Glacéau Smartwater Glaceau Smartwater Bottle Review

Glaceau Smartwater Bottle Overview

Water has forever been our lifeblood. But it’s also our leash, tethering humanity to its flow, keeping our pioneers from venturing into the wild unknowns of the world. Over many millennia our brightest minds have worked out new ways to carry water across long distances: everything from animal bladders to woven plant matter to pottery. Human ingenuity never ceases to amaze me.

Modern day explorers are fortunate to live in a time when one of the best water-carrying devices to have ever existed is stocked by the pallet upon grocery store shelves, and it usually costs a buck or two. That’s right, I’m talking about the Smartwater Bottle, brought to you by Glaceau. Don’t roll your eyes — you know the one.

Smartwater bottles are cheap, durable, featherlight, and fit into just about any water bottle pocket on any backpack. You can find them almost anywhere and they come with the water inside!

For these reasons we’re awarding the Glaceau Smartwater Bottle our Budget Pick award for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Smartwater Bottle Star Rating
  • Lid
  • Durability
  • Form Factor
  • Drinkability


The Smartwater Bottle is a basic, disposable bottle that can be found in gas stations, grocery stores, and almost any roadside stop. And yet, it’s one of the most common bottles for the backcountry due to its lightweight and sleek design, the fact that it threads with popular water filters, and bcause it’s just so darn cheap.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. A disposable, $1 water bottle as an award winning product? The reality is that many folks on the trail, especially thru-hikers and weight-conscious backpackers, use a Smartwater Bottle. Our goal is to tell you what works in the wild, and this water bottle does the trick.

Read below for the full Smartwater Bottle review.

Smartwater Bottle 1L Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 1.2 oz. ( 34 g) when empty This is about as light as you’re going to get for any water bottle.
Volume 32 oz. (1 L) One liter of water is typical for backpacking activities.
Body Material Plastic, Generic This is very basic plastic. It will dent, puncture, and crumple if put under heavy strain. Yet it’s stronger than many other disposable water bottles.
Mouth Type Narrow The Smartwater lids are very small. You can’t fit an ice cube in them, and for hydration tabs (like Nuun) you have to break them in half. Easy to drink from.
Lid Very basic screw on cap Basic Smartwater Bottles come with a simple screw on/off cap. You can get them with a squeeze lid with a protector cap if you’re looking for something fancy.
Height 12 in. (30 cm) This is a tall, narrow bottle. Fits easily in backpack side pockets.
Base Diameter 2.75 in. (7 cm) Very narrow, especially compared to other more robust bottles. Good for gripping.
Mouth Diameter 1 in. (2.5 cm) A tiny mouth. Great for drinking, not great for putting anything in the bottle.
Free Of BPA This is a disposable bottle, so it doesn’t win any awards for best materials used. That said, it is BPA free.
Other Sizes 16.9 oz, 20 oz, 23.7 oz, 1L, 1.5 L Glaceau offers the Smartwater Bottle in many sizes. The one liter version is the best suited for backpacking, and the one usually found at gas stations.
Manufacturer Warranty N/A This is a disposable water bottle. You’re actually paying for the water, not the bottle. It’s not refundable.
Retail Price $1.00 This is an estimate, but the price is lower than anything you’ll find on our site!

Gear Review of the Glaceau Smartwater Bottle

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

The Smartwater Bottle has been my backpacking water bottle of choice for years. That said I only used it for drinking clean water until, one day on the trail, I learned it could help me filter dirty water as well.


Smartwater Bottles look good on the trail.

When I first started using the Sawyer Squeeze water filtration system I quickly broke through a number of Sawyer and Platypus water bladders. The seams at the neck would always pop. Those plastic pouches are no match for my super-strong squeezing muscles, apparently.

One day, upon hearing my frustrations, a passing hiker told me to try screwing a Smartwater Bottle into the other end of my water filter. Then simply “squeeze” the dirty water through.


Sawyer Squeeze plus Smatwater Bottle equals thru-hiker heaven.

And it worked! I was done destroying bladders from that day forward. Now anytime you catch me out in the wilds I’ve got one “dirty water” Smartwater Bottle and one clean one. Double fisting, as the kids say.


The “dirty” Smartwater Bottle sits in my backpack pocket as such, with the Squeeze attached and ready to filter.

Digging Deeper


The lid is the universal “small” size for disposable water bottles. The threads are the same as most other disposable bottles, and work specifically with the Sawyer Squeeze or Sawyer MINI filters and other, larger filters with water bottle adaptors.


The Smartwater Bottle lid is classic for most disposable water bottles. Tiny, which is great for drinking. These threads are also the “universal” ones that fit with a lot of different water filters.

