Best Collapsible Water Bottles for Travel

Collapsible water bottles reduce your plastic footprint, save you money and help reduce the amount of stuff in your backpack. Most weigh less than 100g and fit straight in your pocket when not in use. 

And while there are a ton of foldable water bottles available, they’re not all created equal!

The South America Backpacker team have used packable bottles across Latin America, Southeast Asia and Europe. We’ve tested bottles on long-distance hikes, city breaks and extended backpacking trips. The bottles have been subjected to near-freezing temperatures and 40°C heat. They’ve been dropped, battered and collapsed more times than we care to admit! 

So, to save you trawling through the hundreds, if not thousands, of rubbish bottles online, we’ve done the hard work and listed the top seven collapsible water bottles available! 


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Best Collapsible Water Bottles – Quick Answers!

Image Product Features Price
Vapur Anti-Bottle

Vapur Anti-Bottle

  • Easy to carry
  • Super lightweight
  • Wide mouth
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Platypus Soft Bottle

Platypus Soft Bottle

  • Comfortable to hold
  • Rugged
  • Packs down super small
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Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens

Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens

  • Comes as a pack of two
  • Clips easily to your bag
  • Works with a range of filters 
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Katadyn BeFree

Katadyn BeFree

  • Filter in the cap
  • Nice feel
  • Very durable 
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Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene

Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene

  • Wide Mouth
  • Cap is tethered to the bottle
  • Lightweight 
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Hydrapak Stash

Hydrapak Stash

  • Unique design
  • Packs down small
  • 750ml bottle works with Katadyn's BeFree filter
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LifeStraw Peak Collapsible Squeeze

LifeStraw Peak Collapsible Squeeze

  • Removable filter included
  • Rugged
  • Filter can last up to 2000 litres
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The 7 Best Collapsible Water Bottles

The only prerequisite for bottles to make it onto our list is that they must be properly collapsible. There are plenty of bottles available that claim to compress but in reality, don’t get much smaller than a standard 500ml single-use plastic bottle. 

1. Vapur

Vapur, Collapsible Water Bottle- 1 Liter, 33 Ounces- Reusable Leak Proof Water Bottles with Carabiner for Working Out, Camping, Backpacking, Hiking, & Travel!, Water Element Anti-Bottle

Pros
  • Durable
  • Wide mouth
  • Easy to carry 
Cons
  • Non-standard thread
  • Shows aesthetic wear very quickly
  • Size and Weight — The anti-bottle from Vapur is available in a range of sizes from 500ml to 1.5 litres. The 1-litre model weighs just 56 grams! It’s our favourite size for travel, backpacking and hiking. When not in use, it compresses down to the size of a smartphone. 
  • Versatile — The Vapur anti-bottle was one of the first collapsible water bottles. Its triple-layer, ultra-durable plastic construction means this bottle can be flattened, rolled or folded when not in use. If the bottle has at least some water in it, it’s freestanding – although it’s more stable when completely full. It’s also dishwasher and freezer safe! 
  • Mouthpiece — The anti-bottle features a wide mouth that’s easy to fill from a tap or spring. The flip-top lid has a chunky thread so is quick to attach. It’s leakproof and comes with a 1-year warranty. 
  • Easy to Carry — A carabiner is attached to the lid of Vapur’s anti-bottle. It can be used for clipping the bottle to the outside of your bag and helps keep the bottle rolled up when empty. 
  • Durable — Vapur bottles are long-lasting. The triple-ply plastic wears very well. It gets marked and scratched over time but can deal with years of abuse before finally giving up. I used the same Vapur anti-bottle for one of Europe’s most iconic hikes, the Camino de Santiago and for more than a year of travel across Europe and South America. The bottle finally met its end when I dropped it full of water while travelling in Scotland and the cap broke! These days though, you can buy a replacement cap if this happens to you! 
Vapur Anti-Bottle
  • Price Range: $$
  • Best Feature: Durability
  • Feature To Improve: Standard thread on the bottle would make it more useable

2. Platypus Soft Bottle 

Platypus SoftBottle Flexible Water Bottle with Closure Cap, Platy Logo, 1.0-Liter

