The plastic water bottle that you carry to work is not the same plastic bottle you bring to a campsite. Consumers use plastic bottles for different purposes. In response, manufacturers are developing increasingly sophisticated materials to improve the design, portability and overall user-friendliness of plastic water bottles. If you’re bottle-conscious, you may want to evaluate the most common materials used for water bottles:


Polypropylene plastic bottles are available in medium to dark semi-opaque colors to easily identify contents. They are firm, ultra light and durable. Higher grade polypropylene bottles have propreitary materials to reduce odors and tastes. The material is dishwasher safe and recyclable but becomes semi-pliable when carrying hot liquids, and so suited for liquids at room temperature or lower.


Copolyester water bottles are considered the new and improved polycarbonate bottles because they do not contain Bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA. They come in clear or opaque colors and can be printed with designs or logos. Copolyester bottles resist cracking and retain few odors. They are well suited for outdoor activities.

High-Density Polyethylene

High-Density Polyethylene forms a semi-rigid plastic material that is most often used for the production of milk jugs. High-density polyethylene retains cost effectiveness, being less expensive than copolyester or polycarbonate materials. High-density polyethylene water bottles are firm but slightly pliable. They tend to be a cloudy white but are available in other colors. They are suitable for such outdoor activities as hiking and backpacking.

Low-density Polyethylene

Low-density polyethylene is a high flexible material commonly used for the manufacture of squeezable water bottles, hydration reservoirs and collapsible containers. Low-density polyethylene water bottles are light weight, durable and available in a wide variety or semi-opaque or opaque colors. Some manufacturers use proprietary technologies to reduce odor and taste retention. Low-density polyethylene bottles are ideal for cycling and day hiking pursuits.

In addition to the materials used, consider the design and volume of the water bottle. Is it easy to carry? Will if fit in your backpack or purse? Some plastic water bottles have wide or narrow mouthes and push-pull or bite valves. Other water bottles come with accessories, such as holsters or fabric insulators.