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I’ve been seeing an increasing number of vacuum insulated water bottles and was wondering would a plastic(single walled) or a vacuum insulated water bottle be better for...

  1. Everyday (going from home to work and back)
  2. Backpacking
  3. Exercise
  • I believe that this isn’t a duplicate because that question was asking about on expeditions and metal water bottles in general vs hard fiber I was asking about vacuum insulated vs plastic on hiking and for everyday use. – JIMMYPlay Nov 19 '18 at 18:37
  • The one does not exclude the other. 'Vacuum isolated' can still be plastic. Please edit your question with exact information. Adding pictures or links may help too. And if you are only interested in the isolation properties, it makes no difference what you use the bottle for (i.e. this question is only marginally on topic). – Jan Doggen Nov 20 '18 at 10:53
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    How in the world is this too broad? The question is about what the advantages of one specific type of bottle in specific situations would be over the other. – Charlie Brumbaugh Nov 20 '18 at 16:24
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You have 3 scenarios for usage

  1. Everyday (going from home to work and back)
  2. Backpacking
  3. Exercise

None of these have any reasonable need for vacuum insulation.

A vacuum flask (also known as a Dewar flask, Dewar bottle or thermos) is an insulating storage vessel that greatly lengthens the time over which its contents remain hotter or cooler than the flask's surroundings. Invented by Sir James Dewar in 1892, the vacuum flask consists of two flasks, placed one within the other and joined at the neck. The gap between the two flasks is partially evacuated of air, creating a near-vacuum which significantly reduces heat transfer by conduction or convection.

Vacuum flasks are used domestically to keep beverages hot or cold for extended periods of time and for many purposes in industry. Source: Wikipedia

There is nothing in your questions that would justify needing vacuum insulation.

If you want you fluids to stay in a specific temperature range longer then go for it.

But you don't need it, and it would not be better unless temperature change moderation is your goal.

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Vacuum insulation adds significant weight and bulk. Compared to a stainless steel water bottle, already a heavy option, it will weigh almost twice as much (because of the double wall, and probably a thicker cap). My 0.5 litre steel vacuum flask is almost as big as a 1 litre water bottle.

I don't have a steel water bottle to compare, but here are the best figures I've got:

  • 1 l aluminium bottle (Sigg) : 145 g
  • 1 l plastic bike bottle (Zefal) : 105 g
  • 0.6 l aluminium bottle (Sigg, actually a fuel bottle): 113 g
  • 0.5 l steel vacuum flask (Thermos): 286 g
  • 0.5 l disposable plastic bottle: 9 g

So compared to the lightest option you're carrying 280 g extra just to keep 0.5 litres of water cold (if you could obtain chilled water in the first place). That's one thing at the gym, another on the trail. Or to use an aluminium bottle, you could carry 20% more water, in less space, for the same weight. Either way that's a fraction of a hiking day's requirements.

I'm not saying I wouldn't hike with a vacuum flask - but that would be a hot drink on a cold day-hike. I've even carried one on a bike.

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    Or if you want to keep your water on a hike cold for longer, you could bring (some of it) frozen in a disposable plastic bottle. – april rain Nov 21 '18 at 9:01
  • @aprilrain, good point. I've done this when travelling light. I've also been known to day hike from a hotel, so filled a water bottle with ice from the ice machine, topped it up with water, and wrapped it in my waterproofs inside my pack. It was nice and cold for several hours, in tropical conditions. – Chris H Nov 21 '18 at 9:05

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