For those that live the RV lifestyle or love the outdoors, having a portable beverage container is a serious issue. Whether you’re hiking, boating, or away from your home-base for hours at a time, you need to stay hydrated. Having a sealed, insulated water/coffee bottle that can withstand your adventure is a must.
If you’re in a hurry and just want our recommendation for the best-insulated water/coffee bottle, we recommend the 18oz YETI Rambler – the vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle as the best one. If you’re interested in how we made this choice, please continue reading.
Materials And Insulation
Whichever company you choose, both YETI and Hydro Flask make their containers out of 18/8 stainless steel. They have double-walled construction with a vacuum seal between the outer and inner wall that insulates your liquid.
Another benefit of the double-walled construction is that you won’t lose your grip due to moisture building on the bottle. The condensation you see on many other cups or glasses is formed when the air outside of the container is warmer than inside. The vacuum seal prevents this from happening by creating a barrier between the outer and inner steal shells.
Neither manufacturer uses bisphenol (BPA) — a resin bonding chemical linked to adverse health issues — in the assembly of its products.
There have been many tests done by consumer product testers looking at the temperature retention of each container. Generally, hot or cold, both YETI and Hydro Flask products can retain their temperature for upwards of 3 hours. After even after 5 hours, these tests report some temperature retention.
RESULT: Draw; both companies offer similar levels of quality construction from high-end materials.
Recently, YETI expanded its size variety to keep pace with Hydro Flask. While YETI expanded their tumbler lines (a drinking glass with straight sides and no handle or stem), Hydro Flask has more options to choose from.
Hydro Flask also offers two different widths in their bottles. The more narrow is easier to handle for people with smaller hands and fits better in your hiking gear.
They also offer a short-neck version that has a more narrow opening and then expands wider into a cylinder shape. With this type of bottle, putting in ice cubes can be problematic since the opening is narrow. Some consumers choose this version because it can be easier to drink from if you’re not using the straw lid.
YETI keeps mostly to its cylinder shape with its drinkware. The exception is that they have a tumbler that tapers down to the bottom. With wide openings, you will not have to worry about ice cubes or other things not fitting.
RESULT: Hydro Flask; with a great variety of sizes, consumers who go the Hydro Flask route can find more of what they’re searching for.
Style and Colors
The two companies take different approaches when it comes to colors and paint.
YETI offers 6 different colors and a 7th only in their tumblers. They use DuraCoat paint which adds to the durability of the container. YETI’s color options are:
- Stainless Steel
- Tahoe Blue
- Brick Red
- Olive Green
- Pink, only for the tumblers
Hydro Flask is always releasing different varieties of colors. They use powder coating to paint their containers. Currently, they offer 14 colors you can choose from. They also allow you to mix and match your colors — you can have different colors on the strap, on the container, and on the container guard.
RESULT: YETI; while YETI colors are fewer in number than Hydro Flask, those offered are the most popular and use DuraCoat paint, making them more resilient. In the one-off scenario where you want a multi-colored bottle, Hydro Flask has you covered, but it feels more like a marketing plug than an actual customer desire.
Both YETI and Hydro Flask offer different options for their lids. No matter which one you choose, they all offer a solid seal to prevent leaks.
YETI offers 3 types of lid: a simple sip lid, a magslider lid, and a straw lid. The company also offers a lid that has a handle at the top that should fit three fingers. Except for the sip lid, the other lids screw into the container itself. YETI pas screw threads on the inside of the container at the top that the lids fit into.
Hydro Flask has two different lid varieties for their lids. The Flex Cap is a sealed lid (you cannot drink with it on) and has a flexible strap that can fit most of your fingers in. The other lid is their Hydro Flip allows for drinking by flipping up the mouthpiece cover.
RESULT: Draw; both companies offer comfortable lid options and there isn’t a significant enough difference here to move the needle in either company’s favor.
The results of a durability study in which a bottle from YETI and a bottle from Hydro Flask were dropped 5 feet will outline our data in this category. In this test, the result was a cracked YETI bottle handle, but the lid stayed firmly sealed whereas the Hydro Flask bottle’s lid came off on impact.
The investigators also looked at the denting and scratching that was the result of the drop. Both bottles had slight denting, but the Hydro Flask paint was scratched up. Their powder-coating didn’t stand up as well as the YETI DuraCoat paint.
Recently, Hydro Flask began offering a bumper for their bottles. This rubber-like material fits around the bottom of the container to protect it from getting scratched up during everyday activities.
For campers that like to hike or climb, you should be worried about your bottle getting damaged from drops or contact with hard surfaces, like rocks.
For durability purposes, a non-painted stainless steel version may be your best bet if you go with Hydro Flask.
YETI’s DuraCoat paint wouldn’t likely have any scratching problems as its paint is made for the outdoors. It is often used on guns, outdoor tools that are weather-resistant, and other products.
If you are a boater or like to be near the water, both brands float in water. The seal stays intact, so there should not be any contamination from the outside water.
RESULT: YETI; both bottles feel sturdy and are made from quality components. You can’t go wrong with either company, but for us, YETI was our first choice due to its DuraCoat painting and reputation for durability.
Both companies offer warranties on their products. YETI offers a 5-year warranty on their bottles and parts. It is a full warranty, so if you lose your lid or a bear decides that your bottle makes a great chew toy, you can get replacement parts.
Hydro Flask does offer a lifetime warranty but it is limited to manufacturing defects.
RESULT: YETI; a lifetime warranty is nice, but it’s unrealistic you’d ever cash in on a problem with manufacturing defects, given both companies’ sturdy construction. YETI, on the other hand, offers a more practical warranty as it’s more likely you’d need a new lid than you’d experience a major defect in construction.
Hand washing your bottle is always recommended, regardless of which one you choose. If you put your YETI or Hydro Flask container in a dishwasher, it could damage the powder coating.
Washing your bottle isn’t that much of a chore either. Both are resistant to bacteria, odor and absorbing taste buildup due to the stainless steel.
Stainless steel is used for food and medical purposes because of its resistance to staining and microbes.
RESULT: Draw; both bottles are easy enough to clean.
YETI and Hydro Flask are competitive in pricing.
YETI offers its Rambler Drinkware Series (Bottles) at different price points. The 12 oz. bottle is around $30 while the 64 oz. bottle is around $50.
Hydro Flask prices have a broader range. Their 18 oz. Standard Mouth retails for about $30 whereas their 64 oz. Wide Mouth is around $60.
RESULT: Draw; both bottles are similarly priced.
Choosing the Right Brand
Whichever brand of container you choose, both perform very well outdoors as they can both take the wear and tear of outdoor life.
Of the two, YETI is the best-rated for durability, but Hydro Flask offers more variety in their bottle shapes and color choices.
As we said in the beginning, YETI is better when it comes to durability. The screw-on lids can survive drops and the containers can handle anything you knock against it. If it ever does become too damaged, YETI takes care of its customers with their five-year warranty. YETI is our preferred company for these reasons and we recommend the 18oz YETI Rambler for folks who are looking for a new insulated water/coffee bottle.
If your camping experience is not as highly adrenalized as hikers or climbers, then the Hydro Flask products can work for you as well. With their variations on colors and sizes, you can find the perfect one for you.
The bumper guard around the bottom of the bottle helps prevent the powder-coating from being scratched and if there is a manufacturer defect, you have their lifetime warranty to get a replacement.
Many other brands use aluminum instead of stainless steel and their lids don’t hold as securely as you’d like.
Product data was last updated on 2020-04-08 at 21:52.