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Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth Review

  • Car Camper
  • Day Hiker
  • Wilderness Backpacker

Nalgene 32 oz Wide MouthOverview

There are pieces of gear so synonymous with and essential to backpacking and outdoor culture that you could show them to trekkers from South Carolina, South Africa, and South Korea and they would all know exactly what it is. The Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth water bottle is one of those pieces.

Tough as heck, lightweight, inexpensive, and highly-stickerable, the Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth has been been around the world and back for decades, helping outdoor folk drink water with ease. These attributes have made the Nalgene Wide Mouth a shoe-in for our Classic Pick award for the Wilderness Backpacker, Car Camper, and Day Hiker.

There are countless water bottles on the market, from the disposable generic kind at the gas station to the ultra-chic titanium that will set you back serious yen. We highlight a number of kinds on the site, but recognize that the Nalgene Wide Mouth, in the 32 ounce capacity, will essentially work for anyone is any situation. Rarely does a piece of gear live up to such accolades, but this one does.

Read up on the full Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth review below.

32 oz Wide Mouth Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 6.25 oz. (178 g) (when empty) Not very heavy or very light. A medium weight water bottle that edges on the side of heavy when totally full.
Volume 32 oz. (1 L) We’ve found one liter of water is the best for backcountry use.
Body Material Plastic, Eastman Tritan co-polyester Eastman Tritan is a tried and true plastic used in bottles all over the world, and Nalgene uses the plastic in this bottle. Very hard to break.
Mouth Type Wide A very wide mouth. Fits ice cubes, water filters, or anything, really.
Lid Attached Twist Off The plastic lid is leak-proof and twists on simply. It’s permanently attached so you can’t lose it.
Height 8.25 in. (21.5 cm) A medium-heighted bottle.
Base Diameter 3.5 in. (8.9 cm) A fairly wide bottle, but grippable in one hand for most people.
Mouth Diameter 2.5 in. (6.3 cm) A very wide mouth diameter. So wide that messy drinkers spill easily.
Free Of BPA, BPS, Phthalate This plastic is pretty much free of all the harmful things we know about at this time.
Other Sizes Wide Mouth 16 oz, 48 oz, Narrow Mouth 16 oz, 32 oz There are many versions of this bottle, but the 32-ounce version is the classic. You can get it with a narrow mouth, too.
Manufacturer Warranty Lifetime Warranty Nalgene doesn’t have a page listed for its warranty, but the company has informed us that it provides a lifetime warranty for its bottles. If you break a bottle (not just the strap to the lid) they will replace it for free.
Retail Price $10.99 Cheap for a lifetime of use. You won’t regret it.

Gear Review of the Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

I’ve never been a big backcountry water bottle carrier. I use hydration reservoirs as much as possible for their convenience and tendency to encourage water consumption. So, when I received a water bottle to test, I begrudgingly took it with me to Montana to use during a four-week stint interning with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation near Glacier National Park. I spent these weeks hiking and rafting into remote areas to pull, survey, and map invasive weed infestations in partnership with the Forest Service.

Nalgene-Wide-Mouth-32-oz-review-scenic-on-river
A lonely Nalgene Wide Mouth 32 oz on the shores of a big river.

On each foray into the wild the Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth bottle served me well. The Nalgene Wide Mouth is the industry standard for water bottles. The adapter hose from Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter I was also testing mated perfectly with the bottle and made filling from streams and lakes — and even the deck of our river raft — spill-free and fast.

Nalgene-Wide-Mouth-32-oz-review-with-water-filter
The 32 oz Wide Mouth is a classic, which means other gear is built to be used with it.

One of the main reasons I’ve always loathed water bottles while backpacking is the accessibility while walking. Every backpack I’ve used has horrible water bottle pockets that reduce me to wild flailing when attempting to pull out my bottle. When using the Gregory Baltoro 65’s water bottle pocket, this was no longer an issue. Having a backpack that encourages water bottle usage through good pocket placement is critical in the backcountry and allowed me to fall in love with the classic design of the Nalgene.

Nalgene-Wide-Mouth-32-oz-review-in-baltoro-pocket
Many backpack pockets are made to specifically fit the Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth.

The convenience of drinking out of a familiar water bottle instead of a hose while on the trail gave me a strange sense of comfort that I didn’t even know I was missing. This was the moment I understood why the Nalgene is found on practically every trail on earth.

Digging Deeper

Lid

Nalgene has roots in the scientific industry, and you can tell by its truly leakproof lid. Even when inverted and during heavy gains and losses of elevation, nary a drop left the bottle to soak my goods.

Nalgene-Wide-Mouth-32-oz-review-head-on-2
The lid is one we’re all familiar with. It screws on and it is attached.

Durability

I’ve literally dropped my Nalgene bottles from two-story buildings. They never showed  more than a scuff. To test the durability of the Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth, I filled it and slammed it on asphalt. I launched it off a cliff above the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. I dropped river stones on it. I think you get the picture: this thing is almost indestructible.

Form Factor

The Nalgene Wide Mouth bottle is the shape and size most manufacturers spec their bottle-carrying products to — a benefit of being the industry standard. I never had a problem sneaking its slick, rounded form into full packs or pulling it easily out of the outer pockets of a trekking pack. My hands are medium-large sized and have no problem gripping the bottle even when wet. Someone with small hands may have more difficulty as it is a wide bottle.

Nalgene-Wide-Mouth-32-oz-review-drinking
Expression aside, I love drinking from this thing.

Drinkability

The Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth does require some finesse when drinking to avoid losing most of your treated water to your shirt. But, it wasn’t a deal breaker. The wide mouth makes filling with ice and cleaning after use really simple. Also, the Tritan plastic doesn’t lend the water a flavor. A huge plus when drinking fresh mountain spring water.

For those who need a Nalgene but can’t handle a wide mouth, there’s the Narrow Mouth version.

Grievances

My only grievance with the Nalgene Wide Mouth is the stink factor. Nalgenes in particular have the tendency to develop a funky smell around the lid threads. I don’t know if it’s because the coarseness of the thread traps water or if the super seal traps heat and mildew, but I’ve noticed it for years. As long as you’re using the bottle frequently and refilling with fresh water daily, it’s not a big deal. But, I’ve stashed a full bottle in my car for after a multi-day hike and had to plug my nose to down the water within.

Final Word

The Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth is a true classic among water bottles, about as classic as a water bottle can be. If you don’t lose it, yours will be with you for many years and miles to come. And, make sure to grab a Backpackers.com sticker to make it extra cool…

Where to Buy Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth

Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth bottles are so classic you can find them literally everywhere. Brick and mortar stores like REI, Target, and Walmart typically have them, and you can also buy specially branded one from tons of online shops. While we like the Wide Mouth, Nalgene also makes the 32 oz Narrow Mouth version for those who want to drink from a narrow bottle.

Compare Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth and Narrow Mouth prices below.

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Sebastian Cancino

Sebastian is a contributing reviewer for Backpackers.com. When he’s not hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing in the southern California mountains, he's running his online vintage outdoor apparel and gear shop, Vintage Outdoor. Sebastian works for Patagonia, but don’t worry: he’s here to provide objective views on the industry’s best gear from all brands. Check out his Instagram to see where his adventures are taking him.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.

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