The lid screws down tight onto the Smartwater Bottle ensuring a good seal, even after a lot of use. That said, it’s small, doesn’t attach automatically, and is therefore easy to misplace or drop down a cliff, so be conscious of that.


Smartwater Bottles can take a beating. I’ve dropped them on rocks and squeezed the hell out of them when filtering with the Sawyer Squeeze. The bottle will get crinkled and scarred, but I’ve never had one leak on me, and there have been times when I used the same bottles for months at a time on thru-hikes.


About a thousand squeezes in, a Smartwater Bottle is still going strong.

Form Factor

This bottle is a little longer and thinner than your average one liter water or soda bottle. It fits well in every backpack side pocket I’ve ever used, and its length just makes it that much easier to grab. Your hand comfortably wraps around it, unlike those chunky Gatorade bottles or more burly water bottles.


Easy to store and hold.


Flows well and simply out of the small lid. The best part is that you can squeeze the bottle and gush cool water all over your face on a hot day. Ahh…!



What about the penguins?

The only real downside is that it’s a disposable bottle, and you will eventually toss it to grab a new one at the next town or before your next trip (because it comes with free water, so why not?). Recycling is usually an option in trail towns, but not always, and even if you do recycle the bottle who knows where it will really end up.

Final Word

The pinnacle of human engineering? Perhaps. The Glacaeu Smartwater Bottle can hold its own against any outdoor water bottle on the market, and it costs as much as that candy bar you were going to grab anyway. If you need a water bottle, just buy it.

Where to Buy Glaceau Smartwater Bottle

We know, this is a unique and surprising review, but the reality is it’s an amazing piece of backpacking gear. You probably know what a Smartwater Bottle is and where to get one. In case you don’t, go to almost any gas station, roadside stop with a refrigerated section, or grocery store in the U.S., and you’ll find them. You can also buy in bulk.

A Glaceau Smartwater Bottle typically costs about $1. If you want to buy them in bulk, you can below.

Arthur McMahon

Arthur loves to walk. It's as simple as that. He believes walking is the best way to experience the world. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was his first backpacking foray, and he hasn't stopped since. Follow his adventures and stories on Instagram.

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.

22 responses to “Glaceau Smartwater Bottle Review

  1. Shannasays:

    So sad to read an article advocating for the use of plastic especially from self-proclaimed nature lovers.

    1. Daniel Zweiersays:

      Hi Shanna,

      Thanks for your comment. We totally agree that plastic bottles are a major problem today, especially for nature, and don’t recommend buying them for single use reasons. That said, many of our staff and readers use the Smartwater Bottles as their main water bottle for ultralight backpacking trips, and use it for months on end. Part of our recommendation is that that they are durable and will last a long time, similar to other, more robust (and much heavier) bottles.

      You have a great point, though, in that sometimes lighter products simply don’t last a long time, and therefore need to be bought more often. We do our best to recommend product that balance those two things — weight and durability — for our ultralight community.

      What water bottle do you use for hiking?

    2. Tyler Wsays:

      I’ve used the class Nalgene since my first backpacking trip 29 years ago and was getting ready to switch to SmartWater bottles for all the reasons mentioned.

      Hannah, I’m genuinely curious what you recommend and hoping you will see this. Thanks.

    3. Oh stop! I reuse mine all the time. Be responsible with it is all that is required. When you’re done, toss it in the recycling. Geez!

  2. James Welchsays:

    I think it’s hilarious that every single backpacker gear review will jump on the bandwagon with certain items and then everyone follows it so religiously. Smartwater bottles is just one of said product. Without one mention of the electrolyte boost this could help provide from the initial product, all these reviewers talk about Smartwater bottles like there is no alternative. Are there other inferior water bottles? Sure. Are there alternatives? Absolutely. There is nothing particularly magical about these bottles. They don’t have special threads that will fit your (insert bandwagon filter). They aren’t some kind of special, nonpolluting plastic. Yes they are more durable than SOME others.

    1. Hi James. Thanks for your comment. You make some solid points. The electrolyte content in the initial product is negligible, and there are plenty of alternatives, many of which are better for people with different needs and priorities.

      I, however, have backpacked thousands of miles with Smartwater bottles in my backpack’s side pockets. At the time of this writing, which was several years ago, it was one of the only mainstream supermarket water bottles that could thread securely into a Sawyer Squeeze water filter without leaking. I still use Smatwater bottles for this exact purpose, and their tall and slender shape make them easy to grab from my backpack side mesh pockets.

      It may be a bandwagon product, but the bottle does work exceptionally well as described here. What do you recommend as an alternative?

