Did you know that a metal water bottle could save your life?
It’s true. In a survival situation, a metal water bottle is infinitely more useful than a plastic bottle, for one main reason: you can put it in the fire.
This means that a metal water bottle can do double duty as a strangely-shaped pot, allowing you to boil (and thus purify) water. Water can be the difference between life and death in a survival situation. Most people can only survive about three days without water, sometimes less depending on the environment.
And in the backcountry, the proliferation of contaminants in the water means that drinking out of streams and ponds generally isn’t an option (although springs are often ok). The ability to produce clean water is critical if you want to avoid digestive problems like giardia that can put you on your back for days—or even weeks.
Of course, this all depends on you being able to get a fire going—but you are carrying a survival kit with you everywhere you go, right? The ability to start a fire is absolutely essential. We recommend everyone at the very least toss a couple of Bic lighters in the bottom of their hiking packs or in their pockets. They’re light, reliable, and can save the day.
Beyond Clean Water
The ability to boil water in a metal water bottle opens up some real survival possibilities. For one, you can make tea. For example, the ubiquitous fresh spring growth on most fir and pine trees makes a vitamin-C rich tea that tastes great and can infuse you with warmth, hydration, and a little bit of nutrition.
Another great and common tea plant is red clover, which makes a very nutritious tea that can give a surprising amount of energy.
In a survival or backwoods situation, a cup of tea won’t just provide you with warmth, it’ll give you a big psychological boost. And as survival experts around the world know, the mental factor is key to survival. Keeping your wits about you is critical. A cup of tea can calm any panic and help you think straight.
Of course, the next logical step from tea is actually cooking food inside your water bottle. A metal bottle allows you to boil water and put food in to boil. Edible roots, meats and bones, and plant materials can be boiled in this manner to produce a more palatable, nutritious broth or soften naturally tough materials.
In my region, in Oregon, a few good wild food candidates for cooking in a water bottle in an emergency situation are Camas bulbs (watch out for the similar-looking Death Camas, which is as poisonous as the name implies) and acorns. If I were able to catch a small animal, such as a frog or squirrel, I could also cook it inside a water bottle.
Wild edible foods are plentiful if you know where to look. However, many of these foods seem tough to us civilized (read: soft) folk. Having a metal water bottle can be the difference between a relatively pleasant meal and a heck of a lot of chewing.
Another issues with plastic bottles is leaching. Most plastics leach chemicals into water. BPA is the most well-known of these substances. However, it is believed there are many others, and some researchers choose to avoid plastics altogether. To my palate, water seems to taste better out of a stainless steel bottle as well (especially when it’s cleaned once a week or so).
Between the everyday health benefits of choosing non-reactive stainless steel bottles and the survival benefits of using a metal water bottle, we think this choice is a no-brainer. Once you go metal, you’ll never go back.
This article is written by Daniel a freelance writer based in the U.S.A, Chief Editor for one of the most popular Survival blogs.