Confession time: Even though I own numerous high-quality vacuum bottles (those of us over 45 use the word thermos), I rarely take one into the field with me hunting, fishing or hiking. Why? I like to travel light, and it’s easier to pack a plastic water bottle (the kind you recycle) instead of toting the extra weight of dedicated container.
For that reason, I was reluctant when I was recently given the chance to field test the GSI Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 Vacuum Bottle.
The only reason I said yes was the word “Microlite” in its name. Maybe this bottle would be worth its weight in stainless?
Because any bottle is worthless if it leaks, my first test was a simple one, and performed in my kitchen. I filled the Microlite 500 with Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid (love that stuff!) and turned it upside down in a large, white mixing bowl. Then I let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 days. Good news: Not a single drop of my favorite kid drink leaked from the bottle.
Of course, a real test would happen in the field, so I tossed the Microlite 500 into my turkey hunting vest for a weekend of running-and-gunning in South Dakota. I didn’t plan on babying the bottle, but I wouldn’t abuse it either.
I don’t really care if a stainless bottle can withstand the bite of grizzly. You see, if I get that close to an angry bear, the least of my concerns is whether my hot cocoa has been compromised. As I’ve seen time and time again, any vacuum bottle built to be bear-, bullet- and bomb-proof is too heavy for me to take into the field. I have an entire kitchen cabinet filled with such high-priced “take it to the moon and back” stainless bottles, and they rarely leave home. Very simply, they’re overkill (read, overweight) for 99.9 percent of my outdoor adventures.
So how did the GSI Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 Vacuum Bottle perform in the turkey woods? On a scale of 1 to 5 gobbles, I give it a 5.
Size: As the photo above shows, it’s only slightly taller than a standard water bottle. And the Microlite 500 has high-quality, durable, 18/8 stainless-steel walls measuring only 2mm thick, which is thinner than most single-wall plastic bottles. During my turkey hunt, I liked the fact that unlike a recyclable plastic water bottle, the Microlite 500 was much quieter; it didn’t make a noisy crunching sound when stuffed in the cargo area of my turkey vest.
Weight: I didn’t put various stainless bottles on a scale to document the difference, but I’m sure the Microlite 500 is at least 30 percent lighter than similar bottles I own. Per the spec chart below, it weighs only 7.9 oz.
Function: Very simply, it’s easy to use the push-button, flip-top cap and drink from the Microlite 500. Another great feature is the bottle’s built-in rubber drink coaster on the bottom.
I didn’t run a rigorous test to see whether the bottle met or surpassed the claim of “provides 8 hours heat and 16 hours cold retention” because I drink fluids far sooner than that. Again, this gets back to the overkill statement I made earlier – I don’t need a thermos that keeps ice for a week.
I did, however, run a simple heat test at home that mimics a day in the deer stand: I filled the Microlite 500 with hot tap water (still okay to the touch) and then placed the bottle in my 37-degree refrigerator. After 4 hours (generally the longest period I’ll sit on a deer stand), the water was still hot; after 8 hours, it was still warm. Impressive!
At a price of $25.95, I think the GSI Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 Vacuum Bottle is a good value. I look forward to using it this spring on a black bear hunt and several fishing trips.
One final note: The Microlite 500 comes in six colors: black, red, blue, silver/stainless, blaze-orange, and green. As you can see, I chose blaze-orange. That way, it’s easy to see, even if I set it down beside me on the forest floor.
Capacity: 17 fl. oz.
Weight: 7.9 oz.
Dimensions: 3” x 2.6” x 9.2”
Material: 18/8 Stainless Steel