Water Bottle Cultural Values

6c3c9b9bf42a4326829f3405e36df4adThey other day I commented to my friends that the white kids like to carry water bottles that are more like water tankers; they’re apocalypse proof, unwieldy, and they carry enough water for a small community.  They are often brand name (I think “hydroflask” was the water taker of choice at my last school”) and they are covered with stickers that express their identity; brand name stickers, European country bumper stickers, inspirational quote stickers. Well, you can read about it here.  There’s usually a way to clip on a carabiner so it can be clipped to your bug-out bag.

I was just being facetious when I said it was a white kid thing, but for my friend, it hit home. He gasped and said he was a white kid with a white kid water tank.  I started thinking about other cultures’ preferred water bottles.


In my family, we carry Zojirushi water bottles; Zojirushi is a Japanese brand. You can see what’s important to them. These bottles are vacuum insulated and highly engineered to be pleasant to drink from, whether the drink is hot or iced. No twisting is involved when you drink from it; the top pops open with a flip at the touch of a button, exposing a spout that has a ventilation hole, to prevent glugging. When you’re not drinking, from it, a simple switch slides easily with the thumb to secure the flip top. An American would look at it and say that it’s too small and overly engineered. It does not carry a week’s worth of water, and there’s no place for a carabiner clip. Unlike an American water bottle, it’s not about survival hydration; it’s about the pleasure of beverages.


Here’s how Chinese people stay hydrated; with a travel tea mug.  It’s beverage sized, so users can refill it with hot water from the kettle in every home and office.  It’s glass, so it’s inexpensive and breakable. It’s a simple twist off top. Most importantly is that you can see into it and appreciate the whole tea leaves. They are not drinking dirty, dried up tea leaves that are so brittle and broken that they must be served in a “tea bag.”  What is that disposable sachet even made of, and why is it acceptable to put it in your drink?  Is it leaching chemicals into your tea?  Chinese people buy whole, hand picked tea leaves that bloom in hot water and sink to the bottom; no need for a filter. They want to be able to see those leaves. 

I’m not sure about what other cultures do, although I suspect that there will be many “disposable plastic bottle” answers, as well as “walk to the damn drinking fountain” answers. If your water bottle says something about you and/or your cultural perspective, please share in the comments.

1 thought on “Water Bottle Cultural Values

  1. I’m a white girl with a hydroflask (skinny, normal sized). I used it in Oxford because it doesn’t leak, and i could use it in that stunning old library without getting kicked out. Now i use it at work for coffee. I see your *gorgeous* tea bottle and want it, but also don’t need another bottle…! If I lose or break this one, I’m going to remember that brand. 😍


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