What Your Nalgene Says About You
On January 1, 2013, Concord, MA became the second town in the world to outlaw sales of bottled water. Bottled water bans have also taken affect on dozens of college campuses and in many civic buildings across the country. This is good news, not only for the environment, but for the massive amount of outdoor companies now making innovative re-usable bottles. But no matter how many new bottles come out, outsiders can never stray too far from the time-tested classic: Nalgene.
What started as lab equipment and quickly became standard outdoor gear, Nalgenes have long been the de-facto reusable bottle for those shamed by years of drinking from disposable plastic containers. But Nalgenes don’t just symbolize your feigned commitment to the environment; they reveal critical information about your personality.
You’re a realist. You understand that having 16 ounces of water at your disposal is plenty, but you’re cautious about what a small bottle says about your character and commitment to hydration. When people ask you about your small bottle, you say “I actually really like it!”. But you say it in a tone that suggests you shouldn’t.
You’re a traditionalist. You stick with what works, because it works. You have a Netflix subscription and only purchase micro-brew beer. In the summer, you talk about how great it would be to take a road trip in a VW bus. In the winter, you discuss how romantic it would be to hole up in a cabin in the woods. You never do either.
You’re an extremist. You need nearly half a gallon (64 oz.) of liquid with you at all times. You’ve seen too many episodes of Man vs. Wild and Survivorman to downplay the value of proper hydration. You use a carabiner to attach your keys to belt loops, wear light-weight hiking shoes to the grocery store and have thought about joining the Peace Corps.
Colors and Artwork
Your Nalgene is not a water bottle, it’s an accessory and you must have more than one color. When friends notice you using a different bottle, you say “I have two so I that I always have a clean one.” And though this might explain why you have two Nalgenes, it doesn’t explain the other 6 in your cupboard.
You put stickers on your Nalgene to let other people know what you stand for. It’s like a portable Facebook profile for when you’re on the trail or at the gym, and you know it. You show your sense of humor with adhesives that promote “Republicans for Voldemort”. You indicate your political side with a “Free Tibet!” sticker and you let people know you aren’t a Nalgene poser with a sticker from your favorite national park or ski resort.
You wrap duct tape around your Nalgene for the ultimate water bottle accessory. It tells people you constantly meet with adventure that places you in tight situations only duct tape can solve. People will think it’s used for makeshift bandages after fights with wolverines, or to patch your parachute before a killer base jump. But the truth is, you’ve only used it once: to hold your DVD player remote’s batteries in place.
You’re cautious. You know that no normal human being can easily get their mouth around that other, wider opening. The narrow mouth is easier to drink out of and reminds you of your old friend, disposable water bottles. While you enjoy the concept of re-usable bottles, you still don’t trust the tap and use a Brit-A to fill up your Nalgene. When your friends question this, you assure them that you “can really taste the difference.” But you know you can’t.
You’re thirsty. Nothing will get in the way of you and the massive flow of water that comes out of your wide mouth Nalgene. Never mind the fact that not even a blue whale could handle the volume of water that emerges from that opening. You just love how easy it is to dump in handfuls of ice for instant cool refreshment.
You’re a modernist. You’ve stood in line for the release of at least one Apple product and have a subscription to WIRED magazine. You lecture your friends on the increased accessibility and safety of the straw system while driving, but you know the real reason you use the straw is a simple lack of motor skills. You could never quite figure out the right angle for that wide mouth and frequently drenched your neck and chest while drinking.
After Every Use
You’re obsessive. You can’t help but bleach, sanitize, scrub and rinse your Nalgene at the end of every day. That BPA scare left you a little too anxious for re-usable bottles, but your commitment to the environment remains too strong to go back to disposables. You categorize your closest friends based on who is allowed to take sips from your bottle.
Once in a While
You’re an opportunist. Your Nalgene is only cleaned when you see visible debris inside or when someone else does it for you. You enjoy controlled adventures like roller coasters and eating at Arby’s, but you shy away from more dangerous activities like sky diving and eating at the Sizzler.
You’re courageous. You honestly believe that because you only fill your Nalgene with water, it is never dirty. You favor quick-dry underwear, wool shirts that don’t absorb odors and spray-on deodorant. If your friends come to visit, they usually rent a hotel room instead of staying at your place. When you drink water from other sources, you notice a sterile, off-putting taste that contrasts the rich natural flavor which comes from the mini eco-system in your own Nalgene.
So grab your Nalgene and fill it up with your personality, your hopes and dreams. Or–at the very least–run it over with your car a few times to give it an abused appearance that establishes instant Nalgene street cred.
by Patrick Hutchison
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