Water bottles on the trail…Whether we like them or not, plastic water bottles are great for hiking. They are light, they are durable, and they are easily found. Not to mention cheap.
Amongst the leaders in trail hiking water bottle technologies is (drum roll please) … Smartwater! The Smartwater bottle has all the perks listed above, but those of at OutdoorFoodLab have found yet another use for this versatile trail tool.
Let’s travel back a few years. I was in my late 20’s and newly recovered from a debilitating neck injury I received in Iraq. I was just starting to get serious about hiking, and still eating carbs. Four friends and I had just received our permit to thru hike the Grand Canyon. We were hiking over a 4-day period during the summer when temperatures regularly exceed 100*F. Well versed in hydration from my time in the military, I knew electrolyte intake would be of the utmost importance in order to prevent hyponatremia.
I was extremely concerned that some of my friends who had never been on anything more strenuous than a day hike wouldn’t take my warnings seriously. Sure enough, the evening before our hike, every one of them had neglected to pack any form of drinkable electrolytes.
Luckily for us, The Grand Canyon North Rim General Store had an answer. In the form of an extremely large, unwieldy, and pack fragile 50 oz cardboard can of Gatorade.
I knew from experience that this type of stiff paper canister would be smashed in no time, coating everything in my pack with sticky orange powder. Adding to that, I had experienced trying to scoop and pour powder into a water bottle… Not fun, and I usually ended up wasting a good bit on the ground, which isn’t a great practice while hiking. Desperate and scanning the entirety of the six isles that comprised the general store, I found what I was looking for.
A six pack of 16.9 fl oz Smartwater, bottles included.
Shortly after drinking the water, drying out our bottles, and improvising a makeshift funnel…. We were ready to go. We managed to get the powdered Gatorade into our storage bottles. Pouring it into our water bottle still proved a challenge though. Enter our future Editor in Chief, Zach Thorp. Without saying a word, he swaps out the Sports Cap on his 23.7 fl oz Smartwater bottle for the traditional cap on the 16.9 fl oz bottle, and VIOLA! That narrow little opening in the Sports Cap fit and funneled the powdered Gatorade right into whatever water bottle we were drinking from. It was perfect, the entire crew used this method. Over time it has spread out to many of our hiking friends throughout the community.
Ever since that defining point in hiking history, we at OutdoorFoodLab have been using the Smartwater bottle and Sport Cap storage technique for all of our dry powdered storage and dispersal needs. We use it for Gatorade, ketorade mixes, and most importantly, powdered oil. This simple combination keeps out food stuffs safe, our pack clean, and makes serving simple as can be.