I mentioned a couple months back that I was sent a field test version of a nalgene water bottle cozy from Dave at Simple Outdoor Solutions (“SOS” for the remainder of this post… not me calling for help). SOS is probably best known for their Outsak but they do have a few other products in their line as well. Their cozy’s are still running through the beta phase but I thought I’d share a little about it anyway.
The photo above shows the two versions I was sent. There’s also a third version with a lid that can double as a pot cozy for the BPL 550ml titanium mug and similar sized mugs/pots. I use a larger 900ml cook pot and a plastic mug, so it wouldn’t have served much use for me. Okay, so anyway… I have the version without a lid and the version with the velcro closure at the top. They are both very light hovering around an ounce +/-. They’re made of Reflectix, which is the same stuff that’s popular for DIY pot cozy’s.
For the cozy to really do its job, the nalgene needs to be totally enclosed so either the velcro or lidded version are the better ideas. What is the job of this thing anyway? I decided to try it in cold and in warmer weather. I took it snow camping a couple of times this winter which is the only time of year I carry a nalgene (easier to pour melt water into the wide mouth, and also a little safer to put hot water in), usually I carry a Platypus or Evernew bladder which are much lighter than the nalagene.
On my winter trips I intentionally left my water bottle “out” over night, wrapped in the cozy. Usually I sleep with my water (preferably warm) in a dry bag thrown into the foot of my sleeping bag, which keeps the water from freezing. The nights I left it out the temperature was near single digits Fahrenheit. Due to one rough night, I can say that the water had not frozen at 3:00 AM. It wasn’t until about 6:00 AM that a little ice had formed in the bottle. I didn’t start with warm water that night either. If I had used warm melt water I’m sure it would have weathered a night of single digits without freezing, or if I would have dug a hole in the snow for it that would have helped. Sometimes just putting it inside a backpack can make a difference, but I wanted to give it a good test.
For warm weather I wanted to see how it would keep cold stuff cool. Beer is the obvious choice for a test subject. I grabbed a couple of bottles of Russian River Supplication I had been saving and packed them into the cozy… well I tried to. I could only fit one. These bottles are a little fatter than a typical beer bottle, of which two can be stuffed in there. So I carried one and Sandra D carried one in her pack. We headed up to Table Mountain on a warm day to spot some wild flowers and have some sour beer. All was good! The beer in the cozy stayed cold after a few hours of hanging out on the back of my pack.
Bottom line, the cozy does what one would expect it to. It’s only a single wall (the nalgene cozy) so there’s only so much insulating potential but certainly enough to make a tangible difference, and only for a tiny weight penalty. I have a feeling mine will mostly be used in the winter. Could I DIY one of these? Sure, but the sewing quality of these from SOS is awesome so I wouldn’t think twice about it. I hope we’ll see these on their storefront soon! Hike It. Like It.
Although it’s not meant as a beer cooler, Dave is in fact working on a 6-pack cooler! I once made an ultralight 12 pack carrier so I love this idea naturally. Although I didn’t test one of his coolers I think it’s also a sweet idea for those “less serious backpack treks” and other casual adventures. Check out this video he made.
Dave ended up sending me one of his Escape Pods too, so I’ve had some time to haul it around since then. It’s not something I’d really throw in my pack, but it’s great for road trips. Holds a couple of drinks and some snacks, or a 4-pack of whatever in a nice, simple package. It even comes with a bottle separator so the bottles don’t clank together. A nice touch, as we like to treat our beer gently. The Escape Pod is not water tight… so ice is a no-go, but cold packs work great. Cheers!