Saturday, June 25, 2011

Praxis: Thrift Store Score -- USGI canteen substitute, the 27 OZ/ 800ML Klean Kanteen. Po'-boy logistics.

Klean Kanteen 27 ounce version.

Having been stuck at home for the past two days, I stopped by my favorite thrift store this morning and found a half-dozen of these.

"Klean Kanteen" 27oz Wide Bottles are made of food-grade stainless steel, are BPA-free and wide mouthed. They are durable, lightweight and easy to clean which makes them an excellent substitute for USGI 1 Quart or 2 Quart canteens. The weight of the 27 ounce version is 6.25 ounces (w/o cap), is 8.625” high (w/o cap) x 2.75” wide. The opening diameter is 2.125” (54 mm) and is made of 18/8, food-grade stainless steel, with no liner needed.

USGI 1 Quart canteen with cover and cup.

They are also unlikely to cause any comment hanging off an urban back pack or fanny belt. The Klean Kanteen, which comes in 27 oz and 40 oz wide mouth bottle versions are BPA-free, have a wide mouth for easy filling and pouring (and easy to inspect and clean, too, something that USGI's are notoriously difficult to do). Some versions have a stainless steel screw cap with polypropylene loop top, others are made of poly in their entirety. Either version is easy to grip and seals tight to prevent leakage. The stainless bottle can handle hot or cold beverages, something the plastic USGI canteens cannot.

USGI 2 Quart canteen with cover and strap.

The stainless steel does not retain or impart flavors and is dishwasher safe. The loop top lets you attach the bottle to a backpack or belt loop using a small, lightweight utility carabiner. It also works with standard back-country water filters

One review says:

Here's full-circle for you: we've gone from stainless steel canteens to plastic water bottles to...stainless steel Kanteens.

Why are we back to stainless steel? In a word: anxiety. Plastic, for all its wondrous convenience, turns out to be a lousy place to store water if you care about things like taste or possible toxic chemical exposure.

The Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle offers possibly the safest, most stable water storage option for backcountry travel, unless you're willing to carry glass carafes in your pack.

With a Klean Kanteen, you are saying a firm farewell to the world of hazardous plastic resins and synthetic hormones (aka BPA), be the health risks real or imagined.

You also get to say goodbye to HDPE bottle's icky plastic scent/aftertaste.

Sensitive palates may notice a hint of a metallic tang when drinking water from a Klean Kanteen, and stainless steel is definitely not flattering to water that is less than, shall we say, fresh (don't drink water from the Colorado in one, unless you love the stench of algae).

But certainly, this is a vast improvement in taste over HDPE and chemical stability over Lexan.

I think it's fair to note that Klean Kanteens are currently manufactured in China, meaning you're getting the Chinese version of stainless steel, which may or may not be up to spec in today's world.

That said, the Kanteen is unpainted, uncoated, and presumably free from nasty leaching chemicals. The Kanteen is also downright indestructible as far as typical backcountry threats are concerned. You might be able to damage one by driving your car over it, but short of that, you're not going to put a hole in one. Neither is freezing water going to be a concern, but winter travelers should note the Kanteen will likely not fit into a standard insulating sleeve because of its extended length.

The Klean Kanteen is undeniably heavy compared to its plastic and aluminum counterparts. You can get the Kanteen in 40 and 27 ounce sizes. Either is significantly heavier than a comparable Lexan bottle, which of course is heavier than an HDPE bottle. One possible way to save weight: leave your cook pot at home. You can put a Klean Kanteen on your stove and boil water in it. It is steel, after all. (Emphasis supplied, MBV.)

For backcountry use, I've migrated away from my Kanteen in favor of Sigg's excellent aluminum bottles. But for use around the home, office, or in the car, you may find the Kanteen a better choice. Weight won't be a factor here, and you can safely store water as long as you like in the Kanteen, unlike all the other choices.

Klean Kanteen 40 ounce version.

The 40 fluid ounces (1182 ml) version weighs 7.375 ounces (w/o cap). It is 8.625” high (w/o cap) x 3.5” wide. Like the 27 ounce version has an opening diameter of 2.125” (54 mm).

I would say that the 27 ounces that I picked up today are just about the right size for light tactical movement. You will also find them in 12 ounce and 18 ounce versions.

Here's the best part. The thrift stores around here sell these boogers for between $.25 to $.99 each. Today I got six of them (in shiny stainless, no paint, as pictured at the top) with the poly cap, brand new for $.39 each. Still had the tags on them. As most regular readers know, I pick up stuff like this so I can issue them later to poor boys who lack the resources for tactical gear.

Again, don't overlook thrift stores as a source for po'-boy militia logistics.


Anonymous said...

I think the disadvantage is not being able to squeeze air out of partially drank canteens. To reduce noise and volume.
I use a steel water bottle for everyday water drinking, but in the field I will put up with plastic. Even a 1.25L coke bottle recycled might be beneficial in the field.

...also makes a good fuel bottle for a white gas stove. (need to be marked as such)

39 Cents is an amazing deal.


John Hardin said...

Not to mention you can fill it up and put it over a fire to sterilize the water. Try doing that with a plastic canteen...

Dedicated_Dad said...

I REALLY would like to know where this magic thrift-store is...

'Round here, if you DO find something worth having, it's likely priced HIGHER than the item would cost new in a more upscale establishment.

When I've pointed this out from time to time, I was told "it's a DONATION."

My response -- "People who can afford to pay more than an item is worth aren't likely to be shopping here - which MIGHT be why I'm the only 'customer' in the store" - went right over her somewhat oversized head...

Anonymous said...

I have a stainless steel officer canteen from WWII I use. It fits stoves and cups and is all but indistructable.
I found it at a flea market.

dubber308 said...

I've been hitting up the local garage and yard sales. In the past couple of months I've picked up a MOLLE II vest for $1, a GI poncho, with Thinsulate liner for $8, two 2-qt canteens, with one cover, for $2, four 1-qt canteens, a MOLLE six magazine carrier, two 30 round AR mags, a set of ALICE gear with two 30 round pouches, pistol belt, butt pack, two canteens and carriers, 500 rounds of Lake City 7.62 match brass for $20 (which I traded for 200 rounds of .223), and more that I can't remember off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap - score! I think I paid $24 at EDC Depot for one of those! You iz lucky!