I hadn’t given much thought to water bottles. For decades, I’ve used the usual bicycle water bottles for bike riding and wide-mouth Nalgene bottles for boating and camping. You open the valve or lid, take a drink, and close it up. It was as simple as can be. At least until I chanced upon the Spray Bottle from Lunatec. It is made of BPA-free plastic and comes in four sizes: 650ml, 750ml, 1,000ml, and 1.5 liter. The bottle sides are marked with milliliters and fluid ounces.
The lid is what makes the Spray Bottle interesting. At its center is an air pump that provides pressure; its cylinder extends down into the bottle and the piston rod rises from the center of the lid. When the bottle is pressurized, the gray disc in the middle is the trigger for the spray.
The intake for the pump is a slender, flexible tube with a 3/4″-diameter cylinder attached to its end. It has a screen on its bottom and a weight inside which helps shift the intake to the lowest point of the bottle, no matter what position it is in, even upside down.
The other end of the hose slips over a stem in the bottom of the lid. It has ridges to hold the tube in place and a small hole. When the tube is covering the hole, water is delivered in a steady stream, called Stealth Mode. Slip the tube down slightly to uncover the hole and the water comes out in Pulse Mode, much like a water flosser. Stealth Mode conserves pressure and is best for drinking and misting. Pulse Mode conserves water, and the impact it creates is better suited for cleaning.
The nozzle on the front to the cap is threaded, and turning the nozzle clockwise creates a cone of fine mist. Turning the nozzle counterclockwise narrows the cone to a stream that gets progressively more slender and forceful. Turned further counterclockwise, the nozzle will come off and the water will spray in three jets for a miniature shower and the maximum flow of water
When the bottle is filled to the mark on the side of the bottle, there’s an air space left for pressurizing the bottle. Six pumps are all that’s required at the start; more as the water is used and the air space increases.
For one of my early trials, I took the bottle biking. The 750ml size was a good, snug fit for the bottle cage attached to the bike frame. Using the Spray Bottle had significant advantages over my standard bike bottle: I didn’t have to operate a valve with my teeth for starters, nor did I have to tip the bottle up to get the water to come out. With a half-empty standard bottle, I have to look around it to see the road ahead, and when I squeeze it, the water comes out in unpredictable ways. Because I’m usually breathing hard, I often end up coughing.
With the Spray Bottle, I can drink with the bottle well out of my field of vision and the stream is gentler and easier to control. The only downside was that the road vibration twisted the piston-plunger cap off somewhere without my noticing. I was able to replace it with a piece of HDPE plastic with a 5/16″ hole drilled in it. It went on quite tight without having to cut threads.
For camping the Spray Bottle works well for washing dishes with the stream, cooling off with the mist. Irrigating cuts and washing sand off feet are easier with water under pressure than water just poured. Wherever water is needed, a pressurized stream is usually an advantage.
One of the things I found especially satisfying is taking a sip of water when I’m in bed and wake in the middle of the night, parched. With a Nalgene bottle, it takes two hands to unscrew the lid, then I have to sit up to drink, and I often tip the bottle too much and get water running down my cheeks onto the bedding. With the Spray Bottle, I can operate it with one hand, and because I can hold the bottle on its side (or use the optional Spray Tube), I don’t even have to lift my head—just bring the nozzle to my mouth, and press the trigger. I barely have to wake up to wet my whistle, and that alone made the purchase worthwhile.
Christopher Cunningham is the editor of Small Boats Magazine.
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