Pros
  • Nice shape to carry and drink from
  • Tough
  • Standard cap and thread
Cons
  • Hard to clean
  • Tough to fill from natural sources
  • Doesn't fit well into backpack bottle pockets
  • Size and Weight — The Platypus Soft Bottle holds 1 litre of water and weighs just 49 grams when empty. It can be rolled, folded or squashed down to around the size of a smartphone when not in use. This makes it easy to pack and store in your travel bag! Platypus also produce other bottles – up to 2 litres in capacity! These are a bit harder to carry around when full as they don’t fit into backpack water bottle pockets very well. 
  • Cap — The Soft Bottle comes with either a sports cap or a standard twist lid. These aren’t tethered to the bottle – be careful not to lose them! Thankfully, Platypus use a standard thread for their Soft Bottle. If you lose the original, a cap from any normal soft drink bottle will fit! 
  • Easy to Hold — The Soft Bottle has a nice hourglass shape to it. It’s easy to grip and is freestanding. But much like the Vapur Anti-Bottle, it stands better when full. It’s so lightweight when empty that even the smallest breeze will knock it over!
Platypus Soft Bottle
  • Price Range: $$
  • Best Feature: Standard thread for the cap
  • Feature To Improve: It's more difficult to fill than other collapsible bottles 

3. Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteen

Survivor Filter Collapsible Water Bottles, Canteens (33oz) 2 Pack (2L Total) - Durable Carabiners and Handles. Squeeze Water through a Filter or Use as Water Bottles and Reservoir. Light and BPA Free Water Bladders

Pros
  • Super lightweight
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Easy to attach to the outside of your bag
Cons
  • Not the most durable option
  • Prone to leaking around the cap
  • Size and Weight — The Collapsible Canteen weighs just 34 grams and can hold a litre of water. It compresses down in the same way as the Vapur and Platypus bottles but isn’t quite as durable. 
  • Elephant In The Room — To clear up any confusion from the off, this collapsible bottle does not come with a filter. It’s produced by a company called Survivor Filter. It’s compatible with their own filter, as well as Sawyer filters and any others that utilise a standard thread. 
  • Sports Cap — The Collapsible Canteen from Survivor Filter comes with a sports cap as standard. It means you don’t need to remove the lid (and risk losing it) every time you want a swig. There’s also a protective cover to prevent any dirt or grime from getting to the mouthpiece. This cover is attached to the bottle with a small plastic tab, so you can’t lose it while drinking!
  • Handle — The bottle features a grab handle and carabiner. It’s easy to hold and can be attached to the outside of your bag when empty or full. 
Survivor Filter Collapsible Canteens
  • Price Range: $
  • Best Feature: 2-for-1 – you get two Collapsible Canteens in each set
  • Feature To Improve: Prone to leaks around the cap

4. Katadyn BeFree

Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter, Fast Flow, 0.1 Micron EZ Clean Membrane for Endurance Sports, Camping and Backpacking, One Size, 8018006

Pros
  • Filter included
  • Nice rubbery feel
  • Filter works with other HydraPak flasks
Cons
  • Non-standard thread
  • Filter isn't a purifier 
  • Size and Weight — The Katadyn BeFree bottle is available in 1-litre and 600ml models. The 1-litre model weighs just 63 grams including the filter! 
  • Filter — Unlike other foldable water bottles, the BeFree has a filter built into the cap. It uses an EZ-Clean membrane with a pore size of 0.1 microns to remove bacteria, protozoa and cysts from your water. It’s not suitable for removing viruses, so don’t rely on it to filter tap water but it’s excellent for use in the backcountry! 
  • Materials — The Katadyn BeFree is made from TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). It feels and behaves more like silicone than plastic. It’s soft to the touch and is made to squash or crush down rather than be rolled or folded. 
  • Durability — This bottle is built for hiking. It’s tough enough to survive thousands of miles and as long as you look after the filter, it can clean more than 1000 litres of water before needing to be replaced. 
  • Cap — The sports cap is kept clean by a flip cover that stops dirt and debris getting in. It’s attached to the bottle, so you can’t lose it! The wide mouth is easy to fill but Katadyn have used a non-standard thread size, so you’ll need to get replacement caps and filters through them.
Katadyn BeFree
  • Price Range: $$$
  • Best Feature: In-built filter 
  • Feature To Improve: Non-standard thread

5. Wide Mouth Cantene (Nalgene)

Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene (32-Ounce)

