A one-gallon water jug might seem like overkill to some, but if you spend a lot of time on the move and, like me, regularly neglect to hydrate, it might just be your five-pound reminder to do so. I like to think of Hydro Flask's 128-ounce Oasis as my guardian angel, the patron saint of my kidneys and my future, hopefully healthier self.
Gone are the days when I'd fill a couple of 18-ounce water bottles, slip them into my ditty bag, and call my H2O situation secure, only to forget I'd even packed them and not have even a drop of water pass my lips. With this double-walled, vacuum-insulated 18/8 stainless steel jug, I am considerably more hydrated these days, especially when I'm out on the water. It rolls and clanks all over the deck of my boat, offering a constant reminder to keep drinking water. And that I do.
Design and specs for Hydro Flask's 128-ounce Oasis water jug
By and large, this is a standard double-walled, vacuum-insulated water bottle like most you'd find on the market (Hydro Flask calls its proprietary version "TempShield"). It's made with high-grade 18/8 stainless steel, and yes, it's heavy as all heck. This is not necessarily the water container you want to bring on a six-mile hike. The trade-off, though, is that it'll keep cold things cold in excess of 24 hours, and hot things hot for about 12 hours (though I haven't yet tested the latter claim).
Two integrated lids make filling, drinking from, and cleaning the Oasis a cinch, and the silicone carrying handle is sturdy but also comfortable to hold, unlike a solid plastic handle. It might not last as long, but then Hydro Flask has a notably generous limited lifetime warranty program; if you were to manage to break the strap, they'd likely replace it. Still, I've swung mine around for a few months and I haven't noticed any signs of stress or give.
In the field
Apart from boat and beach trips, I also toss it into the back of my car for road trips, where, again, it's constantly rolling and clanking, and impossible to ignore. Thankfully, it can take a beating. Note the few white scratches near the base of my Oasis above. Those, mind you, came only after repeated accidental drops from the seats in my boat to the deck — about a 2.5-foot drop. With the Oasis full, though, that's about 13 pounds total, hitting the dance floor, as we in the boating world often call it, with momentum. You should see my poor deck, though, which I'm sad to say took the brunt of the repeated blows.
But then I can paint over that. What would be the real tragedy, as has been the case with more delicate (but still pricier) water bottles I've owned, is if the Oasis were to have dented, or cracked. But that's why we pay such premiums for overbuilt gear, is it not?
The bottom line
If you're extremely rough on things, or if your profession demands it, the Hydro Flask Oasis is an easily justifiable expense. Boaters, campers, van lifers, wilderness dwellers, and construction workers, especially, can all put it to good use, and it will outlast any lightweight plastic or steel jug several times over.
If, on the other hand, you're just looking for something to get you and yours through Sunday morning soccer practice, go for the classic Igloo Red Legend or a Coleman Beverage Cooler— both of which are gallon-sized, but about one-sixth of the price of the Oasis.
Pros: Durable, easy to clean, easy to pour (and drink) from, keeps cold things cold for 24-plus hours and hot things hot for about 12 hours
Cons: Expensive, heavy (4.95 pounds when empty)