The Summit is easy to use, fairly easy to clean, and keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. It fell a bit short in the durability metric as well as in our leak tests with its flip lid, but not with its screw cap. These issues are balanced out by the bottle's overall performance and reasonable price tag.
The Summit is the perfect shape and size to bring pretty much anywhere - it is small enough to fit in cup holders and packs, but still has enough volume to be useful on longer outings.
Ease of Use
The 22-ounce Summit is well proportioned and sleek. These features set it apart from the narrower Mira and Hydro Flask Standard Mouth because the Summit is much easier to fit securely into backpack pockets, cup holders, and messenger bags. These features made it our go-to for use around town since we could put water or hot beverages in it interchangeably. The size and shape of the Summit are very similar to the Yeti Rambler, which is also a perfect bottle for switching between hot and cold beverages.
The other defining feature of the Summit is its interchangeable lid options. The first option is a basic screw cap — much like the lid of the Nalgene Wide Mouth. This lid is stainless steel on the exterior, plastic on the interior, and can be easily removed. The other lid option is a flip cap, designed for hot beverages. Caveat — there is no way to secure the flip cap. Though we never had any major leakage, we were nervous about putting the Summit in a backpack with this lid, as the flip cap can easily be opened accidentally. If transporting this model in your pack, we highly recommend using the screw cap until you get to your destination.
The Simple Modern Summit receives a slightly lower score in this metric than some of the other vacuum insulated bottles we tested. Right off the bat, we took this bottle out climbing and promptly dropped it in the boulders. We were bummed to see that the paint chipped immediately and the bottle dented. Now, this bottle costs half the price of the Hydro Flask, so perhaps this difference in price is reflected in the overall durability of the bottles. The Yeti Rambler is by far the most durable vacuum insulated bottle we tested — it just feels burly. The bottom of the Yeti is thick, and the lid seems way more durable than that of the Mira, Hydro Flask, or Summit.
As we mentioned above, the Summit has interchangeable lids, each one scoring differently in terms of durability. The lid for hot beverages is a bit less durable than the traditional lid, as it has a flip cap and a carrying handle that are made of relatively thin plastic. Compared to the burly lid of the Yeti bottle, this harrying handle did not seem to be as durable.
The flip cap lid, shown above, seemed less durable than the lower, metal lid shown in the bottom of the photo. The metal screw cap is simple in design, whereas the flip cap relies on a small plastic notch to keep it secure and closed.
Ease of Cleaning
Like most wide-mouth bottles in this review, the Summit received relatively high scores in this metric. The bottle is short and squat compared to the Mira, and even the Hydro Flask Standard Mouth, making it easier to get to the bottom of the bottle for cleaning.
The trouble we had with the Summit was switching between using it for a water bottle and using it for tea, coffee, and other hot beverages. The interchangeable lids make it easy to switch back and forth, but we found it difficult to get rid of lingering flavors. In the future, we will have one bottle dedicated to hot beverages and one for water. This will reduce time spent trying to clean the bottles to get rid of tea and coffee flavors. Since the Summit is easy to clean, it didn't retain flavors very much, so we were able to switch up beverages frequently.
Above, you can see the remnants of coffee in the bottom of the Summit. Luckily, the interchangeable lids keep flavors separate and the wide bottle is easy to rinse and wash.
For other easy to clean insulated bottle options, check out the Yeti Rambler, which also as a wide mouth and an especially easy-to-clean lid. Bottles with exposed threads are easier to clean than those with tight crevasses protecting the threads and gaskets — like the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth. The Summit has a lid that is kind of an in-between — it is easier to clean than the Hydro Flask, but harder than the Yeti, due to the lid design.
Here, the inset where the threads lie is shown. This crack can be hard to clean; we found that gunk accumulated in this area over time.
With a total weight of 12.4 ounces, the Summit is a relatively lightweight option for a vacuum insulated, stainless-steel bottle. It is comparable in weight to the Hydro Flask Standard, which weighs in at 12.9 ounces. Both of these bottles felt like they could be carried on day hikes or on climbing days without too much stress about extra weight. We especially liked bringing the Summit out on winter hikes, ski tours, and climbing days in winter with tea or other hot beverages. Its wide mouth and secure lid made it a great option for an added treat in the woods, without too much added weight.
In terms of taste, the Summit was comparable to the Hydro Flask Standard Mouth. Stainless steel bottles, in general, are better at getting rid of flavors than plastic ones, and these two were the top scoring in this metric. As we discussed above, the Summit is easy to clean, and the bottom of the bottle is relatively easy to access, which helped it succeed in this metric.
Having two lids also helped the Summit, since it was easy to remove the hot beverage lid when using the bottle for water (and vice versa with the standard lid). This was a nice feature since flavors tend to linger in the nooks and crannies of the lid.
Here, we prepare the Summit for some coffee with its flip cap lid.
Maybe because it was winter when we tested this bottle, or perhaps because of its easy-to-use flip cap lid, we found the Summit to be best used as a hot beverage container. It is the right size to fit in a car cup holder and its wide mouth and lid make it more suitable for drinking hot drinks than its narrow-mouthed competitors, like the Hydro Flask Standard Mouth or the Mira Cascade. We also like the simplicity of the lid compared to other bottles with push button lids that add complexity and can feel cluttered. The interchangeable lid is also a nice feature if you do decide to switch between hot and cold drinks, as it can help keep flavors separate.
The Summit is portable, durable - its relatively low price tag is just an added bonus!
Sold for $18, the Summit is one of the most inexpensive options for a stainless steel, vacuum insulated bottle. The Summit performed as well as its better-known competitor, the Hydro Flask, in terms of insulation, and costs half the price. We did find the Summit to chip and dent easily — making cosmetic durability a concern. But, with such a great price, who can resist? Plus, the bottle comes with interchangeable lids and is available in a huge variety of color choices — we are in! With high scores in insulation, ease of cleaning, and overall ease of use, plus the Summit's many color options and overall sleek design, this bottle earns our Best Buy Award in the stainless steel, insulated category.
It was hard to find much to complain about with the Simple Modern Summit. We were happy with the bottle's shape, insulating qualities, and design. We especially liked the two interchangeable lids — one for securing contents tightly during transport and the other perfect for drinking hot liquids. It's hard to beat the Summit, especially for its price, in a category of bottle that is typically overrun with $40+ bottles.