Aqua est vita…

translated to “Water is life”. As we know, the amount of time we can live without food can be counted in weeks whereas the amount of time we can live without water is counted in days or sometimes hours depending on the environment we are operating in. Because of this, the ability to purify, store, and transport water is paramount to not only survival but maintaining a high level of physical readiness. Since the original lexan and poly bottles were brought onto the market there have been many variations on the theme. Relatively recently a new trend has hit the market, metallic water bottles. With links to the old aluminum Boy Scout canteens some have proven to be solid performers while others have proven to be better suited for the mall or the hands of some teenie bopper.

Not the Klean Kanteen. Basic specs for all Klean Kanteens from the manufacturer:

  • BPA-free & eco-friendly
  • Made of 18/8, food-grade stainless steel, no liner needed
  • Doesn’t retain or impart flavors
  • Rounded corners are easy to clean with no hard angles where dirt, germs or bacteria can stick
  • Stainless steel threads

The original Klean Kanteens, now called the Classic, were made with a smaller opening as shown in some of the field use pics you will find below. These were and continue to be excellent bottles however Klean Kanteen has just released a new bottle with a larger opening that matches most screw on water filters and other accessories designed for use with standard sized water bottles further increasing the use of a single bottle.

This is all fine and good but why do we at APC like Klean Kanteen so much? Durable, high quality products are great but what makes them even better is when they are multipurpose or can be pressed into use outside of the original purpose with limited detriment to long term service life. Along with being durable the Klean Kanteen makes a good vessel for boiling water either for sterilization/pasteurization for drinking or for preparing food, try that with your BPA free poly bottle and let me know how well it turns out. In addition to all this, your Klean Kanteen wont stick out at the gym and you will probably have to keep your teenie bopper niece from trying to nab your “cool water bottle”.

During a teaching trip earlier this year I took along two Klean Kanteen Classic 40oz bottles to put through their paces.

Here is our water source. This trip was during the dry season so many or our normal flowing water points are not usable during this time, this low volume spring fed puddle was our source for water during this FTX.

From Blog album

While fairly clean, some care was necessary to reduce large particulate matter and of course we wanted to take steps to kill off as many biological threats as possible. We accomplished this by using the Klean Kanteens as shown below:

From Blog album

Now some of you may be wondering, how do we get these things out of the fire since they dont have a handle like a pot or even a mug? I travel with a wool watch cap everywhere I go, which makes a handy pot holder among other things (see pic below). A tip, allow the water to cool for a few minutes before transferring to zip style baggy or your water will end up on the ground and you will have a hole in your bag.

From Blog album

This method was used to provide water for the four person instructor cadre throughout a multi-day survival section.

The pictures above show the Classic model which is all that was available at the time of this trip, however we recommend the wide mouth version show below. These are produced in 12, 18, 27, 40, and 64oz models, we find that the most useful sizes for day to day use are the 27 and 40oz models.

From Blog album
From Blog album
From Blog album

A few notes about using your Klean Kanteen in this manner…

From the Klean Kanteen FAQ section–
In a pinch, single-walled Kanteen™ Classic and Wide bottles with the Brushed Stainless finish can be placed on a fire or a stove as long as you take the cap off. Do not do this with a colored bottle, as it will damage the paint.

While the manufacturer says this should only be done in a pinch we have found no obvious wear and tear on the bottle after numerous uses you may get some staining, soot, or tar that builds up on the bottle. This can be reduced by using the bottle in clean coals or cleaner burning wood, wetter wood will put off more smoke and tar that can accumulate on the bottle. However, if you find that your Klean Kanteen becomes covered with tar or smoke we found that a quick scrub with steel wool, soap, and water removes all tar and returns the bottle to near new status with minimal discoloration.

In the consideration of full disclosure, a few other things to mention about these bottles:

-They are made of single wall stainless steel and while they may look like the old school coffee thermos they are not insulated, put something hot in this and you will feel it.
-The same applies with cold stuff. I have used these a number of times filled with ice water to massage cramped muscles, sprained/strained ankles and knees. Great tool as a number of team mates will tell you.

So, to the point, we at Austere Provisions Company really like the products coming out of Klean Kanteen. We like them enough that we carry them in our personal packs and feel comfortable recommending them to our customers for many applications from a go bag, bug out bag, or as an “Every Day Carry” item.

Klean Kanteen Wide 27oz Bottle at Austere Provisions Company

Klean Kanteen Wide 40oz Bottle at Austere Provisions Company

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1 Response to Aqua est vita…

  1. Rod Witkos says:

    I ordered two of the wide mouth to carry in my Maxpedition Tactical Attache. I had been using Nalgene but I wanted to go BPA free. I loved the "On The Go" tops I had on the Nalgenes for easy drinking. I chatted with Mike @ APC and he told me they should fit. They do fit quite nicely but the stainless center Klean Kanteen tops do not fit Nalgene.

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