The Best Collapsible Water Bottles
Trying to stay hydrated when you're on the go but don't want to keep your bag (or arms) weighed down? You can lighten your load with a container that rolls up or expands down when empty so you can easily tuck it away. The best collapsible water bottles are made of durable and leakproof silicone, but if you're looking for the lightest and most budget-friendly option, a plastic version will serve you well.
For the most convenience, the first thing you'll want to do when you start shopping around is to consider the material. While the two softshell materials below are all BPA-free, there are a few notable differences in their designs, each with their own pros and cons.
- Silicone: The squeezable material has thicker walls, which means it has a more substantial weight, but it's the most likely to be able to stand upright on its own when empty or full. It's also the most temperature-resistant so it's a great option if you also want to carry a hot beverage as well. Plus, it's tough and flexible enough to withstand drops and regular wear and tear without the worry of punctures.
- Plastic: These pouch-style bottles are affordable and can often provide a higher capacity while still being very lightweight. However, given the thin, plastic membrane they are the least durable and sturdy of the two.
A majority of these bottles are freezer-friendly, but a model with a wide mouth will make it easiest to drop ice cubes in, however, those kinds may not fold up as compactly. And considering the squeezable nature of collapsible bottles, a flip-top spout (versus a screw-on one) may make one-handed drinking easier and less messy.
Finally, one other handy feature to look for is a carabiner or strap. This will let you carry your water comfortably or attach it to a bag or bike (even better if that strap serves double duty and functions as a tie to keep the bottle rolled up when it's empty).
4. The Largest Capacity
Platypus Platy Ultralight Collapsible Water Bottle
For a large capacity option that's still ultra-lightweight, look no further than this Platypus Platy water bottle. The softshell pouch rolls up to collapse, is free of chemicals like BPA, BPS, and phthalates, and contains a food-grade polyethylene lining. Plus, it's also freezable and dishwasher-safe. Several Amazon users reported how impressed they were that it could stand upright when full, however, a few pointed out that the one downside to the design was the skinnier screw-top mouth, which makes it harder to squeeze regular-sized ice cubes into the bottle. Also note, this pick is not compatible with warm liquids.
Helpful review: “These bottles are practically indestructible...I use them often when caving in addition to a hard water bottle (just in case) and love that you can fold them down as they are used to make more room in your pack. These bottles also fit easily onto the Sawyer water filter and are great on a backpacking trip. After nearly a year of using this product very roughly, I've yet to pop one.”
May 5, 2022
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!
Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.
The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).