Water Storage & Transport Part 1

Image: Simon Howden

While small capacity plastic water bottles and traditional bottle cages might be fine for a short tour or even a mid-distance training ride, what options are there for cyclists concerned about plastics or those planning rides to places where the ability to transport an adequate quantity of potable water on the bike is paramount?  In this series of posts we’ll examine different ways of transporting water on a bicycle and focus on the solutions we plan to implement during our global cycling expedition. This is the 1st of 3 posts.


First, we’ll take a look at:



Following on the heels of a healthy dose of personal research on the potential hazards of eating and drinking from containers made of plastic, and seeking to minimize waste and maximize the storage and transport of water on our bicycles, we focused in on products made of glass, aluminium and stainless steel.

Glass was ruled out pretty quickly given its heavy empty weight and tendency to shatter when subjected to the laws of gravity.

Aluminium was a contender given the fact that I already owned several Sigg bottles and owing to the material’s feather empty weight.  It was a contender, that is, until the truth came out about thepresence of BPA in the flexible linerinstalled inside older Sigg bottles (used to prevent the aluminium from contacting the fluid stored inside).   The poor manner in which Sigg chose to withhold the BPA issue from its customers for so long offset our desire to support their product.  Looking around, the only other producer of a similar product that we felt we could support, the Spanish company Lakken, ended up having a similarly questionable liner.  Plus, they, just like Sigg, will not publish what chemicals make up their liners – citing “proprietary” recipes.  Not wanting to mess with phthalates nor other toxins found in petroleum based plastics, we decided to move on.

Our Final Choice: Stainless Steel

So, with glass too heavy and fragile, and aluminium reliant on toxic plastics, which is one of the reasons why we don’t use plastic bottles in the first place, it came down to stainless steel.  We couldn’t find stainless steel bottles made anywhere other than the Far East so we ended up purchasing several bottles made in China sold under theKleen Kanteen” brand.  I’ve been using a 64 oz model in excess of six months and am pleased with the product’s robust gauge and the (eventual) total lack of imparted taste upon the water inside.  When I first used the bottle a distinct metallic taste made its way into the water.  However, this faded rapidly with use and after a week or two, there was no more iron-ny flavor in the water.  Another bonus to the Klean Kanteen bottles, is that if you get them unpainted, liquid in them can be heated on a clothes iron (in hotel rooms), via an immersion heater, or even an open flame in an emergency (being mindful that the bottle itself will get extremely hot to the touch).

More Information about dangers and effect of plastics on us and our world:

About Phthalates

About BPA – Bisphenol A:

About Plastic Pollution:

This is Part 1 of a series of posts in which we examine ways of storing and transporting water on a bicycle and focus on the solutions we plan to implement during our global cycling expedition.  To read Part 2 or Part 3 of this series click on the links below:

Part 2 : Mounting Containers
Part 3 : Large Capacity Storage Containers & Filtration

To find out more about how to avoid or reduce your use of single-use and disposable plastics,check out the tips on the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s website.

1 comment to Water Storage & Transport Part 1

  • Greg McCarthy

    I dont believe stainless steel bottles are manufactured anywhere outside China and India and to do so would require importing the raw materials and machinery from god knows where. When touring we used a curved punc bottle like these as they fitted the bike cages better http://puncbottles.com/product/1000ml-green-stainless-steel-water-bottle/ and had one fitted with a sip lid for drinking without taking your eyes off the road the other was fitter waith a stainless steel screw lid. We also brought with us a Katadyn water filter so didnt have to rely on local water purchases.

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