Hydrapak Stash Water Bottle Review

UPDATE (23 Nov 2014 @1800):

I reached out to Hydrapak who exhibited awesome customer service and sent me a new Stash and also a Softflask. They mentioned in passing that they had changed production early on and to cut to the chase, the new bottle that they sent me was perfect! Leak-free (I nerded out and tested multiple leak scenarios over several days), so much easier to open, and the same great design that had me excited from the start! My only regret is that I didn’t find Hydrapak sooner- the Softflask is genius and going to be my new go-to water bottle for adventuring. Sorry Vapur, gear junkie found her fix in Oakland.

(Important note: I’m not compensated for this in any way and these are my opinions. If the second Stash would have sucked, I would have told you).

***** (Original Post) *****

After leaving my beloved Vapur water bottle in the San Diego airport I was on the market for a new reusable collapsible water bottle. My Vapur was good but not great- the plastic is a little too stiff and feels cheap, I don’t like the narrow mouth piece- but it held water when I needed it to hold water, and collapsed to a tiny little package when I wasn’t using it. Basically, it was a functional water collapsible water bottle.

Hoping to find a better collapsible water bottle (greedy, I know) I found that Hydrapak was about to release the Stash water bottle. Hydrapak is a local company and their design looked amazing- small, stackable, and with a wider mount than my Vapur. I was sold and eagerly placed an order at REI.

Stash bottle. Picture from Hydrapak site.

The first thing I did when I got the bottle was to try to open the little disk. It was TOUGH. I followed the instructions to press the sides in and using my fingers didn’t work so I had to use my palms. The Boy gave it a shot, too, and really struggled so it wasn’t user error. This thing was tough to open for two fit adults with PhDs (i.e. likely not due to deficits in strength or ability to follow directions). However, once open, I was amazed by how strong the bottle seemed to be. It stood up straight and didn’t feel cheap like the Vapur. I was in love! We were heading out on some errands so I filled her up and ran out the door.

I popped into the passenger’s seat of our car and was annoyed that I had sucked at filling up my water bottle- I had made a mess and water was everywhere so I wiped it off and we continued on our way. But wait, I hadn’t dried it well enough? It was still wet? Upon further inspection there were multiple microtears all over the bottle!  I didn’t suck at filling up my water bottle, it was leaking! Water was slowly seeping out in little beads through tears so small you couldn’t see them, but you could watch water seep out of them. The tears were near where the top and bottom pinch together and so while this may have been a problem with my bottle alone, I worry that this is a design flaw that will be a problem with other bottles too.

I am so bummed that I didn’t even get one use out of this potentially awesome bottle until it leaked and had to be returned (thanks REI for the best returns ever). There is tons of potential in this design (before observing the leaks I even proclaimed how amazing innovation can be!) but I don’t think it’s ready for prime time yet. This bottle didn’t hold water and was difficult to collapse when not in use- two key features of a collapsible water bottle. Back to Vapur I go.