Gear Review – The Nalgene Cantene


On a thread over at and on a bonus gear episode of our podcast, the same question was asked.

What are your favorite items?  The items that always seem to be in your pack no matter what the trip, have stood the test of time and and you can’t fathom heading into the outdoors without.

For me, the following items came directly to mind:

With the exception of the dress shirt, these are all items I use in all four seasons.

They are also items I’ve used in one iteration or another for over a decade.  My pack may change, I may try a different type of pad or sleeping bag (quilt!), but the above items are almost always in my pack.  Be it backpacking, day hikes, climbs or skis. They work for me.

Add to this list the Nalgene Cantene.

With fresh silt from Dominguez Canyon included…..

Like all the really good pieces of gear, it is an item that I don’t think about but immediately miss if I don’t have it.

Why the Nalgene Cantene?

Because it is light (a hair over 2 oz for the 96 oz  capacity version), folds up nicely when not in use and lets me haul water when a sports drink bottle or two is not enough.   Best of all, it has a wide mouth that makes it easier to both fill up and pour out water. In winter backpacking, this large mouth makes things much easier when pouring snow melt from a pot into this container.

There it is..way back in 2002 with the rest of my PCT gear.


The Nalgene Cantene, because of its wide mouth, is more versatile than the similar Platypus.  I prefer  the 96 oz capacity version because , for a slight weight penalty vs small capacity models, there is much more water capacity in relation to its weight.

Even if it means hauling this rather silty water from the Platte R. !

The down side to this product? It is not meant to be pulled out all the time, hauled around in camp, banged up, dropped, etc. It is reasonably durable, but it is not bomber.  But that’s not it is meant for.  Use the Nalgene Cantene for its designed use and you will be happy for many miles of wandering.

Bottom line: Light, versatile, collapsible and only $11. A great addition to any gear kit.

d-low approves! 😉


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10 years ago

I use the 96 oz Nalgene Cantene too and love it. I forgot it on one of my last trips and was not a happy camper. I even tried one of those Playtpus bags that has the zipper on the top and it was dreadful.

Greg B
10 years ago


This item is a big part of my Sawyer water filter setup.

I use a JetFlow adapter and a Home Depot gasket to match the Nalgene to the Sawyer filter and it eliminates the leaky bag problem which plagues the Sawyer Sqeeze.