10 Cool Uses for Your Nalgene Bottle on the Trail or in the Tent


Owning a collection of Nalgene bottles, marked with stickers and scratches from endless drops on the trail, is almost a rite of passage for outdoor enthusiasts. It quickly becomes your emotional support water bottle. It’s been by your side through your most strenuous Type 2 fun activities, but this bottle can do much more than just keep you hydrated. Inspired by MEC’s video highlighting their top Nalgene hacks, here are 10 versatile ways to make the most out of your Nalgene.


Flip Your Bottle Upside Down to Avoid Freezing Near the Lid

Olivia Wiens 

Hiking and camping in the winter can be challenging, and finding your water frozen solid only adds to the risk factor. To avoid losing your water source, flip your Nalgene upside down in your pack to keep the water near the lid from freezing. This will cause the water near the base to freeze first, allowing you access to your water for longer periods of time.


Use It as a Waterproof Container

Alexi Ueltzen, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0 

There’s nothing worse than taking the kayak out on the lake only to drop your keys or sunglasses into the water. Nalgenes can solve this problem by acting as your personal waterproof container, floating atop the water if it happens to fall overboard. Place your valuables, first aid materials or anything else you don’t want to get wet—but also don’t want to leave on the beach—inside the bottle. You can even go one step further and attach a carabiner to the strap of the lid and hook it to the boat or board for extra security.


Turn It Into a Cold-Soaking Container

Frederick Shaw 

If you don’t want to rely on a camping stove for all your meals, cold soaking is a great meal-prep alternative—and your Nalgene is a great, leak-proof container to use for it. Just place your dehydrated ingredients into a water bottle and add the required amount of water. While you’re busy hiking or relaxing on the lake, your meal can slowly rehydrate for your post-activity enjoyment.


Fill the Bottle With Hot Water and Use It as a Heating Pack In Your Sleeping Bag

Alireza Shojaei

Struggling to stay warm in your tent—buried in every layer of clothing you have with your sleeping bag zipped all the way up—is not only extremely uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. To avoid risking hypothermia on the trail, pour some hot water into your Nalgene and stuff it into your sleeping bag before you call it a night. The hard plastic of the water bottle is great at maintaining its shape, so your makeshift heating pack won’t warp.


Freeze a Half-Filled Nalgene for Hot Days

Joshua Tree Park, Flickr 

Adventuring in the summer presents its own temperate dangers with increased risk of heatstroke and dehydration. Freezing a half-filled Nalgene prior to your hike can keep your water cooler throughout the day; however, ensure you have enough unfrozen water to keep you hydrated before the rest has a chance to melt.


Wrap Paracord Around the Lid Strap for Emergencies

Robert Tadlock, Flickr, CC BY-2.0  

Your Nalgene strap is great at keeping your lid from flying away, but you can add to its functionality by tying some paracord around the loop, offering an emergency supply for extra tent guy lines or broken shoelaces. This also reinforces the lid loop, making it less likely to break off and allowing you to personalize your bottle.


Use Your Bottle as a Foam Roller

Olivia Wiens 

After a long day of hiking, it’s important to stretch out your muscles to avoid cramping and soreness. Using your Nalgene as a makeshift foam roller to massage your legs and back can be a great way to unwind at the end of the day.


Use the Lid as a Water Bowl for Your Dog

Paxson Woelber, Flickr, CC BY-2.0 

Adventuring with your furry friends can make the experience much more memorable, but it’s important to take care of them while you’re both on the go. Using the lid of your Nalgene as a quick and easy dog bowl allows your buddy to have a drink without having to stop the fun for too long.


Use Your Nalgene as a Lantern

Bradley Stemke, Flickr, CC BY-2.0 

Wrapping a headlamp around your bottle, shining the beam through the bottom, creates a light-dispersing lantern perfect for illuminating a tent and campsite. Hang the Nalgene from a hook or branch for a colourful, hands-free and diffused light source.


Nalgenes Have a Lifetime Warranty

Olgierd, Flickr, CC BY-2.0 

Nalgenes are nearly indestructible, but if you happen to break one, the company has a lifetime warranty and will replace your bottle for free. There are no limitations for where you can take your Nalgene and what you can use it for.

Your Nalgene is your personal companion through all your adventures, so use it to its full potential. Load it with stickers from every national park, force it into your already stuffed backpack and use these tips to ensure your hike, camping trip or daily excursion is the best it can possibly be.


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