Saturday, 12 June 2010


Back to more adult matters. You may have picked up on the fact that I like the odd drink. Ideally on the hill I would always have a beer. It's a more relaxing drink and you can sip it and look at the view. The cans bust down to nothing and weigh less, so I'll often take a couple for the first night of a camp. They do weigh a lot when they're full though. I remember taking a trip early in my hiking career where I took 12 cans of beer plus all my water for an overnight. I quickly realised that I needed to reduce weight quickly and by the time I came to camp I was in a bit of a state. The clear winner on the weight front is spirits. Whisky is my drink of choice- the taste chimes nicely with the scents and atmosphere of the hills. I've been through a few methods for carrying. Weight wise, a 250ml coke bottle in plastic would win, but it seems like a bit of an insult to carry something so old in something so trashy-it's the same with wine, you don't want to drink a nice wine out of a disposable plastic cup.

I started off with the usual hip flask. This was given to me for my 21st. It's pretty much useless for camping trips. It only carries 75ml and weighs a backbreaking 144 grams. The opening is really small, you have to wait an aeon to get a decent mouthful. I keep it for weddings where carrying any more volume would be lethal.
The Sigg is my emotional favourite. It holds 300ml and only weighs 77 grams. When I bought it and Steph found out I'd spent ten pounds on something 'only to carry whisky!' she was a bit shocked. In actual fact, the quality of the Sigg means I would pay more. The finish is really nice, the mouth feel is good. I like staring into the redness after a few swigs...When I dug it out to weigh it for this post I felt a real nostalgia for it. I stopped carrying it for a few reasons. First off, there is a tendency for the whisky to gather in the grooves in the stopper. As well as the thread, there are a couple of side grooves. As the whisky dried, it left brown gunk that was hard to clean off. Secondly, I began to get concerned about whisky damaging the lining. No reason for this, just me being paranoid but I don't want bits of Sigg lining floating about in my whisky. Thirdly, I got the nalgene.

The Nalgene weighs 55 grams. 20 grams less than the Sigg. Although it is advertised as carrying 300ml, you can squeeze a fair bit more in if you fill it up right to the rim. The shape of it fits into a pack or a pocket better than the Sigg and while it is not as beautiful as the Sigg, it has a nice taper that makes it aesthetically pleasing-you don't feel like you're drinking out of 'just a plastic bottle'. The opening is just right for a good swig and because it's a clear plastic, you can see how much you have left. There are measurements up the sides so you can regulate your intake.

With the flask you also get a protector and a shot glass. I've never used these- The bottle itself seems plenty tough enough for what I put it through and each of my swigs seems to hold about an ounce, so why bother to measure it? More importantly, these additions take the weight up to 123 grams, the same weight as the next flask I got.
The final booze carrier I got was the GSI lexan flask. I think this is the old version, because the images I see on the internet now have a black outer, so they may have changed it now. I got this because I saw it reduced to £4 in a corner of a caravan shop rather than because I needed a new booze container. I did think that on longer trips I may need to carry more whisky, but having said that, I'd probably just buy another nalgene: two combined should carry an entire bottle. It holds 450ml. Overall, it has a feeling of cheapness about it. Edges are unfinished on the cap and the opening, so it's not particularly nice to drink from. The opening is just a little too wide so that you have to sip from it rather than swig. The cap holds an ounce measure, but as I've said, I'm not bothered about that. The actual lexan material is okay visually, but the label states that they can't guarantee to keep the material from tainting the flavour of your drink-the Nalgene claims to be taint free. Finally, because it's the old lexan, I guess it would be packed to the gills with BPA, probably not a good mix with whisky.


baz carter said...

Your evolution of drinking vessel pretty much follows mine. I got my Sigg flask half price and mine's blue :)

I've used a 0.5l platy between that and the Nalgene flask. It's the lightest and most packable but wasn't ideal. I had one spring a small leak :(

I was toying with the idea of the GSI flask now I'm not so sure.

minimalgear said...

My GSI is the old version, so it may well be worth taking a look at the new one in the flesh first, maybe they've tightened up on the finish. I haven't got any other GSI stuff to compare.

Anonymous said...

Nice article :) Good to see I wasn't the only one using a ridiculously heavy hip flask. I jumped from a glass/leather hipflask that weights around 450 grammes (seriously) to a plain old plastic Jameson bottle that weights 50 grammes and holds 500 ml.

Recently though I've started to use Sarstedt and Nalgene plastic labwear for carrying liquids, they both make a ton of nice tough disposable test tubes that don't weight much but can take a beating. It's worth it even if my food bag ends up looking like a chemistry kit.

Maz said...

We always take 250ml of port in a 250ml Evian bottle. Light, easy and heart-warmingly nice. In the end, we both have something to drink it out of (I have the MSR Titan Kettle we cook in and my companion in the hills has his beloved old plastic mug). It does us proud and port really is a lot of bang for your gram.