As stated on my Travel Tips page, I highly recommend getting an insulated water bottle. Let me explain why this is such a valuable piece of advice.
Everyone knows that you need water to survive. That is why I carry a water bottle with me literally all the time. Not only do you need water, but drinking enough per day has many benefits too so it is very important to always have water with you. As they say in the Boy Scouts of America, “always be prepared.” When I was in BSA, I used Nalgenes all the time and swore by them. They were large enough to carry enough water for my day trips, but more importantly they were durable to withstand the wrath of a teenager or being run over with a car. I accumulate many Nalgene bottles through the years and found which style I liked the best. The original Nalgene had a wide mouth for easy cleaning and drinking, but since I was always doing something active, this was not the best option. Too often the wide opening would allow water to splash out while I was drinking and walking so I invested in a splash guard. My next Nalgene bottle was the narrow mouth which solved the problem of water splashing. This is still my favorite type of Nalgene.
Despite my love for Nalgenes though, sometimes they just were not big enough. When this was the case or I was going have limited access to water, I used my Camelbak bladder. This was great because it is a flexible container that I was able to slip into most backpacks and it be able to drink out of the long tube without having to fumble with unscrewing or losing a cap. Inevitably though, I did not always need 3 liters of water that the Camelbak bladder was able to carry so I turned back to my trusty Nalgenes.
Then I got smart. In comes the insulated water bottles.
No offense to Nalgene, but they always let my water get too warm. The two most popular insulated water bottles are Polar Bottles and an insulated Camelbak Podium Chill bottle. These two bottle came recommended from a sales man at a bike shop. I didn’t know which one I liked /worked better so I bought one of each to test them both out. The insulated Camelbak Podium Chill bottle quickly became my favorite of the two. Even though it was not as big as the Nalgenes, it did keep my water colder for longer. Cold water is a very nice luxury. The reason I began to like Podium Chill over the Polar bottle was not because it kept my water colder than the other (they worked about the same), but because of the way the lid worked. In my experience, the Polar bottle’s lid was just a “normal” water bottle lid that you had to pop open and closed every time you wanted a drink and sometimes popped open on its own. This becomes a problem when you are out biking and find you have no water because it all bounced out. A more problematic situation arises when you take it on a plane and the bottle lid is squeezed open causing water to be spray all over because of the pressure changes. Either your bag gets all wet, you, or the person next to you. For this reason, I chose the Camelbak Podium Chill bottle over the Polar Bottle.
On top of that, the Camelbak bottle had a no drip feature allowing you to turn the bottle upside down without all your precious water pour out. On top of that, you can lock the lid so that you can rest assured that water will not be forced out of it while on a plane. The Camelbak and the Polar water bottles are probably a bit lighter (though smaller) than the Nalgenes, so pick your battle.
For those of you who are more health concious, another great recommendation for a water bottle is either the Lifefactory or Takeya glass bottles. The claim to fame for glass bottles are that they eliminate the use for plastics, thus allowing your water to be crisper and safer. One of the reasons I, along with many other people I know, stopped using Nalgene bottles was because there was a rumor that the chemical the company used to harden the Nalgene plastic caused cancer in your lips. Though I never found out if this was actually true, it was enough to make me put my Nalgenes away for a few years. I still have them though! The problem I have with glass bottles is that they are glass. And glass breaks.
My solution to all of these problems (to date) is the Miir Insulated bottle. This is an amazing bottle that I wish I would have found sooner!