I’m obsessed with my water bottle bag

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Last summer, I spent the entire concert drinking expensive cans of water, trying my best not to faint from the Texas heat. It was hard to see that everyone else had larger bottles of water, not the bottles being sold at the venue. They had planned ahead, bringing empty bottles from home that they could fill up at water fountains. Baking in the 107-degree sun, I longed for my 40-ounce Ovala FreeSip.

I try to carry a water bottle everywhere I go. If I’m in the car it’s not a big deal, but it becomes more difficult if I’m out and don’t want to carry a big bag, like if I’m on a hike. Or, if I think it will be allowed at a concert. I’m a fan of both water bottles and bags, so imagine my delight when I recently found the two things combined in the form of a water bottle bag.

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in the bag

You may have seen people on TikTok decorating their oversized Stanley mugs with a variety of accessories, like clips for their lipgloss and sometimes even food trays, making it even more difficult to carry around an already bulky accessory. Not so. The water bottle bag is cute, but it’s also useful. It allows you to live a hydrated life without any burden.

If you’re like me, you already have a collection of bags of varying shapes, sizes, and levels of fancyness. Of course, you can just keep a water bottle in your old bag or backpack, but I’ve found a water bottle bag to be extremely useful. It’s like a waist bag, but for water. It’s like an old-fashioned camping canteen.

It keeps your bottle upright. There’s no risk of it tipping over while you’re on the go, and it keeps a few essentials close by without being too bulky. The bag is insulated, so you can keep an uninsulated bottle cool, and the padding keeps the bottle from banging against your hip. It’s also easy to wash and doesn’t look overly technical, unlike hydration bladder packs.

I tried it twice. Calpak’s nylon bag is my favorite for most days. Obviously, its main purpose is to hold a bottle, so the main pocket is designed for that. The front zipper pocket can hold valuables like cards and cash, and a phone, and slip pockets around the rest of the exterior can hold keys, a bottle of SPF, a small camera, sunglasses, and maybe even a snack.

It has handles, but the adjustable strap will get the most use since you’ll be wearing it crossbody or over one shoulder. There are four classic colors and prints available and a large selection of limited editions that are usually fun, like daisy print or checkerboard.

I also tried the Sloan Water Bottle Sling by Dagan Dover, which is more sophisticated. I think if this were 1998, Meredith Blake would have taken it on the Parker family’s camping trip (she had her own water bottle bag, by the way). It has two drawstring mesh pockets, as well as a slip pocket in the front and a smaller pocket in the back that can hold cards or cash.

It also has a keychain, which I wish the Calpak had, but it doesn’t have a zipper pocket to keep valuables safe. We usually prefer Dagon Dover bags because they’re high quality and attractive, but they’re also more expensive. The brand uses a lot of neoprene, which isn’t very environmentally friendly. Here, it’s paired with a lining made from recycled plastic bottles.

Your choice

What water bottles can you use? You can technically fit a Stanley or similarly sized Ovala tumbler in the Calpak, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It makes the bag bulky and clumsy, and it’s not easy to pull out your bottle and take a sip from it.

Two bags with reusable water bottles and extra outside pockets hang on the hood near the door

Photo: Medea Giordano

The 40-ounce Brumate Era fits better in the Calpak, but doesn’t work in the Dagne Dover. The Era has a straw and handle, but it’s a little thinner than the other two. Both bags fit perfectly in my 40-ounce Ovala FreeCip. The Dagne Dover says it’s limited to 32-ounce bottles maximum, but it just pops out the top, if that’s okay with you.

When I was in high school in the 2010s, purses were huge. Purses held whatever you might need while away from home, like makeup, food, and clothes. Plus school books… maybe. I love a well-stocked bag as much as anyone, but sometimes you want to be lifted out of your bag, not weighed down by it. That’s where a water bottle bag comes in handy.

And water bottles have become a fashion item in their own right. They say something about you, just as our bags and shoes do. Most importantly, we want to stay hydrated whether we’re on a hot-girl walk, at a concert, or hanging out with friends. I’ll never be thirsty again.

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