We of course put it's durability to the test. It did pretty well but eventually broke with enough frustrated slamming into the concrete as our coach made us do nonsense workouts (anyone remember 24 X 200m around a tree and back for XC?).
After that Nalgenes became sounding boards for stickers we purchased to declare our suburban individuality (most people went with jam bands but I went with bike brands). In college the Nalgene was the preferred method of bringing mixed drinks camping or to the beach. Who knows how many laptops were fried by spilled Nalgene water. I even used one as a horribly uncomfortable pillow at Dulles airport once. Oh and some people drank water on them.
Now though I look back and wax poetic about what I now recognize as days of my youth - for now I Nalgene no longer.
The other week some house guests left a Kleen Kanteen at my place and told me to keep it as a thank you gift for hosting them. I was going to send it back to them anyway but with its more portable size (532 mL) and slick stainless steal design it has replaced my old sticker coated Nalgene - both in my heart and perhaps more tellingly in my messenger bag.
Claire sent me the article below that I thought I would repost about the rise of metal water bottles. Of course, the need to self-deprecate before we proceed is obvious:
Awash in Sales
Ruth Elliott once thought nothing of carrying her drinking water
in a Nalgene polycarbonate bottle, the plastic container that many
bikers, hikers and babies use. But she began to notice more people in
her Santa Cruz, Calif., neighborhood transporting their H2O in sleek
stainless-steel receptacles. Early this year she joined the growing
cadre of metal toters when she plunked down $25.95 for a 40-oz. (1.2 L)
stainless bottle. What swayed Elliott, 32, was Canada's decision in
late 2007 to reassess a substance found in polycarbonate — bisphenol A
(BPA), an estrogen mimicker linked to several medical conditions and
That the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
announced in a draft report on Aug. 15 that the trace amounts of BPA
found in polycarbonate containers do not pose a threat to infants or
adults mattered not a whit to Elliott, or to the many others who have
heeded the advice of some experts who disagree with the FDA. (Canada
has announced it will ban the import and sale of polycarbonate baby
The groundswell of demand has helped producers of
stainless bottles experience a huge surge in sales, seemingly
overnight. But the switch has also created its own set of management,
environment and trade issues for the lucky manufacturers. One winner is
Klean Kanteen, in Chico, Calif., which projects 2008 revenues of $18
million, up from $2.5 million in 2007 and less than $1 million in 2006.
Guyot Designs, in Deer Isle, Maine, another stainless-bottle maker,
also saw its business do a 180. Guyot projects revenues of $5 million
this year, 60% of that from stainless-bottle sales. In 2007, those
bottles accounted for only $60,000 of revenue.
anticipated the demand several years ago. In early 2004, small-business
owners Darrel Cresswell and his children Jeff Cresswell and Michelle
Kalberer became the order-fulfillment contractors for the inventor of a
27-oz. (.8 L) stainless bottle called Klean Kanteen. The more bottles
the siblings shipped, the more buzz they heard. "We recognized the
potential of stainless steel's long life cycle and thought the bottle
had really huge potential if marketed correctly," says Jeff Cresswell.
Eventually, the family became owners of the company.
Designs recently experienced its own dizzying trajectory. Established
in 2002 to provide accessories for Nalgene bottles, Guyot — Josh Guyot
is product designer and his wife Sloan Russell is president — debuted
four stainless-bottle designs in 2005. "We were aware the market was
changing," says Russell.
But not as fast as they thought.
Initially, their bottles didn't sell, and the company dumped its
stainless inventory at cost two weeks before Canada's BPA-related
announcement late last year. When a large Canadian outdoor-product
retailer pulled polycarbonate bottles off its shelves, Guyot got
bombarded with "gigantic orders" and was left scrambling. "We made two
trips to China to convince our factory — they thought we were crazy —
to make more tools, and we still missed many deadlines," says Russell.
Klean Kanteen's two factories in China also had to install more
equipment. With weekly shipments averaging 50,000 bottles, the company
is just now catching up with orders.
Some consumers find
themselves in a quandary over environmental issues. While enthusiastic
about stainless's recyclability, they're dismayed by China's
manufacturing processes, which are not always the greenest. Guyot's
Russell uses a third-party verification team to monitor its factory,
and the company offsets all carbon emissions resulting from the
Despite the controversies, as well as the
FDA's most recent evaluation of BPA and the new BPA-free plastic
bottles perched on retailers' shelves, the demand for stainless bottles
has not abated. "A slight dip in sales" would be Cresswell's worst-case
scenario. "The replacement for polycarbonate is still plastic, and
there's a psychological reserve that plastic is bad," says Russell.
Which makes the outlook for stainless appear shiny.
—by Coeli Carr