Pros
  • Wide mouth
  • Cap is tethered
  • Multiple sizes available
Cons
  • Doesn't pack down as small as other options
  • Size and Weight — Nalgene’s Wide Mouth Cantene clocks in at just 60 grams – you won’t notice it in your bag at all! It can hold 950ml of water, ensuring you have plenty to drink while out exploring! 
  • Wide Mouth — Drinking from and filling the bottle is easy thanks to the classic Nalgene wide mouth and screw top. The cap remains attached to the bottle via a plastic loop. It prevents you losing the lid – which would make the bottle essentially useless. 
  • Durability — This collapsible bottle is a great choice for backpackers and travellers alike. It’s leakproof, temperature resistant and dishwasher safe. The multilayer film construction and heat-welded seams mean it’s durable enough to deal with long-term travel. The plastic is a little thicker than in most collapsible bottles. Combined with the gusseted bottom, this thicker material allows the bottle to easily stand up when full. 
  • Other Models — The Wide Mouth Cantene is also available in 1.4-litre and 2.8-litre models. While we prefer the 950ml version (it’s easier to pack and use on the road), the 1.4-litre model is a good choice if you drink a lot each day! 
Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene
  • Price Range: $$
  • Best Feature: Wide mouth
  • Feature To Improve: Thicker plastic makes the bottle stiffer than others 

6. HydraPak Stash 

Hydrapak Stash - Collapsible BPA & PVC Free Hiking and Backpacking Water Bottle (750 ml) - Mammoth Grey

Pros
  • Unique hockey puck design
  • The 750ml model works with Katadyn's BeFree filter
Cons
  • Can be awkward to drink from
  • Non-standard thread
  • Hard to clean
  • Size and Weight — The HydraPak Stash is available in 750ml and 1-litre models. Our favourite is the 1-litre but the smaller bottle is worth considering too. The 1-litre version weighs in at just over 100g, while the 750ml model is just under. 
  • 750ml — The smaller Stash bottle uses the same 42mm cap size as Katadyn’s BeFree. This means the bottle is compatible with the BeFree filter – although using the filter means the bottle doesn’t pack down as small. 
  • Packability — The Stash doesn’t compress in the same way as other soft bottles on this list. Instead, it collapses down into a small disk. It’s still easy to pack away, or store in a pocket but is more rigid than other soft bottles. 
  • Materials — The bulk of the HydraPak Stash is made from TPU. It’s rubbery to the touch, feeling more like silicone than plastic. The material is durable and temperature resistant. You can freeze the Stash and store hot water in it – don’t use it to store boiling water though, anything over 60° and the plastic will begin to break down. 
Hydrapak Stash
  • Price Range: $$
  • Best Feature: Unique design
  • Feature To Improve: Tough to drink from with one hand 

7. LifeStraw Peak Collapsible Squeeze 

LifeStraw Peak Series - Collapsible Squeeze Bottle Water Filter System – 1L for Trail Running, Through Hiking, Travel, Cycling, and Fishing, Dark Mountain Gray

Pros
  • Filter included
  • Filter can be removed if not required
  • Durable 
Cons
  • Bottle doesn't stand up
  • Filter doesn't remove viruses
  • Filter needs to be carefully looked after
  • Size and Weight — The LifeStraw Peak Collapsible Squeeze is available in 1-litre and 650ml models. As per usual, we recommend the 1-litre version because it allows you to carry enough water for longer days out. It weighs 110g, so a little more than other collapsible bottles. 
  • Filter — The reason for the additional weight is LifeStraw’s Peak Series Microfilter that comes with the bottle. It can be attached to the inside of the lid, so water is cleaned with every sip. It can also be removed to extend the filter’s life if clean water is easily accessible. The filter removes bacteria, parasites, microplastics and other contaminants. It doesn’t remove viruses though, so is more suited to cleaning water from lakes and streams than taps. The filter lasts around 2000 litres before needing to be replaced – look after it with the backwashing kit to ensure it remains in good working order. When the filter needs replacing, it will stop letting water through. 
  • Super Durable — LifeStraw’s Peak Collapsible Squeeze is made from thicker materials than most collapsible bottles. While this adds a little to the overall weight, the durability it adds is astounding. You can drop this bottle more than 10 feet, while full of water, and it’ll just bounce around like nothing happened! 
  • Shape — The biggest downside is that the Collapsible Squeeze has a rounded bottom. This makes it easier to cram into backpack pockets but also prevents it from being able to stand.
LifeStraw Peak Collapsible Squeeze
  • Price Range: $$$$
  • Best Feature: Lifestraw filter included
  • Feature To Improve: Doesn't stand up by itself 

What to Look for in a Collapsible Water Bottle

Durability

If your bottle isn’t durable, it’s a waste of time, money and plastic. Plenty of collapsible bottles will last years of travel if cared for properly. Don’t skimp on a crappy bottle that falls apart within a week or two! 

