Thursday, October 22, 2009

On water bottles

I have a lot of water bottles and my house is small and kitchen storage, especially, is at a premium. Currently, the bottles take up an entire shelf above the dishes. That's ok, except the shelf isn't tall enough to accommodate a tall bottle with its inverted lid, so the lids get put in a basket, creating the problem of mismatched bottles and lids. Color issue aside, mismatches create opportunity for dribbles at best, precious ounces of lost hydration opportunity at worst. You would think manufacturers would agree on a bottle/cap standard, but no. I have two kinds: like the lids you see in the picture above, and lids with a more rounded pattern. I prefer the latter and have more of the former, but I don't really care so long as I don't have to spend any time playing "try-and-match" when I'm in a hurry to get on the bike.

Also, I don't like all the bottles equally. I have a favorite few I use nearly daily, that I really don't want to lose. I also have a set that's ok -- they have good squeeze factor and whatnot, but if they should go missing, I wouldn't spend too much time mourning. These, I take to supported stage races. I've been fortunate enough so far to enjoy the company of teammates at many such races, but only once were we supported to the point of not having to pony up 8-10 bottles for the support vehicle and hand-up crew (Nature Valley Pro Ride Team). Every other time, each team member puts bottles in and tries to go home with the same number she arrived with, and if she's lucky, she'll get the ones she brought.

The final category of bottles are those I wouldn't mind losing. I loan these, let the boys use them, or put them to work as sauce dispensing containers in the kitchen.

Thus, the problem is to categorize the bottles and sort the lids in a space efficient way such that everyone knows which bottles they're free to use and can easily get an appropriate lid.

Thanks to all the input yesterday, I believe I have a solution meeting my requirements:
  • Rectangular containers, like those used for flatware, for the lids. They will also serve to divide the bottles on the shelf.
  • Some labels, so everyone knows which bottles they can use and which lids are compatible with those bottles.
I know. Sounds like over-analysis, but I'll tell you, it's the little, completely unnecessary, time stealing annoyances all through the day that put me on edge -- not big issues.


bryan said...

ah, see ... I just solve the problem by only using a specific type of bottle -- the Specialized 21oz model. They're all interchangeable. Chris uses the Cambelbak podium bottle, so it's easy to steer clear of those.

Jack, however, doesn't discriminate. He'll take anything he can get his hands on.

karl's jr. said...

what are your favorites?

specializeds seem to have the best flow, but they seem to leak for me.

camelbacks don't seem to leak, but the flow isn't as good, and gunk can get trapped in the valve.

i have one with a hard plastic tip that i got for free, and i wouldn't take again if it was free

i haven't tried any elite bottles...

sydney said...

@Bryan, that's neat and tidy. I'm afraid my bottle consumption and loss is so great, I don't get too picky. I take them when I can get them for free.

@karl's jr., I like the specialized ones, but they are the picky ones and will leak if not with their own special cap. I have to check the small print on the bottom of the other bottles I like to see who makes them.

One thing though, like you, I hate a hard tip. The Tulsa Tough bottles are the worst. They do make adequate sauce containers though.

Bri said...

My favorite 2009 discovery -- those bags at the grocery/liquor store that are meant to carry 6 bottles of wine (the ones that look like reusable shopping bags with dividers). PERFECT for waterbottles to take to the feed zone. Keeps them upright, no chance of spilling, always sits on the ground without falling over and spilling out, etc. (Hope all's well!)

sydney said...

That's a great idea, Bri.