Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Made in the USA" Gear Review: Liberty Bottleworks 32 ounce Aluminum Water Bottles


Yakima, Washington-based Liberty Bottleworks is quite proud of the fact that not only are their bottles made in the USA, but so is the machinery that makes them. Liberty also touts itself as a "green" company, using 100% recyclable materials to construct their bottles. In addition, Liberty prides themselves on being "financial stewards, with a percentage of every bottle sold helping organizations and people in need." If you ask me, that sounds like an awesome company philosophy.

The SPECS:

  • Made in the United States from 100% recycled aluminum; all materials used are 100% BPA free
  • Screw cap is made with food-grade polypropylene; O-ring helps prevents leaks and is made with food-grade silicone
  • Food-grade polyester powder coating on the inside of the bottle is BPA free
  • Available in 24 fl. oz or 32 fl. oz sizes
  • Deep Drawn Aluminum Construction for greater durability
  • Flexible Food Grade Coatings ensure no chips or flakes. Coating also insures  no heavy metal leaching and no porous surface for bacteria to build up on.
  • 1/4 turn on/off design (patent pending)
  • Splash free drinking- Gradually tapered neck mimics the smooth pour of a wine bottle.
  • Weight- 6.4 ounces (as measured on a digital postal scale)

A couple of months ago, Liberty sent us some of their 32 ounce "Straight Up" water bottles to test for our upcoming "Made in the USA" wilderness gear article. What's different about these bottles is their "1/4 Turn" on/off cap design. Having only used traditional screw cap-design water bottles in the past, I wasn't sure how this newer design would hold up in the field. A "1/4" turn on/off just didn't sound very secure to me.

Close-up of the cap:

(click to enlarge)

Field Testing

To test the bottles (and especially the cap design), all three of us used them under a wide variety of conditions over the last couple of months, including tossing them in our cars and letting them roll around freely, taking them into the backcountry on hiking trips, and dropping them on ground several times. We are happy to report that no problems with the cap or leakage occurred.

In fact, the cap design grew on us, to the point where screw caps on other brand's bottles became slightly inconvenient after using the Liberty bottles. Another plus is that the bottles weigh no more than a standard 32 ounce plastic Nalgene bottle, so they're light as well. We also enjoyed drinking from the smooth, tapered neck as shown on the photo below.


Editors note:
    Leah here, I used my Liberty Bottle under different conditions than Jason and Dave... I live in the city, and used my Liberty bottle to take water with me to work.  I was especially impressed with the 1/4 turn cap.  No matter what kind of bottle I've tried before, I've always had problems with leaks.  It didn't matter, plastic, metal, souvenir, whatever - they always leaked!  But not the Liberty.  It was so nice to be able to carry it and not worry about getting my papers etc. wet.  The only problem for city use was that the bottle does not fit comfortably into the drink holders in my car.  In fact when I took the bottle out, the holder actually came out of the car with it!  But that's a minor issue and the Liberty will be my new liquid carrier on the way to work or fun!

Summary


Liberty water bottles are environmentally friendly, completely different and extremely useful. Like many bushcrafters, the environment is important to us, so the Liberty Bottles get an A+ for their use of recycled materials. We were also delighted with the innovative and easy to use 1/4 turn cap which we felt set a new standard for backpacking gear.

The bottle's aluminum construction makes it versatile enough to be used in emergency situations to melt snow for water. One negative to the 1/4 turn cap is that the mouth of the bottle doesn't have threads and so it isn't compatible with most portable water purifiers. However, this is easily overcome by using a rubber tube to fill the bottle.

So if you're looking for a light weight yet versatile backpacking companion, the Liberty Bottle is a great choice.

For more information or to purchase Liberty Bottles, visit http://www.libertybottles.com

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

11 comments:

  1. How did the "flexible food grade coating" hold up to using the bottle to 'melt snow'? Was that on a fuel stove or a campfire? Can't imagine that coating would hold up to use in a fire which is one of the primary draws of the metal bottles.

    Did you test it over flame?

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  2. not a fan i dropped the bottle and it dented cracking the coating. i'll stick with SS

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    1. they have a full warranty on their bottles and have created a new dome that doesn't pop out when dropped.

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  3. A nice aluminum bottle to be sure. Surprised to see it taken seriously on a bushcraft blog though . . . for the same reason mentioned above by the "Grouch". What gives?

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    1. Lucy,

      The Liberty Bottles were part of a list of American made gear we compiled to test and review. They certainly wouldn't be our first choice for winter backpacking (stainless would be the first choice), but for the rest of the year we see no reason why they wouldn't serve well as a simple water bottle.

      -Jason

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  4. I drop my Liberty Bottle all the time and it has dented a little but the enamel is intact. -Christina M, Portland, OR

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    1. Thanks for the comment Christina. Always good to hear other folks' experiences.

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  5. Thanks for the review. It's nice to have options when it comes to bottles.

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    1. Thanks Cattledog. This review seems to have elicited some strong opinions for a water bottle! :)

      -Jason

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  6. safest bottles on the market for YOU and the ENVIRONMENT!

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