If I leave the house for more than a quick trip to the corner store, I take my Klean Kanteen Reflect with me. It sits in my Velo backpack when I walk, it slips into the bottle cage on my bike when I ride, and it passes through airport security — empty and ready to be refilled in the departures lounge — when I fly. It is my single most-used gadget after my iPhone and iPad, but unlike those I don’t feel I have to replace it every year. It doesn’t need an annual upgrade, and every dent, scratch and scar makes it look even cooler.
The Reflect is a water bottle rolled from 18/8 stainless steel and capped with a “stainless unibody bamboo cap.” The cap is sealed with a silicon O-ring and has a carrying loop on top; the body comes in two finishes — brushed or polished.
Apple is also a big fan. On Earth Day last month, the company gave every employee an Apple-branded Klean Kanteen.
We’re advised to drink eight glasses of water a day, but often that advice comes from – guess where – mineral water companies, who don’t tell us that the water we get from tea, fruit and anything else we ingest hydrates us just as well as a bottle of Poland Spring. And maybe we don’t need to worry so much about it anyway.
Guess who loves the advice to drink eight glasses of water a day? Mineral water sellers.
Sports scientists in Australia did blind tests on cyclists last year, working them in dry heat and then hydrating them intravenously so they wouldn’t know how much water they’d been dosed with.
The results showed that dehydration didn’t affect their performance at all. And that’s cyclists in Australian desert heat, so us desk drones should be fine. Out bodies already take care of keeping us topped up. If we’re thirsty, we should drink. If we drink too much, our bladders will soon let us know. And when it’s time to drink, forget mineral water and its environmental costs (transport, plastic). Reach for a bottle and fill it up from the faucet.
I have the 800 ml (27 ounce) Reflect, which carries a list price of $33 but probably cost €33. In the time since I bought it – around 18 months to two years ago – I’ve saved that, easily. But why the Reflect instead of any other bottle out there?
I trust it so much that I regularly sling it in a backpack with an iPad, a camera and whatever else is in there.
First, it’s tough and reliable. That unibody cap screws in fast, and the large silicone O-ring squeaks into place and then stays there. This bottle has never leaked or unscrewed. I trust it so much that I regularly sling it in a backpack with an iPad, a camera and whatever else is in there. And because the seal is so easy and fast to achieve — the cap only needs to be turned once to close it — I never have to check that I’ve done it right. In fact, the squeak of the rings as it seals started as an annoyance, but now offers a kind of reassurance.
The body is tough, too, as you’d expect of steel. It has been formed from a single sheet (you can see the seam on the inside of the bottle) and the lip is rolled over at the top to make it comfortable to drink from as well as lending rigidity. And speaking of ease of drinking, the wide mouth makes this as comfy as drinking from a cup. It’s also easy to fill and easy to clean.
One note on water, and also on cleaning. Like I said, I take my bottle everywhere. When I lived in Barcelona, I filled it with filtered tap water or bottled water (I know, I know, but Barcelona tap water is foul, and everybody buys water in 5 and 8-liter bottles).
I’d have to scrub the bottle every 4 or 5 days as it would get funky (cleaning is easy with the Reflect’s wide mouth and a standard dishwashing brush). When I visited other countries, I’d find my bottle could go for weeks without cleaning, and it would still smell fresh. I figured it was the Barcelona humidity letting bacteria grow.
But then I started using filtered water here in Leipzig, Germany, and the problem returned. I figured tap water’s load of chlorine (or whatever else is in there to keep it safe) keeps working in the bottle. What I’m saying is that you should just use tap water. In many places it’s delicious anyway, the equal of fancy branded waters.
Use unfiltered tap water to keep funky smells at bay.
There are a couple of things you might not like about the bottle, but these are quibbles so tiny it seems petty to mention them. When the bottle is in a bike’s bottle cage (or the front bag of my Brompton), the carrying handle can rattle against the lid. You can fix this by setting the handle upright, but it can get shaken back down again.
The other quibble is also noise-based. When you open the bottle, it’s tricky not to have the cap tap the neck on its way out, and this makes a distinctive and rather loud clank. It could prove annoying to others in classrooms, or your bedmate if you take a drink at night. As a sociopath who uses a clackety keyboard without shame, this doesn’t bother me at all.
To sum up, the Reflect is an ultra-reliable bottle that is easy to fill and clean, is a pleasure to drink from, and looks amazing. You can even buy an optional sippy lid made of plastic to make drinking while riding easier, and the bottle will pay for itself in months in money saved by not buying mineral water.
|Reflect by Klean Kanteen ($33 list)
The good: Reliable, great-looking and ergonomically almost perfect.
The bad: Noisy when opened and closed.
The verdict: Not only the best water bottle I’ve used, but one of the best-designed gadgets, period.
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