Summer slips into September; it seems only a few short weeks since I watched a shimmering solstice from a quiet beacon, yet somehow the equinox is almost here. Sunrises sharpen, leaves gently crispen and I wistfully pack away the light rucksack in favour of serious winter kit.
This year, however, there’s one little number easily making the seasonal transition with me. The Hydro Flask vacuum insulated water bottle claims to keep the hot drinks piping and the cool drinks icy, making it darned handy on the longest day, the shortest day and every day in between. I’m testing the 32oz wide mouth version, which, according to the write-up, is ‘big enough for a whole day in the backcountry’. I don’t know about the backcountry, but my favourite parts of Wales are pretty remote so I head to those, flask filled.
The full Hydro Flask range takes in a rainbow of shades and patterns, while the 32oz is available in 11 colours. Mine’s the gorgeous watermelon pink, one of four new shades along with frost, lilac and jade. It’s sturdy yet surprisingly lightweight, with a strong, strappy handle on the wide lid. When it comes to accessories, I’m shallow enough to be all about the looks, and I love it on first sight.
I’ve been hiking long enough to know, however, that appearances can deceive. Having been let down by a recent purchase from a well known brand, I hesitate at Hydro Flask’s claim to keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12. Either would be impressive enough, let alone the versatility between the two. But, thanks to the TempShield™ double wall vacuum insulation inside that pretty pink coat, it really does stand up to be counted. I test it on an overnight camp and, lo and behold, at 6am – a good 14 hours after I set out from home – my milk is still refreshingly fridge cold. Similarly, on long day hikes, my tea is piping hot, not just when I reach whatever trigpoint I’m bagging that day (trig tea-and-Yorkie stop obligatory), but even on arriving back at a parked van some miles later.
It’s a revelation; my existing flask was barely making it to the trig. And the Hydro Flask gets bonus points as a secret weapon in encouraging two increasingly reluctant teens out into the hills. This generous flask contains all the boiled milk needed for three warming cups of hot chocolate, a sure-fire enticement up to our favourite viewpoint, where we can settle back and, on a clear evening, watch the skies turn salmon over Pen y Fan, a good 30 miles north.
The Hydro Flask bottle comes in all sorts of sizes, including even larger wide-mouth versions and an assortment of slimmer standard mouth bottles, including 18, 21 and 24oz. There’s a variety of cap and sports lids, while, if you have young children, you might want to look at the cute kids’ bottle, with its easy-sip straw lid and a grippy silicone base (note this one’s not for hot drinks).
And to ‘cap’ (sorry!) it all, the wide mouth opening fits many third-party water filters – including another much-loved piece of kit, my LifeStraw! So while I might secretly have an eye on the enormous 64oz flask in order to carry more hot chocolate – therefore
bribing enticing friends, as well as teens, onto mountainsides – it’s good to know that, on solo treks, I can source water as I go and thus lighten my load.
With a lifetime warranty and available in the UK from Futureproof, American brand Hydro Flask puts its money where its mouth – or yours – is to support projects creating and restoring better access to parks. Unsurprisingly popular with the outdoors crowd, Hydro Flask is on Instagram and Twitter; give them a follow and find out more!
My Hydro Flask was kindly gifted. The 32oz bottle costs from £34.99, with smaller bottles starting at £19.95.