypus DuoLock So... Platypus SoftBottle
Body Material Eastman Tritan co-polyester BPA-free plastic 18/8 stainless steel Nylon / polyetholyene Polyethylene
Empty Weight 6.4 oz 7.1 oz 15.7 oz 1.6 oz 1.2 oz
Volume 34 oz 32 oz 32 oz 34 oz 34 oz
Bottle Weight per Fluid oz Capacity 0.19 oz 0.22 oz 0.5 oz 0.05 oz 0.04 oz
Mouth Diameter 2.5 in 2.3 in 2.25 in .75 in 1 in
Base Diameter 3.25 in 3.8 in 3.5 in 6 in 6 in
Height 8.25 in 9.25 in 9 in 11 in 13 in
Body Type Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Hard-sided/traditional Collapsible Collapsible
Free of Materials BPA, BPS and Phthalate Free BPA, BPS, BPF free BPA-free BPA-free BPA-free
Cap/Lid Type Loop-top screw cap Screw cap, flip top Screw Cap, flip top Duo-Lock flip cap Closure cap
Volume Options 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 0.5 Ltr, Push-Pull cap

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Nalgene Wide-Mouth water bottle - the ubiquitous nalgene is at home in any outdoor scenario.
The ubiquitous Nalgene is at home in any outdoor scenario.
Credit: Jane E Jackson

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 pack, but this isn't necessarily recommended.

The Nalgene boasts one of the widest mouths of all the bottles tested in our review, 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.

Nalgene Wide-Mouth water bottle - the wide mouth is great for easy filling and filtering but sometimes...
The wide mouth is great for easy filling and filtering but sometimes causes spillage when trying to drink on the go.
Credit: Jane Jackson

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.

Durability


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.

Nalgene Wide-Mouth water bottle - the nalgene is super leak-proof and withstood our drop test with...
The Nalgene is super leak-proof and withstood our drop test with little to no damage.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Weight


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 water filters.

Nalgene Wide-Mouth water bottle - the nalgene, though not nearly as light as a collapsible bottle, is...
The Nalgene, though not nearly as light as a collapsible bottle, is one of the lighter hard-sided options out there.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Taste


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.

Nalgene Wide-Mouth water bottle - our human and canine testers confirm that the nalgene doesn't hold...
Our human and canine testers confirm that the Nalgene doesn't hold onto flavors as much as other bottles we've tested.
Credit: Jane Jackson

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.

What Other Water Bottles Should You Consider?


The Nalgene is great for outdoor activities. If this is what you're looking for, you may also be interested in a soft collapsible bottle, like the Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle. Our favorite everyday bottle for more urban life is the Yeti Rambler 26. For a great filter bottle that fits in a car's cup holders, check out the Brita Stainless Steel Filter Bottle.

Nalgene Wide-Mouth water bottle - the nalgene is a staple in most outdoor enthusiasts' hydration...
The Nalgene is a staple in most outdoor enthusiasts' hydration quiver for good reason.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Jane Jackson
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