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Backpacking with Ultralite Nalgene Bottles

Ultralite Nalgene Bottles are 40% lighter weight than Transparent Nalgene Bottles which makes them a lot more attractive to use for backpacking. In the one-liter size, a wide-mouth Ultralite Nalgene, such as the one above, weighs 3.75 oz, while a transparent wide-mouth bottle weighs 6.25 oz. That 2.5 oz difference adds up if you carry two or three bottles at a time. The Ultralite Nalgene bottles are made with high-density polyethylene, while the transparent ones are made with much heavier polycarbonate plastic, which explains the weight difference.

While many backpackers and hikers carry 1L Smartwater bottles (1.4 oz) or other PET bottles instead of Nalgenes because they’re lighter weight and compatible with popular water filters, there’s still an argument to be made for carrying these white Ultralite Nalgene Bottles instead. While they do weigh more, they are far superior in terms of functional capabilities, including:

  • Much better durability over the long term (they last for years)
  • You can put boiling hot water in them for drinks
  • You can put boiling hot water in them to warm a sleeping bag/quilt
  • The caps are attached to the bottles and can’t be lost
  • The volume measurements printed on the sides are helpful when rehydrating dinners
  • The wide mouth is better to scoop water out of ponds and lakes than a narrow-necked bottle
  • Wide mouth bottles don’t freeze as quickly as narrow-necked ones in freezing weather
  • Wide-mouth bottles are easy to carry upside down in winter to prevent freezing around the cap
  • 1L Nalgene bottles are much harder to tip over in camp
  • 1L Nalgene bottles are compatible with all backpack bottle pockets. Smartwater bottles aren’t.

You can read the complete write up on backpacking with Ultralite Nalgene bottles written by Philip Werner.

LAST UPDATED

October 22, 2023

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Section Hiker

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Philip Werner is a full-time outdoor author and backpacker who resides in New England. His website SectionHiker.com is ranked as the #1 Hiking and Backpacking Blog on the internet by AdventureJunkies.com in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The name of this site, Section Hiker, refers to the Long Trail which I section hiked in 2008 and the Applachian Trail that I’m still working through. To date, I’ve completed 1400 miles of the AT and hope to complete all of the sections between Georgia and Maine someday. I’ve also hiked thru-hiked the TGO Challenge (Coast-to-Coast across Scotland) twice and I’m currently section hiking the Cape Wrath Trail, also in Scotland.

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