Whenever I see a backpacker carrying wide-mouth Nalgene bottles, I cringe, because I know that three of them add 15 ounces to the weight of their backpack that could be easily eliminated. For example, a one liter wide-mouth Nalgene bottle weighs 6.2 ounces, empty.
If you want to save some money and some pack weight, empty soda bottles make good water containers for backpacking. This empty liter bottle of Pepsi only weighs 1.2 ounces and cost $0.99 cents at a gas station. Granted, soda bottles have to be replaced more frequently than Nalgenes, but you probably buy enough bottled water or soda yourself or know someone who does, to get a regular supply of these bottles whenever you want.
The only real functional limitation of soda bottles is that they’re no good for holding hot water, but if you need that capability switching to a Platypus reservoir is an even more weight efficient alternative.
For example, a 2 liter Platypus reservoir bottle weighs 1.2 ounces and a 3 liter Platypus weighs just 1.5 ounces. Both are safe to use with hot water, stand up by themselves on flat surfaces like regular bottles, but fold up flat when empty.
Whatever you decide, ditch your Nalgene bottles. They’re just not worth the extra pack weight.
Written 2014. Updated 2018.
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