A couple of weeks ago I blogged about tapwater.org and the fact that they were trying to encourage people to ditch single use plastic water bottles in favour of reusable bottles. I thought, feel, that this is a very worthy campaign – while the plastic bottles you get mineral water in are generally recycled/recyclable, we and our world are much better off drinking water from a tap (or filter jug) from our own reusable bottle.
Following that post tapwater.org got in touch and sent me one of their lifebottles – as I’d said in my post that I liked the look of them. Much appreciated!
Design wise this is a lovely item. The stainless steel has a lovely shape and (pink coating aside; I don’t generally “do” pink… but obviously I’m happy as I was sent this for free!) looks great. Don’t you think it has a nice shape? It has a satisfying weight to it from the metal, but it’s not overly heavy when empty – although definitely heavier than a plastic version would be.
The stainless steel makes this a very hygienic product. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t flavour the water with that taste you can sometimes get from reusing plastic bottles. The shape of the top is great too – no sharp bits. They call it the “kissable top” – it’s rounded and is, I agree, a joy to drink from. It’s actually got quite a wide neck when you compare it to other drinks bottles, but I don’t mind that and find this easy and very pleasant to use. Mine does now have a few black bits around the top, I’m not sure if that is transfer from the lid or where the coating is scrubbing off, but it’s still smooth to drink from.
Unfortunately the fact you have to remove the screw cap to drink from it means it’s not suitable for cyclists or runners wanting a bottle they can use on the go – it is too much of a faff for that. It’s probably too heavy to be lugging about when you’re exercising anyway. But this is lovely for everyday use, taking out and about, using on picnics or on days out in the city, keeping on a desk or in the car, for example. Mine fits neatly in the bottle holder on the side of my bag, and sits neatly in the cup holder in my car.
The ice stick is a really great idea – I put it in my freezer overnight and it helped keep my water properly cold all the following day. I love the way it screws into the top of the lifebottle, really neat. But the problem with the design here is that to drink from the bottle you have to take the cap off, which has the freezer stick attached. This means that you have a cold, dripping thing to take out of your water while you drink. Not only does this cause a leakage problem over your hands, top, trousers, table, floor etc, but it also means drinking from this bottle in a meeting or other similar scenario is not discrete. I mean, the tap of the ice stick on the bottle as you so very carefully remove the cap gives a nice tuneful ting which draws plenty of attention. I have to be honest – my metal bottle is capable of keeping my water cold enough without the addition of the ice stick for most occasions, so I have tended to leave it at home and use the lifebottle without. Shame, as it’s a really neat idea the way it screws firmly into the lid.
The other feature of the lid on the lifebottle is the little compartment designed to carry a handful of taptabs. These are discs of flavour that you can put into your water – like solid cordial I guess. You can get about 5/6 tabs inside the cap, and each one is good for one bottle of water. Another really great idea. Lifebottle sent me some orange and some sea buckthorn taptabs, and there are a number of other flavours to choose from too. Sea Buckthorn – what exactly is that then? I’m not sure – a berry of some sort known to be quite acidic and not very sweet. It tastes ok, kind of like pineapple, a bit tropical. The orange, obviously more self-explanatory, was nice. Because they dissolve you are left with water that has a very slightly fizzy texture, not like cordial more like lightly sparkling water without the bubbles. You need one tab for a glass of water, and they take a little while to dissolve properly, so be patient. That compartment in the lid of the lifebottle is watertight so you could use it for money or something else if you wanted to.
The whole point of these bottles is to prevent the need to keep buying bottled water when out and about. I work in an office where I have access to a kitchen and also water filling stations, so filling mine up on a normal day isn’t a problem. Apart from that the only official tapwater.org refilling station where I live is in Lush – so naturally I went in to fill mine up just to check I could. It was, of course, not a problem. They were very happy and cheerful and ran the tap to make sure the water was cold… I was too chicken to ask them to take my photo filling up the bottle though!
I really like my lifebottle, I’m certainly not disappointed – it looks as good in real life as in the pictures on the website, and is lovely to drink from. Having a stainless steel drinking bottle is kind of a luxury. The ice stick is a great idea but doesn’t really work in practice due to having to remove it to drink, and the taptabs are a nice extra if you like some additional flavour to your water.
The lifebottle isn’t cheap – £12 for the 350ml one I have from tapwater.org direct – but if you buy bottled water regularly then this will pay for itself very quickly.