Essential Tools

Trust Me—Giant Water Bottles Live Up to the Hype

And I've got plenty.

January  6, 2022
Photo by James Ransom

The new year is here, but I am the same me, which means that I’m probably definitely dehydrated. There’s so much iced coffee to drink! Why would I bother with water? But in 2022, I am finally allowing my parched organs to be quenched because I have secured a series of giant—no, positively gargantuan—water bottles.

I blame my brother for my fixation on an increasingly large water bottle. It’s not news that they’re popular—Jonah Hill was an early adopter in 2018 when he hauled around a 64-ounce Hydro Flask (which is four years ago in real time but about two decades in pandemic era time). Since then, there’s been a rash of large water bottles on the scene, including giant jugs that have inspirational sayings at each ounce mark to encourage you to get your H2O in from morning until evening. But none of them really appealed to me until I spent the Fourth of July with my brother, when he lugged around a half gallon of water everywhere.

Photo by Julia Gartland

My brother lives in Texas, where hydrating is extra important. His water bottle came from the Texas supermarket chain HEB where he works, a camo green one that looked like it could be run over by a tank and still not leak a drop. Its aesthetics screamed “TACTICAL HYDRATION.” But I tell you what: During our entire beach vacation, my brother never once ran out of water. I was…intrigued.

I wanted something just as large but a little more appropriate to my life in New York—something that I wouldn’t mind hauling around in a bag. So I went for a 40-ounce bottle from S’well, a leader in water bottle aesthetics for millennials. I naturally got mine in gold (but it's unfortunately out of stock right now), and it was the correct size for carrying a lot of water in a tote bag or backpack without lugging around all the weight of a larger bottle. But since we’re in a pandemic and I’m fortunate enough to work from home, I found that sitting at my desk, I was still refilling it a lot. I needed something that I could fill up with ice water in the morning and still have on my desk in the afternoon without making multiple trips to refill it.

Photo by S'well

This took on more urgency when I moved into a house with my office on the third floor and the kitchen on the first. It’s not that far, but when you’re in the groove at work, you don’t want to have to stop and hydrate. Plus, winter is here, the air is dry, radiators are working overtime, and drinking water feels like an easy way to make sure my organs don’t shrivel up like so many large-format raisins.

I wanted something that was a half gallon, or maybe even a full gallon. I ruled out the inspirational quote jugs—I prefer my objects not to shame me—and settled on another S’well, this one a 64-ounce Roamer in a faux-wood pattern. It’s short and squat, but the mouth opening is still small enough that I don’t accidentally slosh ice water all over myself every time I drink it. It’s amazing, and I’ve nicknamed it “The Canyonero” after the vehicle Homer designed in The Simpsons.

Not me, but I can dream. Photo by YETI

But was it enough? Of course not. For times when I was truly lazy and truly parched (and there were many), I also bought the full gallon-sized Yeti in a sensible chrome color. Filled all the way, that sucker keeps my water cold all day, and once, I left it alone for 48 hours and still found ice in it. It's extremely heavy when full, so it’s not something I’d want to lug around on the subway, but it’s great for a small arm workout bringing it up to my desk, and usually large enough that I don’t have to refill it more than once a day. Usually.

I don’t know what the next level is. Maybe it’s one of those commercial water coolers for offices just so I can dispense water directly into my mouth. Or it’s just a baby pool with a straw. Or water bottles get even bigger. Whatever it is, I’ll be there for it.

What's your go-to water bottle? Tell us in the comments below!

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Margaret Eby

Written by: Margaret Eby

Editorial Lead of Food, Food52