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Klean Kanteen Water Bottles and Bacteria

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I like to give my travel gear a good test run before yaying or naying in on the travelogue. Prior to traveling through the Balkans, Turkey, and the Middle East I acquired a couple of Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles. I was excited about them — even though their $20 a piece price tag was a little steep — and I wrote an introductory review of them at, Stainless Steel Water Bottles for Travel.


Klean Kanteen water bottle

I have now tested out these Klean Kanteen water bottles during the past four months of travel, and found that their only major flaw is the fact that the lips on the bottles are very poorly designed. I noticed this design flaw immediately and wrote the following:

“The lip at the drinking end of the bottle folds outward, leaving a hard to clean depression where bacteria can build up and then go into your mouth.” –Stainless Steel Water Bottles for Travel


Prediction that the depression under the lip of a Klean Kanteen water bottle would act as a sink for bacteria.

This prediction has now come to fruition, I recently looked into the under the lip depression of one my bottles and found a weird world of bacterial flora and cached crumbs of food growing wild all over the place.

I then noted to myself that whenever I took a drink from this bottle, I was also smooching this bacterial mess as well.

Photos of bacteria growing under the lip of a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle


Weird world of bacterial flora growing under the lip of a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle.


The stainless steel lip of a Klean Kanteen water bottle is simply folded over and not welded flush to the neck of the bottle, which creates a hiding spot for bacteria to grow in.

I must state here that if these Klean Kanteen water bottles are intended for outdoor or traveling use — which I am assuming they are — then they were subjected to ordinary pressures. I did not attempt to grow this bacteria by not washing the bottles — to the contrary, I washed them regularly. But, as is evident, to be cleaned properly, the underside of the lips on these bottles would need to be scrubbed out with a bristled brush. I know of few travelers or long distance hikers who are going to consider packing out such an implement.

From my novice analysis, it seems as if it would be simple to remove this design flaw from these bottles. The manufacturer would only need to weld the upper lip of the bottle flush with the neck. It seems like a simple procedure to ensure that their product is not exposing its users to weird strands of bacteria through a design flaw that serves the function of a petri dish.

I cannot report that Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles live up to their name.

Filed under Travel Gear

Vagabond Journey on water bottles for travel
Stainless Steel Water Bottles for Travel
Turn a plastic bag into a cup

Klean Kanteen Bottles are Petri Dishes for Bacteria

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Filed under: Maine, North America, USA

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Cincinnati, Ohio, USAMap