It's pretty common to use 1 oz Nalgene bottles to hold the spices in a spice kit for backpacking as they are waterproof and the right size.

1 oz Nalgene bottles

Image Source

The problem comes when trying to label the bottles, as permanent markers or even cow id tag markers will rub off.

Best solution I know of is to wrap the bottles with masking tape and then write on that but the problem is that once it gets wet the tape comes off.

Is there a better solution for permanently labeling these?


5 Answers 5


Clear repair tape over the top of a good marker pen will protect it indefinitely up to hand washing (a dishwasher will soften the glue of some tapes). Make sure to wrap the tape right round so it sticks to itself.

I have a such a bottle for washing up liquid, that's been labelled like this for 20+ years (though idle for much of that time).

A more expensive solution is a label tape printer, such as those made by Brother. I label kayaking gear with my contact details using one of these, sometimes with tape over the top, sometimes not, and have also labelled water bottles and put them through the dishwasher repeatedly. For wet use the more expensive self laminating tapes work much better than the cheaper ones with the print on the surface.


Inverted Braille

Heat the point of a nail or scribe and make small indentations in the thick plastic (lid?), using Braille characters. Color the indented dot with a permanent marker, as the mark is indented the marker will tend not to wear off. With a little practice you will be able to read them in the dark as well. Normally only a single letter will be required per spice.

S for Salt

P for Pepper

First version French braille code c1824.jpg, By SteveStrummer [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

All About Braille


I mark all my stuff with an engraver. All my Nalgenes have my name engraved right on the front under the Nalgene logo. You could engrave whatever you want on the front then do marker over top. The marker may rub off the smooth plastic, but not so much out of the engraving. Even if all the ink washes away, the engraving is still there.

enter image description here


High end colored tape like used for marking climbing gear or nail polish.

Like a gaffers tape.

Nail polish is just a paint can get in a lot of colors and small quantity.

  • Can you please expand the answer into more than just one short line? Maybe how you use the tape or what risk is it for using nail polish.
    – Willeke
    May 18, 2018 at 11:39
  • @Willeke I don't see any risk in nail polish.
    – paparazzo
    May 18, 2018 at 11:42
  • It uses a thinner liquid which is different from most paints, have you tested it on the kind of bottle?
    – Willeke
    May 18, 2018 at 12:04
  • @Willeke I am going to call it a paint rather than a liquid. No I did not test on a nalgene bottle. Do you have a basis to believe nail polish would not work on plastic?
    – paparazzo
    May 18, 2018 at 12:14
  • I would be hesitant to try as it might damage the plastic, but I do not own such a bottle to try it on.
    – Willeke
    May 18, 2018 at 12:16

It sounds like you carry more than one of these. If that is the case, then put them all in a large zip-lock bag. That should protect whatever labeling system you use.

Another option is to put a small piece of paper inside the bottle itself with a label that shows through the mostly transparent bottle, and then fill it with the spice. I would doubt that the paper or any marker ink would affect the spices or pose any harm to you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.