Klean Kanteen Winter Performance Review

I’ve been a huge fan of double walled, vacuum insulated, 18/8 stainless steel vessels to contain my beverages for some time. The advantages of such a bottle during extended winter mountain travel are profound. In my experience, there’s an abundance of good news you can expect when your lips drink from a Klean Kanteen on even a -20 degree Fahrenheit day. Here’s my review of the key points of note.

It cooled off near sunset while on Red Top, but the Klean Kanteen kept the fluids flowing, as it always does.

Cool Stuff:

  1. Your beverage will not be frozen solid. It won’t even be slushy, unless you’ve been out overnight.
  2. Drinking from your Klean Kanteen involves no fuss. Simply twist off the lid, and drink. There are no frozen hoses or frozen mini sipper straws to contend with.

    The bane of winter hydration: the frozen hose. It puts 3 feet of ice between you and a hydrating sip. Greg Foster demonstrates the thirsty approach. Not recommended.

  3. If you put in a warm beverage, you’ll have a warm beverage many hours later. Klean Kanteen sticks by a six hour timeframe for keeping a hot/warm beverage insulated from the cold elements of winter; in my experience, warm liquids come out warm long after six hours have passed. That’s been true on numerous sub-zero outings – it’s not something that just happens on sunny, mild winter days.
  4. The stainless steel bottle isn’t susceptible to having all of its paint chipped off by sharp metal objects in the ski mountaineer’s backpack, such as crampons or ice screws. It starts off with a stainless appearance, and that shine remains steadfast through serious abuse. Due to passivation, acquired scratches heal.
  5. The lid is large and easy to remove, even with gloved fingers.
  6. The wide mouth design facilitates landing electrolyte powders or tablets in your water. It’s wide enough that it’s hard to miss! For those that like a chilly beverage, the wide mouth design is also easy to slip ice cubes into.

    Dropping an electrolyte tablet into the Klean Kanteen at the top of one of the day's ski lines. The wide mouth makes it hard to miss!

  7. The bottle threads are on the outside of the bottle, facing away from the liquids inside. This is advantageous because in my experience, threads that are internal (face inwards) on a bottle’s neck tend to accumulate fluids when one has a drink. In cold weather, screwing the lid back into place sets up the scene for a lid that stays frozen in place, and is very difficult to remove. This doesn’t happen with a Kanteen.
  8. Klean Kanteens don’t leak. Following my first fill-up, I laid the bottle on its side, and some water came out from the lid. As it turned out, I hadn’t screwed the lid on very tightly at all. Once I did, and have done so ever since, I’ve never had another drop leak out. That’s with the bottle up-side down, sideways, or right-side up, and being continually shaken inside my backpack on ski outings!
  9. By using a stainless steel plug in the center of the lid, these vessels have your beverage in contact with 100% stainless steel, 100% of the time. There is zero plastic interaction with your fluids (even though the exterior of the lid is plastic). Nice touch.
  10. There’s no ‘taste memory’ in the walls of the container. What you put in there yesterday won’t affect the flavor of today’s contents, although you’ve got to clean it by hand between fill-ups.
  11. Worried about germs on a re-usable container? Don’t be. Since stainless steel is non-porous, bacteria have a hard time clinging to the surface. They are easily washed away during cleaning.As for any detracting aspects, they’re pretty slim. I came up with the following.

Slightly Less Cool Stuff:

~ At 364 grams (12 7/8 ounces) as measured on my gram scale, there is a small weight penalty involved in utilizing a Klean Kanteen as compared to many other fluid containment solutions. However, in my experience, nothing else even comes close to providing easy-to-work-with, non-frozen fluid delivery during the deep freeze of winter. I don’t prefer to add an extra 200 grams of weight to an all day ski outing if I can avoid it, but I find that it’s worth it to keep my fluids drinkable.

~ Avoiding scratched off paint is a good thing. For this reason, I like the brushed stainless appearance. But some bright colors would be pretty fun, too!

~ Last, the Klean Kanteen’s lip isn’t sharp, but it is thin. A bit more volume or curvature on the section of the rim where one’s lips make contact would be a nice touch.

Overall, my 20 ounce Klean Kanteen has treated me very well. The lid has never frozen in place, it doesn’t leak, and it doesn’t gather condensation on the outside – whether I’ve got a hot or a cold beverage inside. It’s not plastic, except for the lid, which helps to keep the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from growing. And most importantly, my beverages have always remained liquid inside, despite being subjected to the winter chill of many mountain peaks!

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