Social media is the preferred forum for complaining about a product or service. In an effort to counteract my own temptation to whine, this post is in praise of a product that’s overdelivered for me: my Hydro Flask. I think it may be the world’s best water bottle.
The fact that I paid exactly $11.61 for a water bottle makes me hate myself a little (believe it or not, I got a crazy-good price through Amazon Warehouse Deals). I’ve seen Haitian folks carrying questionable drinking water to their homes in old antifreeze jugs. So yes…the fact that I’m gushing about an eleven dollar water bottle probably means I’m hopelessly out of touch with the world. Feel free to click away if you find yourself despising me right now.
Here’s why the benefit of owning the Hydro Flask water bottle has proven to be worth my self-loathing. I drink a lot of water. So constantly refilling a single bottle is a heck of a lot cheaper (and greener) than buying bottled water. I’m not particularly snobby about the water that goes into the bottle, but the vessel itself has to be just right.
So…without further ado, here are eleven ways that Hydro Flask gets it right. They’re the small reasons why I think I have the best water bottle in the world. [Added on 1/2/15: By the way, if you end up deciding you want one for yourself, here’s a link to the Hydro Flask product page on Amazon.]
1) It looks like a fire extinguisher. I’ve actually been stopped and asked if I’m carrying a fire extinguisher. Am I channeling some childhood hero worship of firefighters? Maybe.
2) It keeps water unbelievably cold. When I said I wasn’t particularly snobby about the water that goes into the bottle, I was half lying. There’s one main rule about the water I drink: it must be cold. Ice cold. Glacier runoff, stop-your-heart, mouth-shocking cold. This bottle is double-wall vacuum insulated, which means that I can drop in a bunch of ice cubes, fill it with water, screw down the cap, leave it outside in the blazing sun, and still have frigid water (and ice cubes) waiting for me when I return a few hours later.
3) It doesn’t sweat. My penchant for ice cold water means that regular plastic bottles sweat and leave a messy puddle of condensation on my desk and whatever else they happen to touch. This is a non-issue for the Hydro Flask.
4) It doesn’t leak. I’ve used Tervis tumblers, CamelBak bottles with pop-up straws, and Contigo bottles with button-activated openings. They all leaked eventually when tipped, inverted, or squeezed. They were often small leaks…and they often took a while to develop…but it always happened at the worst possible time. I feel perfectly confident screwing the lid on this bottle and throwing it in a bag with my laptop, prehistoric fossils, and mint condition Honus Wagner baseball cards.
5) It’s just the right size. It’s small enough to fit in my lunch box and my car’s cup holder, and people don’t ask me if I’m about to hike into the desert when they see me carrying it. At the same time, it holds 18 ounces—more than a pint—which means I’m not constantly making trips to the water fountain or Brita pitcher.
6) It sounds like a bell when it’s empty and it happens to bang against my knee. You don’t believe me. Listen:
This is ridiculous, but I imagine Hydro Flask hiring full-time Steve Jobs engineer types who obsess over the sound each Hydro Flask bottle makes when struck with a rubber mallet. I don’t know why I like the fact that my empty water bottle sounds like a bell, but I do.
7) It’s simple. Fewer parts means less stuff to clean. And it means less stuff that will eventually break or wear out.
8) The mouth hole is just the right size. Stop giggling. And yes, I really, really hope that I never use the phrase “mouth hole” again. But I don’t know what else to call it. I’ve come to despise drinking from a straw-based bottle (too restrictive) and a wide-mouth bottle (too likely to end up with a waterfall cascading down my chin). This bottle seems like it was actually designed for a human being’s mouth.
9) It’s also a fantastic travel coffee mug. When the need arises, I fill this guy with coffee, tighten the lid, and it stays piping hot for hours. When I’m done, I rinse it out, fill it with water again, and there’s no lingering coffee aftertaste.
10) It’s got that nifty hole in the cap. That means I can hang the bottle from my briefcase or backpack. Or I can unscrew the cap, slide it on my finger like it’s a huge ring, and pretend I’m a P-Funk All Star.
11) Their product packaging and marketing are pretty fantastic. I was really impressed with the packaging that came wrapped around the bottle. It makes me root for the company and the brand (vs. happening to just own one of their products).
First, they do a good job at getting their customers to interact with the brand, asking folks to send in photos and hinting that they could be used in promotional materials (Facebook and Twitter handles were also listed nearby):
They also donate 5% of their gross profits, letting each customer choose which charity to support. I’m not sure why more companies don’t do this. I get to support my favorite non-profit, and Hydro Flask doesn’t have to be tied to a certain group or cause (or come under fire if/when that group or cause makes a misstep).
Finally…I’m a sucker for warranties. So I was pretty much delighted when I saw that my water bottle carries a lifetime warranty (or 100 years, whichever comes first):
So…kudos to you, Hydro Flask. You’ve built maybe the world’s best water bottle, and your branding is fantastic. The lesson for the rest of us is that all of the small things do make a difference…and they often determine whether the teeming masses online sing our praises or attempt to drive us out of business.
Update: Several people have asked me for a link to the Hydro Flask water bottle on Amazon. So…without further ado, here it is. It’ll likely be selling for more than what I paid, but you might be lucky enough to see a used one listed via Amazon Warehouse Deals under the color options and product details.