Last Updated on 27/08/2023
Guide to the Best Bushcraft Water Bottles
The best bushcraft water bottle and survival canteens are single-walled designs made from titanium or steel. This will allow you to boil water on a fire without damaging your canteen and is the most reliable way to carry water.
In this guide to bushcraft canteens, we will share our thoughts on why we switched from steel to titanium and which are the best bushcraft water bottles available today. We share our favorite brands and bottle shapes as well as what to look for when buying one. You will also learn why you shouldn’t boil water in plastic unless you are in a real survival situation and which designs work best.
Water is always a priority when you are practicing bushcraft and so having a reliable container you can transport water in is a necessity. The benefit of metal bushcraft canteens and military-style water bottles made from steel is that you always have the means to boil and purify water. When you are on your own in the woods, miles away from civilization, this can be potentially life-saving if you don’t have a water filter.
A bushcraft bottle is a great gift idea for any bushcraft enthusiast and is something that should last a long time. For our buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions about bushcraft water bottles, please read past our reviews further down the page.
6 Best Water Bottles for Bushcraft
Important Tips for Bushcraft Water Bottles
Boiling water over a fire in a water bottle has its dangers, and if you are not careful, you could end up with a nasty burn or, worse, an exploding metal container. To avoid this, there are some important safety tips to follow which will also prolong the life of your canteen.
- Never let a metal canteen freeze when full of water
- Never boil water with the lid on
- Avoid putting your metal bottle directly onto red hot embers as these can sometimes be hot enough to melt steel
- Never boil water in a double-walled or insulated water bottle
- Be very careful when handling boiling water. It can cause very nasty burns
Best Bushcraft Bottles for Water
Vargo Titanium BOT Bottle Pot
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- CAPACITY: 34 oz / 1,000 ml
- WEIGHT: 4.8 oz / 136 g
The Vargo Titanium BOT Bottle Pot is by far the best bushcraft water bottle we have tested and is more of a pot with a watertight lid than a bottle, but we love it nonetheless. The wide-open top makes this perfect for camping and wild living because not only can it boil water, but it can be used as a cup, cooking pot, and storage container when not in use. If you want a water container or cooking pot with a lid that will last a lifetime, this is the one to get.
If your goal is to save weight without compromising durability, then the Vargo BOT is a win-win. Not only do you save weight on your cooking pot, but you also get an airtight jar and water container that can replace a heavier steel water bottle. There is a measuring scale on the side, which comes in super handy when you are cooking dehydrated or freeze-dried food that needs a specific amount of water. Having an open to also helps to keep the inside clean.
The lid has a removable o-ring seal which allows you to use it as a mini frying pan (will fit one egg), or when flipped over, it sits neatly on top of the pot to double as a cooking lid to speed up boiling time.
VERDICT: Overall I would say this little airtight cooking pot is the clear winner on this list. It can do everything a standard water bottle can as well as so much more. This is the kind of bushcraft item you will use on a daily basis, if not hourly, and so paying a little bit more for titanium makes sense if you can afford it.
Vargo EDC Bottle Titanium 1L
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- CAPACITY: 34 oz / 1,000 ml
- WEIGHT: 8.1 oz / 232 g
The Vargo EDC Bottle is our number 2 rated bushcraft water bottle suitable for all outdoor activities and capable of boiling water as well as keeping it cool. The wide mouth makes it easy to fill and drink from as well as to check the water level inside. The durable titanium casing is thicker than others which means it will last longer and withstand more abrasions, as well as being more effective for boiling water.
Designed for everyday use as well as for bushcraft and survival, this water bottle really lives up to its name the EDC (everyday carry). It is made from pure grade titanium which, according to Vargo, is “completely biocompatible so it won’t leach any nasty chemicals, corrode, or impart any funky flavors into your water”. So even if you are boiling water over a fire, you will have pure drinking water after 5-10 minutes of boiling.
The lid is easy to remove in cold weather and features a food-grade silicone o-ring which provides a 100% leakproof seal.
VERDICT: The one thing this water bottle for bushcraft doesn’t have is a loop on top which makes clipping it to the outside of your backpack a little more tricky. Apart from that, the Vargo EDC bottle is the most well-made bushcraft bottle for water on this list, and we highly recommend it.
Boundless Voyage Titanium Military Canteen
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- CAPACITY: 37 oz / 1,100 ml
- WEIGHT: 5.64 oz / 160 g
The Boundless Voyage Titanium Military Canteen is based on the water bottle design used by military forces around the world. It is shaped like a hip flask, so it can be worn on a tactical belt and sits snugly by your side in the fabric carry case. At just 160 grams, this is one of the lightest bushcraft canteens with over 1-liter capacity on the market.
