Friday, November 4, 2011

Pure Glass Bottle Reusable Vessel: Explorer Edition

As some of you may remember, I was sent Pure Glass Bottle's Traveler vessel about a year ago. Although my steadily increasing collection of reusable bottles has caused me to use it a bit less than I previously did, it is still one of my favorite vessels. Naturally, I was excited when Pure Glass Bottle contacted me with an opportunity to review their other, larger vessel design: the Explorer.

I mentioned the Explorer briefly in my previous review of the Traveler. Like the Traveler, the Explorer is made of 100% pure glass and coated with a non-removable, impact-resistant material that increases the strength, tactility, and safety of the glass. However, while the Traveler only holds 17 fluid ounces, the Explorer clocks in at an impressive 25 ounces. To me, this is probably the most appealing aspect of this bottle, as the previous upper limit of my reusable bottle arsenal was only 20 ounces. I drink a lot of water during the day, and I always welcome larger-volume bottles, as the constant return trips to various water fountains can grow tiresome when using smaller bottles. In contrast with the Traveler, the Explorer sports a one-piece body design, with an orifice wide enough to easily add ice cubes, flavoring powders, or other enhancers to your beverage. 

Obviously, as the capacity of a bottle increases, so does its overall size and weight, thus reducing its potential for "general-purpose" use. Typically, larger bottles tend to assume a sort of "on-the-desk" role, and are often foregone in favor of smaller bottles when ease of portability is a concern. As far as physical size is concerned, the Explorer is not all that much larger than a typical 20 oz. disposable water bottle. At its narrowest point, the bottle is not much wider than a Dasani or Aquafina bottle, although the hourglass shape does increase its overall diameter. The shape of the bottle does make the vessel a little bit top-heavy (especially when full), but it also offers a very natural and comfortable grip that feels great in the hand. 

The detractor from the Explorer's portability, however, is its weight. When full, the Explorer is exceptionally heavy for a water bottle. At the time of this writing, I did not have the means necessary to give a more exact measurement, but I can say that this is a bottle that is going to get pretty heavy after being carried around for any extended period of time. The folks at Pure seemed to have anticipated this, as the Explorer is available with two different cap designs, both seemingly focused on making the bottle easier to carry. The flat cap design pictured above comes with a simple plastic handle fixed around the neck of the bottle. I carry my bottles in the side pockets of my backpack, and I found that with a little care, the handle was not difficult to remove and set aside for potential use later. The bottle is also offered with a "sports cap" alternative that features two loops built in to the top of the cap to allow for easier transport.

The flat cap with handle design

The sports cap design

Both of these designs are functional, and do allow the bottle to be carried more easily in a "hanging" position, rather than always occupying the entire hand, but I still think that the bottle is too heavy to be used realistically in active outdoor situations. The sports cap also adds a good inch of height to the bottle, and is a slightly odd shape, making it harder to fit into bags and travel cases. Overall, I think that I preferred the more simple and straightforward flat cap design for my purposes.

The Explorer (both cap designs) and Traveler bottles

I think that the weight of the Explorer really makes this bottle a better choice for home or office use, rather than a travel bottle. However, I do not say this as a bad thing, as I feel that the above average capacity and wide-based design make the Explorer ideal for desk use. The Explorer is a great alternative to the unsightly Nalgene construction of most other high-volume bottles. Although it is hard to argue against the utility of one of those comically large, graduated plastic bottles when shopping for a high-capacity vessel, I am more than willing to sacrifice a few ounces for the sake of having an aesthetically pleasing bottle to sit on my desk that doesn't demand a trip to the water fountain every ten minutes. Although I would recommend Pure Glass Bottle's Traveler vessel as a better choice for an all-purpose travel bottle, the Explorer fits the bill for an attractive and sturdy "office bottle" quite well.

Verdict: Recommended

Pricing, size, and purchasing information can be found at Pure Glass Bottle's website:

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Be sure to check out the review of the Traveler vessel here.

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