Materials Used

Almost all collapsible water bottles are made of plastic or silicone. And while we’re trying to avoid plastic as much as possible, reusing a single bottle is much better than using two or three single-use bottles each day. 

Both silicone and plastic bottles come with pros and cons. Silicone bottles are softer and more flexible while harder plastic options tend to be cheaper and still reliable enough to see you through your travels. 

Filters

While a filtered water bottle isn’t the be-all and end-all of travel gear, having one ensures access to clean water and helps save you money on the road. But many bottles with filters are bulky, taking up valuable space and weight allowance in your travel bag!

Enter the collapsible water bottle with filter. 

Lightweight, packable and offering good filtration options (although rarely full purification capabilities), packable water bottles with filters like the Katadyn BeFree or LifeStraw Peak Collapsible Squeeze are an excellent addition to any traveller’s arsenal! 

Capacity

Don’t get caught short of water while exploring. Having a bottle that will only hold enough water for a few hours is a waste of time. Likewise, a bottle that’s too big won’t end up being used because of its size and weight. 

We always recommend opting for a bottle around 1 litre in size. This will be enough to get through most days while still being small enough to carry with ease. 


Collapsible Water Bottle FAQs

Are collapsible water bottles eco-friendly?

Collapsible water bottles might be made of plastic but using one can have a big impact on how eco-friendly you are. Across the world, 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute. More than 50% of these end up in oceans or landfill. By reusing a collapsible water bottle, you’re reducing the amount of single-use plastic bottles in circulation. 

Are collapsible water bottles safe?

Yes, collapsible water bottles are safe. Just make sure the bottle you’ve got is BPA and BPS-free. It’s good to avoid phthalates where possible too. 
All the bottles mentioned on this list are free from harmful chemicals or materials. They’re all safe to use. 

How to wash a collapsible water bottle?

Washing a collapsible water bottle is easy. Most are dishwasher safe. You can just throw them onto the top rack and let the dishwasher work its magic. If you don’t have a dishwasher, hot soapy water and a brush or cloth will do the trick. Just make sure you get into all the corners and scrub well around the lid. 

How do I dry a collapsible water bottle?

After washing your collapsible water bottle, you’ll want to dry it. The best thing to do is to leave it upside-down to drain and air dry. 

What is the best size for a water bottle?

The best-size water bottle will differ from person to person. A good starting point is 1 litre. That’s enough to see you through half a day of normal activity or an overnight bus journey. 
On average, you should drink between 2-3 litres of water a day, especially if you’re somewhere hot or exercising. 

Can I fill my collapsible water bottle with liquids other than water?

Yes, you can fill your collapsible bottle with different liquids. Be aware that if you use your bottle for a strong-flavoured drink like coffee or orange juice, it will be hard to remove the flavour completely from the bottle – no matter how many times you wash it! 


A Round Up of the Best Collapsible Water Bottles

Save money, space in your backpack and reduce your plastic footprint with one of these collapsible bottles. Each packs down small and will limit the amount of single use plastic bottles you’ll need while you travel. 

Our overall favourite collapsible bottle for travel is the Vapur anti-bottle, with the Platypus Soft Bottle coming a close second. 

For hikers, the Katdyn BeFree is an excellent choice. The filter allows you to drink water from rivers and streams without fear of getting ill. This is also true of the LifeStraw Peak Collapsible Squeeze which features one of LifeStraw’s Peak Series Micro Filters. 

The Wide Mouth Cantene from Nalgene is a robust choice but it tends not to pack down as well as other bottles, while the Survivor Filter Collapsible bottle offers excellent value for money. 

Finally, Hydrapak’s Stash Bottle is an innovative collapsible bottle which compresses down into a disk rather than being squashed or rolled. 

Have we missed your favourite collapsible water bottle from our list? Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts!

Tim Ashdown Bio Pic
Tim Ashdown | Gear Specialist

After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since then, he has travelled Southeast Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and backpacked South America. His first book, From Paralysis to Santiago, chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident and will be released later this year.

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