Hands-on Gear Review

Nalgene Grip-n-Gulp Review

This is a budget friendly copolyester plastic bottle
Price:   $9.25 List | $9.75 each (in 2-pack) at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, budget friendly
Cons:  Made of plastic, very difficult to drink from, not eco-healthy
Bottom line:  This budget friendly bottle is near impossible to drink from causing excessive frustration
Editors' Rating:   
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Available Capacities (ounces):  12 oz
Empty Weight (ounces):  4.2 oz
Manufacturer:   Nalgene

The Skinny

The Nalgene is a mixed bag of not awesomeness. It is a hard to drink from plastic bottle that is not insulated. It ranked 3rd from the bottom and other than its relatively smaller price tag (compared to the competition) it doesn't have many redeeming qualities to brag about. It does however manage to avoid all leaks and scored well in that test, but that came with a no leak valve that is also terribly difficult to drink from. This resulted in a bottle that is hard to suck on, is not eco-healthy, and can't hold liquids that need to be kept cold. All of this makes the Nalgene a bottle we do not recommend.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 11, 2014

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The NALGENE Grip 'n Gulp™ is tough, leak-proof, and odor resistant. The bottle is indented on the sides for easy gripping, and it has a rubberized lid and plastic mouthpiece designed to prevent spills. The bottle body is made of Tritan TM copolyester manufactured with no BPA. The lid has a removable sipper valve, and all the parts are top rack dishwasher safe. It has a lid loop that can be clipped to a backpack or stroller. The bottle holds 12 ounces and comes in a few different colors and patterns.

Performance Comparison


This is a budget friendly copolyester plastic bottle
This is a budget friendly copolyester plastic bottle

Likes


The Nalgene Grip N Gulp is a lightweight bottle that has a contoured design that is fairly easy for children to hold. The lid has a nice loop for attaching the bottle to backpacks and strollers. The bottle is see thru which is nice for quick check ins on how much children have had to drink or how long before they will need a refill. The bright colors of the plastic are eye catching and attractive to kids.

For the most part this bottle doesn't leak. It scored a 8 of 10 overall in our leak tests, losing a couple of points for the upside down test, where it leaked a little. In general, the amount of leaking either upside down or sideways was not a deal breaker, and the test results for this metric are not reasons why we dislike this bottle.
Limited number of parts and no straw make this a bottle that is easy to clean and assemble
Limited number of parts and no straw make this a bottle that is easy to clean and assemble
This bottle only has 3 parts, and they are easy to take apart and put back together. While the parts need a little massaging to get clean, they do not require a special cleaning tool like a straw brush, which made this bottle easier for parents to keep clean. Given that the bottle is made of plastic we suggest hand washing to avoid the potential of plastic degradation related to exposing plastic to high temperatures.

Dislikes


The Nalgene is so hard to drink from  it requires excessive sucking power
The Nalgene is so hard to drink from, it requires excessive sucking power
This bottle is nearly impossible to drink from. not only do little ones have to exert a large amount of pressure to get liquid from the bottle, but adults struggled with drinking from this bottle too. It is almost as if the no-leak valve works too well and actually prevents the bottle from being used as it was intended, for quenching thirst.

We also didn't like that this bottle is made almost entirely of plastic. Given that stainless steel is an inert material that does not leach chemicals into its contents, and most plastics have not been proven to be the same, we prefer bottles made of steel just to be cautious. This bottle also seemed to impart a "plastic" flavor to the water if the contents sat in the bottle overnight or for long periods of time. This made us even more leery of the plastic and what might be happening to the liquid inside as it simply sat there.

While children do not need to touch the mouthpiece in order to use this bottle (a plus for germs sake), it also doesn't come with any kind of lid or debris cap so the spout is exposed to whatever the environment wants to throw at it. This can get a little gross over time, especially if the bottle is dropped on the ground or pushed to the bottom of a dirty diaper bag.
It is nice that the bottle is see thru  but we'd trade that feature for being insulated
It is nice that the bottle is see thru, but we'd trade that feature for being insulated
The last thing we weren't wild about is this bottle is not insulated. While possibly not a deal breaker, depending on how the bottle will be used, it is still a nice feature that is better to have and not need than need and not have. If children need to transport milk or similar liquids, the contents will not be viable for long without insulation or refrigeration.

Conclusion


The Nalgene looks like a good buy on the surface. It is cheaper than many of the other bottles in this review, is see thru for quick monitoring, and is lightweight and easy to hold. The bottle is nicely made, relatively leak-proof, and appears to be of good quality. Even if we overlook the fact that it is made of plastic, or if that is not a concern to you, it is still nearly impossible to drink from and most of our little testers stopped trying altogether and refused to use the bottle over time. It doesn't matter how cheap a bottle is or how much a parent might like it, if children can't get water to come out of the spout when they suck on it, it won't get used, simple as that. We do not recommend this bottle.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

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Most recent review: November 11, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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