Updated: Mar 22
Three of our KKs in use at a refill station on holiday. Photo Credit – Sweet Silver Linings
For years I have bought different reusable mugs and water bottles. I’ve never been impressed with any of them, till now.
They leak, they break, they smell funny, they go cold too quickly or don’t keep cold drinks fresh enough, they make annoying noises.
A reusable mug/bottle is a great way to protect the environment but if you are replacing them regularly, it sort of defeats the purpose. Furthermore, just because they are reusable, that doesn’t mean they have been made responsibly.
How are we meant to know we are buying from a good brand?
You can’t really, not until you start actually researching companies and businesses. I had heard of Klean Kanteen from shopping at Babi Pur but I must say I was bit put off by the price. I started to look into them, because a lot of people seemed to really love their products.
Klean Kanteen are wholesome family run business, who released the first BPA free stainless steel reusable bottle in the US back in 2004 when they discovered a bit of a niche in the market. They have very high ethical standards, and an extremely caring attitude. As a company, they love to give back to their local community and invest in the environment.
They create durable, sustainable products that also look beautiful. There bottles come with interchangeable lids, meaning you can reduce the amount of bottles you need to buy. They use stainless steel, food-grade silicone and BPA-free polypropylene. On top of this, their environmentally friendly, innovative products can keep cold drinks cold for up to 100 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 30 hours (product depending, please read the specifications for each individual product before buying). They also don’t push their full bottles on you, but rather suggest that you buy replacement parts/repair kits to make your products last longer, as well as instructing the proper care so that they don’t break/stop working. It’s certainly not all about the money here.
In short, they care about their employees, they care about the environment and they care about their products.
Okay, so the company sounds great, but are their products really that good?
Once I discovered Klean Kanteen, I knew there was no going back. I like to have water to drink (I mean, I love a gin, but generally speaking I am not a pop/juice drinker) and I like to just have a big bottle that I sip at throughout the day. I also like a sports cap, and no one wants one that leaks, do they? I like one that’s straight forward to open and close, and that doesn’t make a lot of noise, because I tend to take it up to bed with me too (as a mother that has just stopped expressing, this has been crucial because breastfeeding makes you thirsty!) I was gifted my first KK as a mother’s day present the first year I got to celebrate that with my own child. It’s the classic 27oz stainless steel non-insulated bottle. Why is it non-insulated? Because I don’t like icy cold water, and that’s why I like to have a big bottle that I just sip on. Even though it’s non-insulated though, it DOES keep the water cool and fresh all day long. It ticks all of the boxes for my water drinking, reusable bottle requirements.
What’s more it really is hard wearing. I’m clumsy, I drop things a lot. This baby has rolled down my drive way when I’ve gotten out of the car, and I dropped it in the loos in Kings Cross Station once, and whilst it did get a little dinked up, it did not break and the damage is minimal.
We now have 6 in our household, and I’ve gifted them to friends and family as well.
We have two of the stainless steel bottles (one with the sports cap, and one with loop cap), two insulated bottles and two kid kanteens.
I’ve spoken about the stainless steel non-insulated bottle, so let’s talk about the insulated ones…
We’ve each got a product that I can’t find on their website, or on Babi Pur (which is where we actually buy ours from), so I presume they have changed the way they sell them. We have a 12oz Insulated Wide with a cafe cap, which is a bit like their limited edition Union Jack bottle, only without the Union Jack. They do have the bottles, but not with the cafe caps, however you can buy those separately. I would definitely recommend a cafe cap if you like to drink tea/coffee on the go.
The climate lock on these bottles are meant to keep drinks hot for up to 11 hours and cold for up to 38 hours. Impressive, no? Now I haven’t had a cold drink in either of them for this long, however I did, over the summer occasionally pop a gin with some ice in mine, and in the heat of the summer, it stayed very cold. The ice did melt quicker than I expected but this will be because I took the lid off, and added a straw (metal of course). We can both vouch for them keeping our drinks hot though! I don’t usually keep a hold of a hot drink for long enough, I like to drink them when they are hot, however when I was in hospital having my second baby, I was very much trying to keep calm (hypnobirthing, with high levels of anxiety in a stressful situation) and I was in the hospital for a couple of days waiting for my labor to start. My husband would bring me my KK with fresh chamomile and apple tea in, leave it with me all day and overnight, then take it back the next day at around lunch time to refill it for me. It never went cold. I’ve even attempted a little experiment today, which in all honesty didn’t work, because my thermometer didn’t work properly. I attempted to record the temperature of tea in it throughout the day. I did manage to get a few steamy photos, but they really weren’t that spectacular so you will just have to take my word that they really do stay hot ALL DAY LONG. They also don’t leak. They have a very cleverly designed lid, and you did have to learn how to put it together properly when you take them apart to wash them, but honestly you can tip it upside down and not a drop will fall out – just make sure you have the cap closed properly before you do the leak test!
Finally, the Kid Kanteens. Our toddler only drinks water so it stays cool for him, and because it doesn’t leak, it’s so easy to pop it in his bag without worrying. He likes to “drop” it sometimes, and again while it is dinked, the design on it has remained pretty much in tact, and the function is still perfect. It comes with the sippy cap, so it’s super easy for him to just pick up and drink from. We do have a sports cap to switch it to one day, and he does like to drink out of mine, but when I put it on his bottle, he decided he didn’t want to use it so we switched back! Our little girl isn’t ready for hers yet but it is going to be a gift from Santa for her first Christmas!
Okay, the products sound fab, but is it really important to buy from a company like this one, when I can get a bottle for a lot less from the supermarket?
Yes, it really is. We are in the midst of a climate crisis, and while it appears that every company is doing something to help, they aren’t. They often have environmental products made cheaply, unethically and using materials that are damaging to the environment either by making those materials, or by sourcing them. They are often cheaply made, meaning they don’t last, they leak or they break and they end up in the bin, or you may try to recycle them but even if you do that there’s no guarantee that they are going to the right place. There is no accountability, they often have low ethical standards, and by using green washing techniques, they are actually causing more damage to the environment.
This is not always the case, it is just often the case. One thing I’ve learned recently in our journey to live a sustainable life is that sustainable products often cost more not just because they are a higher quality but so that the people involved in making them can be paid fairly, and so that investments can be made in protecting the environment.
I recommend this brand every time someone mentions wanting a reusable cup or bottle, and I buy them for friends and family as gifts. I am really looking forward to trying some of their other products when the opportunity arises. I am impressed with ethics of the company, and the overall quality of the products! I give them a 10/10!