  3. Luke McDevittsays:

    I see you are an ameture of the world of UL (or were when this was written) because you didnt cut off the little ring for that .2 gram+ weight savings! Na in all seriousness good job lmao

    1. You know what Luke, you’re right! I was so out of my depth when I wrote this review.

      I know better now, though. I take my shaving razor and give the entire bottle a once-over, peeling away its unnecessary Smartwater graphics and outer layer of plastic. Then, I throw away the cap and stick a small patch of plastic wrap on top — just got to be sure not to turn the bottle upside down or drop it. The weight savings are phenomenal!

      Kidding 🙂

  4. Thanks for the water review. I am trying to find a water bottle to help me drink more regularly. I will start looking for a water bottle from a quality supplier.

  5. Dan Eltonsays:

    It’s worth pointing out to readers that most “BPA free” bottles still contain BPA substitutes that are believed to be just as bad. (ie they are environmental estrogens and hormone disrupters). See :

  6. Mattsays:

    Great idea to thread the sawyer squeeze onto the bottle. I hadn’t thought of that. Thx!

  7. How many times can the bottle be used

    1. Depends on how well you take care of it. I had used one daily for about a month at least when hiking the PCT, and I probably refilled it 2 or 3 times a day—and I didn’t even take care of it all that well.

      I never actually had one of these bottles fail on me. If you don’t clean them, though, they’ll eventually grow algae.

  8. Ben Mytonsays:

    I’m surprised and pleased to see that the comments are still active after a couple years.

    1. I want to echo the value of the “tall skinny rigid” design for ease of use in backpack side pockets. I’ve got years of use on the Smart and LifeWTR branded ones with no failures.

    2. Many of the 750mL size ship with a Sport Cap which can be swapped onto the larger bottles. It makes opening and drinking much easier but there are some other hidden benefits that have made it a small game changer for me:

    – The sport cap can be attached to the “clean” end of the Sawyer Squeeze to protect that side from contamination on the trail or when stored loose in your pack. It’s much nicer than the white pull-top that comes on the filter.

    -The sport cap opening size is a perfect fit to press firmly against the “clean” end of the Sawyer filters and allow you to back flush your filter in the field if you get clogged up.

  9. I’ve been looking for an article about Smartwater and I stumble upon this. Thanks for sharing your review.

  10. David Martinsays:

    I bought the smart water (plus bottle) to cut the threads off of it to use with the sawyer filters – it was recommended on a you tube video. In so doing I found out that I really like the water plus the bottle. I needed several of the tops so ended up buying several bottles. Plus I needed the sports cap for the project and also agree that those bottles are easier to use than the bags that come with the sawyer. The last time was in the store -I didn’t see any of the ones with the sports cap. That concerned me and that is why I looked this site up to see what happened to the caps that I need.

  11. Pattysays:

    Dear Smartwater Bottle people,

    I have used these bottles for hydration during choir and solo rehearsals for about as long as they’ve existed. They are the perfect shape for my hand and the lovely cap with blue nozzle is the perfect thing to suck down as much or little at a time as I wish in the middle of a song or a rehearsal. I use them over and over and over again as long as they hold together and don’t grow mold. I have two that I trade out. Lately I’ve been taking them to work and they keep me alive all day this summer (2022)!

    My boss saw me using one the day and said it’s the kind you can’t use over and over again because of the plastic. Could you please speak to that. I do not understand why using it over and over would make it dangerous to my health. If the company has addressed this issue I would dearly like to know.

    Thank you.

  12. I’ve been looking for an article and I stumbled upon this. Thank you for sharing your comments.

  13. Information tentsays:

    The smartwater bottle is definitely not anywhere near the lightesr, cheapest, or most efficient bottle available. DO YOUR RESEARCH SHEEPLE! Walmart Great Value flavored water bottle is cheaper, lighter, the label doesn’t leave an annoying after film when removed, AND it comes with Flavored water. Because it has a fatter diameter it takes fewer squeezes to filter each liter costing you less effort which translates to fewer calories used requiring you to carry less food which lets you carry less weight further saving you more wated energy and increasing your speed and mileage. The lowly Smartwater bottle offers none of these benefirs. I suspect this “review” is probably a plant by rhe manufacturer to reinforce the propaganda campaign they’ve been subliminally forcing on the public possibly costing innocent lives.

  14. Water is great , the bottle is garbage , too soft and spills 99.9 of the time when opening one… will always always spill, BCS is way way to soft and when u press it just a little as u are opening the bottle…it spills !!!

  15. CU88says:

    Any suggestions for replacement sports caps? I was gifted a bottle with an after market flip/sports cap and would like to add another bottle with the same style cap to my hiking gear.

    I also use a slightly larger bottle, with the top 1/3 cut off as a “holster” in my chest strap pocket. This allows the smart water bottle to slide in and out much easier. Plus when I am hiking I can use that cut bottle as a water scoop for thos times when the trail water source is a shallow puddle/stream.

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