Boasting ultralight construction, ergonomic design, and up to eight-hour performance, this may be the best on-the-go beverage container we’ve tested.
We never leave the house without a beverage. Whether we’re on the trail, at the gym, or simply heading to the office, a cold drink or the morning’s “wake up” juice is always at-hand. As such, we’ve gone through numerous styles of bottles and beverage containers over the years. Some we’ve liked, many disappointed, and more than a few were quickly handed to the next unsuspecting victim. As a result, we approach each latest and greatest activity bottle with a “prove it to me” mindset.
That was exactly our position when we picked up the new Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 bottle from GSI Outdoors.
GSI Outdoors has a solid reputation in the camping and outdoor recreation marketplace for producing quality and innovative solutions for campers, outdoor enthusiasts, and backcountry adventurers. Their ultralight backpacking cooking sets, in particular, are among our must-haves for multi-day wilderness trips. Naturally, when the company recently introduced the Microlite 500, we had to give it a try.
First, a bit on the Microlite 500’s construction.
Right away, you realize the name is no misnomer. For a stainless steel vacuum bottle, this unit is seriously light, weighing a scant 7.9 ounces. As the company points out, this bottle is a third lighter than traditional stainless steel vacuum insulated bottles in its class. Credit that with the thin, 2mm wall thickness.
That is not to say the bottle is a lightweight when it comes to strength. On the contrary, a special forming process is used to stretch the 18/8 stainless steel to its remarkably thin proportions while ensuring a structural integrity that meets the needs of active consumer lifestyles. We didn’t test it by jumping up and down on it or running it over with a pickup, but we did let it bounce around on the floor of our Jeep and we’ve been carrying it in our fanny pack for several months along with other heavy items—all without incident. We even tested it on a two-week wilderness hunt in the southern Colorado Rockies. In sum, the Microlite 500 has accepted everything we’ve thrown at it and asked for more.
If “eco-friendliness” is high on your list of product requirements, the Microlite 500 won’t disappoint. Less construction material, courtesy of the light-wall engineering, means not only fewer resources consumed in the manufacturing process, but also reduced shipping weight that lowers the environmental cost of transportation. Those are two check marks on the green side of the ledger.
As mentioned, this is a stainless steel vacuum bottle, with the inherent insulating properties that go with that design. GSI Outdoors claims 8-hour insulating performance for hot or cold liquids. We did not test this with the scientific method, but can attest to the bottle keeping our water cold from early morning until late afternoon. We can also swear by its ability to keep hot beverages hot. Too hot, perhaps. One of our testers burned his mouth when he took a gulp of coffee not long after filling his Microlite 500 with the dark nectar. He figured some extra-hot coffee would stay warmer longer. Lesson learned: not necessary!
Another design feature we like is the Microlite 500’s removable, two-piece flip-top. The lid has a sliding lock to keep it from accidentally opening, and a push button that allows it to flip open when you’re ready to drink. A ventilated hole in the lid channels the liquid to a semi spout, which prevents spills and drips. Very convenient and ergonomic. A silicone stopper integrated into the lid covers the hole when the lid is closed. Unlike many screw-type bottle lids, this one will not leak.
Finally, the Microlite 500 is dimensionally slim, measuring 2.9 inches in diameter and 9.2 inches tall. It’s sleek enough to fit just about anywhere, such as a daypack pocket, fanny pack, your vehicle’s cup holder, or even a large purse. That’s one of the reasons why this bottle is ideal for taking wherever your activities lead you, even if it’s just to work or to the gym. Volume is a healthy 17 fluid ounces.
We’ve learned through years of testing bottles and beverage containers designed for outdoor recreation that not all are created equal (and some should never have been created at all). For general day use, workout sessions, the morning commute, camping, or a hike in the woods, if you want to keep your beverage hot or cold and don’t want the hassle of a heavy, conventional vacuum bottle, the Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 may be the bottle you’ve been waiting for.