Vapur water bottle

Some would say that a water bottle isn’t exactly a key item for the travel backpack, and I can see the point — after all, you can just buy bottled water, right? Or refill a bottled-water bottle with tap water? Or use a glass? I’ve done all these things and more, and none of them are ideal.

I drink a lot of water, and I’m not a big fan of buying the bottled kind unless the tap water is disgusting or unpotable — it’s a waste of money, for one thing, and I’ve seen where those plastic bottles end up.

So, for years I refilled old water bottles with tap water, not knowing about the BPA risks. I had a metal water bottle with a filter for a while, which was great when travelling in areas of South America and Asia where the water was a bit dodgy. But it was heavy and took up a lot of space and a dog chewed up the filter… It got left behind.

The Vapur water bottle after a year of daily use.

The Vapur water bottle after a year of daily use.

I’d been thinking about buying a BPA-free water bottle from a travel store, but they were all bulky and unwieldy — there was no space for one of those in my carry-on-sized backpack. I kept using recycled bottled-water bottles, just tried to replace them a little more often.

But then, one fine March day, Craig and I were in Auckland airport waiting for our flight to Spain. We were planning to walk the 1000km-long Via de la Plata in celebration of ten years of marriage, and I still didn’t have a water bottle. And then, I saw it — the Vapur travel water bottle. It’s similar to a Platypus or Camelback water carrying system in that it’s more of a bag than a bottle, but it’s a lot smaller — just 500ml. This means it’s much more suitable for everyday use rather than for sports. It stands alone and has a sipper top, though I usually just unscrew the whole top and drink normally.

That day in Auckland airport, I fell in love. I had to have one. There were several colours to choose from, and I picked out a turquoise one, admiring the “world map” motif printed in white, trying out the matching blue carabiner that passed through a hole at the top of the bottle. And then I saw the price: NZ$30. What!? I know airports charge a lot but that’s absolutely ludicrous, who’d pay that for a water bottle? Me, apparently. Craig told me I had to buy it, that it was what I’d been looking for for years, that I’d regret it if I didn’t buy it… I bought it.

That was almost a year ago, and my Vapur bottle has served me well. Throughout the Camino I attached the carabiner to the chest strap on my backpack so that I’d always have water available, which worked quite well except that it damaged the plastic around the carabiner hole a fair bit. Turns out this plastic isn’t indestructible.

On the rare occasions that the bottle isn’t full of water, it rolls down impressively small and fits in any spare corner of my bag. It’s leaked a couple of times but I suspect that might have been my fault for not doing up the lid tightly enough. On the whole, I’m very happy with my bottle — though I still can’t believe I paid so much for it! (Especially since it costs US$10 online… though the $35 shipping to get it to me does increase the price somewhat.)

Price: US$9.95 online, whatever they want in international stores.
Size: 500ml, other variations available.
Weight: 30g
More info:


  • Packs down small
  • Light to carry
  • Carabiner attaches to pack straps
  • Nice design


  • Price
  • 500ml is a little small, I’d prefer a 600ml version
  • Occasional leaks
  • Plastic around carabiner warps over time

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