At six months in to cycle touring we’ve had some experience using our equipment. Months ago we posted a three part series on how we were going to handle water storage and transportation while travelling. Here’s a quick shakedown on how our choices have fared so far:
Klean Kanteen Bottles
After 4 months of continuous use the “patent pending” screw top on one of our 20oz insulated bottles failed. The stainless steel plug stamped with “patent pending”, “09-09” and “18/8 stainless steel” separated from the plastic top, dislodging part of the silicone gasket/o-ring in the process. The entire assembly is pressed together but I was unable to impart enough force by hand to snap the parts back together again. This failure resulted in the top’s inability to seal liquids inside the bottle. Luckily, a brief trip into a national outdoor retailer located along our route was all it took to get a replacement top. I don’t know if this makes a difference, but a new Klean Kanteen top sports a “patented” stamp. Perhaps something has changed from the Patent Pending to the Patented version? We have three other Klean Kanteen bottles that incorporate the same top and several others that utilize the now discontinued stainless steel flat cap and, as of yet, have experienced no other failures. We’ll try to pickup a couple of extra tops somewhere for our spares kit.
Read reasons why we chose the Klean Kanteen Bottles in the first place.
Klean Kanteen Water Bottle Cages
Garbage, garbage, garbage. Stay far away from these cages. The super brittle plastic that comprises the Klean Kanteen model shatters if you look at it sideways. In only four months of use we’ve had five of these cages fail dramatically. We decided long ago to swap them all out for the Durango, Colorado-made stainless steel King Iris Cage.
(Note on Klean Kanteen customer service: I contacted Klean Kanteen by telephone and asked for a full refund for all of the cages we had installed on our bikes. While they were happy to replace the cages, they totally balked at my insistence of a refund. I attempted to reason with the company representative without luck, but thirty minutes, two reps and a supervisor later, a check was in the mail in an amount equivalent to four cages. I urge everyone who has ever had one of these cages fail to contact Klean Kanteen and demand their money back, even though Klean Kanteen will state that they only have a replacement warranty. Don’t take “no” for an answer. They know their product is failing. And not that they’ll have any idea who I am, but feel free to mention me by name if you have to and to use my case as a precedent.)
Ortlieb Water Bottle Cages
Within two days of heading out on our trip, both of the cages I had mounted onto the back of my rear panniers had fallen off the bike. Awesome. I can’t speak to how this massive design flaw made it past Ortlieb’s engineers or quality control folks but just please do yourself a favor and take steps to prevent the cage from separating from its carrier. I used zip ties, one at each corner, and that has done the trick, so far. The next thing I have to tackle is fastening a loop of shock cord to the cage to prevent a bottle from being ejected when passing over rough terrain, an annoying event that has occurred more than once. Again, why do cycle tourists have to deal with these kind of obvious flaws when problems like this should have been corrected before the final design ever left the factory? Come on Ortlieb!
These quick release “MK3” cages have proven 100% reliable! We’ve have experienced zero problems and never once has a bottle been thrown from the bikes. Great product that we both highly recommend! Just don’t forget to locktite the machine screws and bolts that hold the assemblies together, otherwise everything will loosen with time. Another solution would be to replace the stock nuts with stainless locknuts.
Read reasons why we chose the BikeBuddy in the first place.
Read our full review of the BikeBuddy here.
Orlieb Water Bags
We bought two of the 10 L bags for our trip, one for storing potable water and one for storing water for filtering, bathing, washing or doing laundry. So far, we’ve only used one bag for filtering water and bathing, and haven’t had the need to carry the extra bag with potable water, although this may change as we travel through the upcoming desert of Baja.
We’ve no complaints about the bags, they work as advertised and we love the fact that we can fill a bag up and take luxurious showers at the end of the day in our wild camps.
Ortlieb Folding Bowl
Our 10L Ortlieb folding bowl has come in handy on more than one occasion. We use it regularly to haul dirty dishes to the nearest water source, for washing dishes and for the occasional load of laundry. It folds up and packs away easily and hasn’t started showing any signs of wear yet.
Katadyn Pocket Filter
We thought our Katadyn pocket filter would be an indispensable part of our kit but it has become superflouos ever since Kai picked up a Sawyer SP135 (.02 micron) filter body. Although the Katadyn works great, it is larger and heavier than the Sawyer, and we’ve found that the Sawyer is what we grab first, its super easy gravity fed system the easy choice. We simply fill the Ortlieb bag with water, hang it on something above the filter which sits atop of our Klean Kanteen bottles and let nature do it’s thing, our only job being to occasionally switch out the bottles once filled. At this point, we’re considering selling our Katadyn filter or sending it back home.