Made from 99.8% titanium that is approximately 0.5 mm thick, which is more than enough to ensure you can use this to boil water without fear of it melting through. It is totally rustproof, scratch-resistant, and biocompatible, which means it doesn’t react to heat and so doesn’t leech any nasty chemicals or tastes into your water. The carry case can be wet on hot days to help cool down the water inside, which already stays surprisingly cool.
VERDICT: This has got to be the best bushcraft water bottle canteen we have tested, and it does everything you need it to and more. The shape of the base makes this more stable than thinner/taller bushcraft water bottles when placed on a fire or camping stove, which makes it safer. Whether you like military canteens or not, you can’t deny that this is an incredibly well-designed piece of kit that will save you a lot of weight when hiking.
Nalgene Stainless Bottle 38 oz
- MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
- CAPACITY: 38 oz / 1,124 ml
- WEIGHT: 13 oz / 368 g
The Nalgene Stainless Bottle is a cheap bushcraft water bottle that is actually way better than we thought it would be. The stainless steel is the perfect thickness to provide amazing durability while still being incredibly lightweight. Considering how cheap it is, this is a great option for bushcrafters on a budget who want something they can transport and boil water in.
The super-wide opening is a big benefit in many different ways and is something we would like to see on more metal water bottles. It is single-walled and uninsulated, which makes it safe to use over a fire, although you should always be cautious doing this if the fire is extra hot. The plastic top is removable and attached by a small rope which makes it very versatile and very easy to replace, unlike weak plastic joints.
If you own any other Nalgene water bottles, then you will be pleased to know that this features the same 63 mm wide opening with the same thread pattern so you can interchange tops.
VERDICT: Considering that this bottle is less than half the price of most titanium bottles and similar in weight, it seems like a great buy and well worth the money. At just over 1 liter capacity, this is a very handy water container for bushcraft, camping, and hiking that I highly recommend.
Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle
- MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
- CAPACITY: 64 oz / 1,892 ml
- WEIGHT: 13.2 oz / 374 g
The Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Stainless Steel Water Bottle is a very popular single-wall metal water bottle which can be used to boil water in a bushcraft scenario. It is super lightweight at under 14 ounces and holds a massive 64 oz of water which is the biggest capacity on this list and means you can boil more water in one go. The mouth is wider than a standard water bottle which makes it easier to fill, keep clean and use as a pot for boiling water.
Made from 18/8 stainless steel, which is food grade and very safe to cook with, as well as being extra tough, which is ideal for outdoor use. The lid is made from BPA-free polypropylene with a stainless steel bottom which means that your water never even touches the plastic and so will not leech into your drinking water. There is a handy loop to attach the bottle to the outside of your bushcraft bag, which also helps you open the top with minimal effort.
You can also get a smaller 27 oz bottle if you like the Klean Kanteen brand and want something a little smaller. They do also come with a lifetime ‘strong as steel’ warranty which shows how much they believe in their product.
VERDICT: I slightly prefer the Nalgene bottle above just because it feels a little more heavy-duty, but the benefit of the Klean Kanteen is that it will hold and boil more water. So for a large bushcraft water bottle, this is the best around and is a very reliable way to store and carry your water.
TRIPLE TREE 34 Oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle
- MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
- CAPACITY: 34 oz / 1,000 ml
- WEIGHT: 33.6 oz / 952 g
The TRIPLE TREE 34 Oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle is a heavy-duty metal bottle for bushcraft, hiking, camping, and cycling is ruggedly designed for long-term use. It is available in 3 sizes and also with the option of being insulated or single-walled. Because we may need to use this at some point to boil water, I would always opt for the uninsulated so that this would be possible.
At just under a kilogram for the largest size of 1 liter, this is by far the heaviest metal canteen for bushcraft I would recommend, but it is built to be indestructible and comes with a lifetime warranty. You can easily use it to boil water and cook food without worry, which you need from a reliable bushcraft canteen.
VERDICT: The only time I would use the uninsulated Triple Tree 34 Oz steel bottle is if I were going camping for a couple of weeks or months and needed something that I wouldn’t have to worry about overcooking in a campfire. Otherwise, I just find this to be too much weight for its worth. Still, a great canteen and not to be overlooked.
What to Look for In a Bushcraft Water Bottle
Bushcraft water bottles can have over a dozen different uses ranging from cooking and boiling water to storing supplies or using them as a weapon. They are designed to be taken anywhere, and if your bottle doesn’t have an attachment point, you can make your own out of paracord. Here are some of the features to look out for in a tough water bottle for bushcraft:
You may be wondering, out of stainless steel vs titanium vs plastic, which is best? Here is a rough guide to the differentiating qualities each material has:
Steel is strong, good value, resistant to heat, and relatively lightweight. Stainless steel is resistant to rust and corrosion too, which makes it a great material to cook with or boil water in. Steel water bottles for bushcraft offer the best value but weigh more than titanium.
