The Travel Water Bottles that Collapse Down the Smallest—Reviewed

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2023-06-27
PUBLISHED ON  2023-06-20

Your Minimalist Guide

Mose Hayward

Likes Foldable Stuff

I get thirsty, but I hate buying plastic bottles of water.

And I hate taking up extra space in my pack; I’m a minimalist travel packer, after all.

The solution is collapsible water bottles. I’ve tried a number of them and nothing is perfect, but there are some good options to recommend, depending on your needs.

All collapsible water bottles featured here are suitable for use on airplanes; they can be emptied before and refilled after going through security checks.

The Best Collapsible Water Bottles for Travel

My favorite way to carry water on my adventures is the Hydaway 17 oz. / 500 mL Collapsible Water Bottle; it’s well-built, extremely practical, hangs from a hook, and folds up small enough to fit in a pocket when not in use. There is also a larger 25 oz. / 750 mL Hydaway to consider and an insulated Hydaway (16 oz. / 473 mL).

Check on Amazon

(Update: Hydaway reached out to offer 15% off all products to our dear, sexy, hydrated readers. Just use the code MINTRAV15 at the direct from Hydaway link above.)

For a cheaper option with plastic instead of silicon, the Vapur 500 mL and Vapur 1 Liter are also great (discussed further below).

My Favorite Travel Water Bottle Overall: The Hydaway Line

The Hydaway’s wide-mouth lid makes it easy to wash by hand or in a dishwasher. It is secure and I’ve had no leaks when it’s closed.

Since I purchased a Hydaway I’ve always had it with me—and not only while traveling. The fact that it folds down so small makes it a no-brainer to take everywhere. And this is key; having a quality and well-designed water bottle encourages me to take a few good actions for myself and for the planet:

  • I am less likely to buy beverages in single-use plastics.
  • I am likely to drink more water. The CDC recommends carrying a water bottle throughout the day; there are plenty of established health benefits.
  • I am less likely to opt for less-healthy beverages (caffeine, alcohol, soda, and other high-calorie, sneaky, obesity inducing drinks).
  • I spend less money. A good water bottle pays for itself after just a week or two, as opposed to being out and about and purchasing drinks constantly.

For me to really start to harness these advantages, it was imperative to have a water bottle that I actually am motivated to carry with me. And that’s how the Hydaway has actually broken through and changed my habits.

The Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle 17 oz 500 ml is pictured here folded up; both it and the larger 25 oz / 750 mL model collapse down to just over an inch thick.
The Hydaway slips easily into a coat pocket when no longer needed.

There are a couple of different versions of the Hydaway to choose from.

Key Advantages of the Hydaway

A Few Drawbacks

Exact Dimensions

Cheaper Options Using Plastic Instead of Silicone: Vapur Water Bottles

Prior to switching to the Hydaway water bottle, I used a Vapur Flexible Water Bottle during a few years of constant travel. It was also excellent and held up well. There are various sizes available at that link, ranging from 16 oz / 500 mL up to 50 oz / 1.5 L. Since they all roll up to about the same size when not in use, the bigger sizes may have more appeal.

Compared to the Hydaway, the key advantage of the Vapur for some is that it is made of plastic. This means it’s generally a lot cheaper, and those bothered by the Hydaway’s silicone may find that the plastic material imparts less of a smell/taste. When empty, the Vapur rolls up neatly and its plastic clip can hold the unit rolled up. As with the Hydaway, the Vapur is BPA-free, but it is still made of flexible plastic, and I do wonder what harms are left to be discovered from BPA-free alternative plastics. But it’s certainly safe as far as we know.

Key Advantages of Vapur

A Few Drawbacks

We’ve experimented with a few other collapsible or foldable or scrunchable water bottle options in the past but most are not ideal as they don’t actually fold up all that small.

A classy, older collapsible drinking vessel that is fun but less practical is the Spanish goat skin drink sack, the bota. I enjoy bringing one for wine for picnics, mostly because of the mishaps that ensue when the uninitiated attempt to hold it up and take aim at their mouths. Wine, as with other pleasures, can be surprisingly fun when it squirts.

Wrap Up: And the Best Fold-Up Water Carrying Solution for You Is…?

Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle 17 oz / 500 mL
The best collapsible water bottle we’ve tried. It’s practical for travel and daily use, with a convenient loop for hanging from a carabiner.
Vapur Flexible Water Bottle
This is a plastic alternative that rolls up quite small when not in use. It is available in a variety of capacities and is a bit cheaper.

Are we missing something important in terms of easy, practical, environmentally friendly ways to stay hydrated on the move? Drop us a note in the comments!


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