I’m unusually prone to dehydration, or at least it seems that way to me. After, say, 15 minutes without water, my mouth gets dry, and I can feel both my skin and mind beginning to shrivel. At some point, I decided that achieving thirstlessness was worth minor but constant encumbrance, and started bringing a one-liter water bottle everywhere I went, but those only made sense when I was carrying a bag large enough to accommodate them. Plus, I tended to leave them at places, which made me feel irresponsible — and, fairly quickly, dehydrated. Eventually, I just resigned myself to buying and using an unquantifiable number of disposable bottles, refilling them until they got lost or became gross. While they were less of a burden, disposable bottles were incredibly wasteful (both in the monetary and environmental sense), until the Vapur “anti-bottle” ended this cycle of hassle and guilt. (I saw someone using one on the street and went home and Googled “foldable water bottle” until I found it.)
Don’t let the name fool you — an anti-bottle is, in fact, a bottle, only better: It’s a reusable, washable pouch made of flexible BPA-free plastic. Judging by the (detachable) carabiner and the company’s marketing materials, the Vapur was designed for hikers, but I’ve found that it’s ideal for life in a city where I have to drag my stuff around all day without desiccating. When full, it looks and feels much like a full-grown Capri Sun (and can be played with similarly). When empty and rolled up, the one-liter model takes up about as much space as an iPhone 5 (several smaller varieties are also available, which I imagine are very convenient for people who are comfortable running out of water).
The best thing about the Vapur is that the size adjusts to the amount of water that’s in it, so I can fit it into any bag (or dump out water if I need to make more room). Over Memorial Day, I attended a wedding in hot, humid Maryland with perhaps the world’s smallest purse. The bus ride to the ceremony was an hour, but somehow no one thought to bring along a case of water bottles for the riders (I survived thanks to the quarter-full Vapur I’d stuffed into my little bag). And when the wedding party was delayed in its arrival at the historic church that, while beautiful, lacked air conditioning, I found a water fountain, filled the bottle to full capacity, and basically saved the lives of all the very thirsty people I was sitting with. No Hydro Flask could do that.
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