Titanium is also very strong, super resistant to heat, incredibly lightweight, resistant to rust, and will not taint your drinking water with taste or chemicals. You can boil water at lightning speeds thanks to titanium’s heat-transferring qualities and also keep water cooler for longer on hot days. The big downside to titanium is that it is at least double the cost of steel, if not a lot more.
Plastic water bottles have the benefit of being lightweight and the most affordable, but they are not the best for bushcraft activities and cannot be used to boil water. I like to carry the bulk of my water in a plastic bottle as well as take a titanium flask to boil water in if I need to.
The best bushcraft water bottles are specifically uninsulated and single-wall only, which is the only type of bottle you can use to boil water in. Double-walled or insulated water bottles have a small void between the layers which cannot withstand heat and will severely damage your bottle if tried. The walls should be at the very minimum 0.3ml thick so that they can withstand the heat of a fire or gas camping stove. The thicker the walls are, the more durable your container will be, but thicker walls also equal extra weight.
I personally like the material of the lid to match the rest of the container, but I don’t mind a rigid plastic if it saves a decent amount of weight. Another feature I want to see from the lid of a bushcraft bottle is an attachment loop to strap it to the outside of my bag. The last feature I look for is a lip at the top of the bottle that allows you to wrap a piece of wire around it to suspend it above a fire. You should never boil water with the lid on, so using this method is the safest way.
When it comes to carrying all of your bushcraft and camping gear for miles into the wilderness, the aim is to try and keep your pack weight as low as possible. Stainless steel is a fairly heavy material, and if too much of your gear is made from it, then your pack weight can increase exponentially. Titanium is an incredibly lightweight material that is perfect for water containers where you can also boil water in. It is almost as lightweight as plastic but at least ten times more durable. If you want to save weight, go with titanium. If you want to save money, get plastic or steel.
Size and Shape
You can get water bottles in all shapes and sizes, but the traditional military-style canteen proves to be the better shape for balance and stability. I like my water bottles to be at least 1 liter so that I can balance my pack with one on each side, but there are lots of options in terms of capacity. I highly recommend getting a bottle with a wide opening, which makes it easier to fill, clean, and see into when boiling water. As well as my metal canteen, I also use a hydration reservoir for drinking on the go and storing clean water once boiled.
In terms of value, plastic is by far the cheapest. This is ok if you are just away for a weekend camping trip or for going to the gym as if it breaks, you can replace it quite easily. The problem is that in a bushcraft or survival situation, you need to be able to rely on all of your gear and so a metal container makes much more sense. Stainless steel is the better value option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and are not so bothered about a couple of hundred extra grams. Titanium isn’t great value, but if you can afford it, it is well worth the cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions we get asked when people see us using an outdoor water bottle over the fire:
Can You Boil Water in Plastic?
Yes, you can boil water in a plastic water bottle if you keep it far enough away from the flames so that it doesn’t melt. This will only work a handful of times before the plastic is compromised, but in a survival situation, it can be done. It should be stated that I do not recommend doing this, as toxic chemicals will be released from the plastic into your water. This will make it taste bad and is definitely not good for you in the long run.
Is It Safe to Boil Water in Aluminum?
Aluminum is a very safe material to boil water in so long as it is thick enough to withstand the heat of a fire or camping stove. You can even boil water in an aluminum can once or twice before it burns through. Many lightweight camping pots are made from a type of aluminum, so you rest assured it is safe to boil water in.
Is It Bad to Leave Water in A Water Bottle?
You might be wondering how long does water last in a metal bottle or if it is safe to drink old water? The answer depends on the material of the bottle. Chemicals will ultimately contaminate water stored in a plastic bottle in the plastic, so pure water is safe to store for just a couple of weeks. Stainless steel containers will store clean water for several weeks before they should be replaced. Water stored in titanium containers will last up to 6 months and longer in the correct conditions, but if in any doubt, throw it out.
Why Do Backpackers Use Smart Water Bottles?
Hikers and backpackers like to use smart water bottles as an inexpensive way to carry water because of the shape and design of the bottle. The shape lends itself very well to fitting in the side pockets of backpacks so that you can reach around and take it out without having to take your bag off. They are long and slender, which means you can fit one or two on each side to balance the weight of your pack.
What Is a Good Size Water Bottle for Bushcraft?
I personally like to carry between 1-3 liters of water on most camping and bushcraft trips which means I often take a titanium bottle as well as a plastic bottle. This allows me to stay lightweight but still have the means to boil water if I need to. For this reason, I find a 1-liter water bottle is ideal for bushcraft and camping.
I hope you have found this guide to the best bushcraft water bottles helpful and stick around to read more outdoor gear content.