The Informant: Keep Your Stanley Cup, I Want My Nalgene

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The opportunities for appropriate adhesive self-expression dwindle after age 30. Stickers aren’t the cool accessory they were in your 20s, and their allowance drops to just two instances: your laptop so you can differentiate your MacBook at TSA and hard-shell luggage for the same reason. There is one big exception: the water bottle.

The water bottle is the last bastion of adult sticker collaging, and the 32-ounce Nalgene reigns supreme. While everyone else gushes over the Stanley Cups, I was being smart with my subtle hydration flex. Nalgenes are known for being the choice of hikers and mountaineers, but they also house and disperse liquid just as well when you sit in an office all day typing. The Stanley Cup’s 30-ounce option costs $35 on Amazon. I stopped by an REI store in Soho and got my Nalgene, which not only sees the Stanley’s capacity but ups the ante by 2 ounces, for just $11.

Nalgene Water Bottle Review: Why I'll Never Buy a Stanley Cup
Nalgene Water Bottle Review: Why I'll Never Buy a Stanley Cup

Nalgene 32-Ounce Wide Mouth Water Bottle

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The Stanley Cup’s huge handle is proportionally ineffective compared to the cap loop on a Nalgene. It can drape from your fingertips, or loop through a backpack or work bag strap and dangle on its own. You can’t unhinge the handle on the Stanley, and it has to be carried to not spill. It’s a mess. My Nalgene is secured wherever I put it, with nary a drop leaked.

The safety of the Stanley Cup is also under question. Earlier this week the Stanley brand confirmed that lead is used in the manufacturing process for the viral cup, and despite the brand’s assurance that there’s “little to no risk” of lead consumption while drinking, I’m not convinced. The company says it’s okay because the cup needs to be damaged in some way to expose the lead. Good thing none of us have ever dropped or scratched a water bottle before. That was a close one. Yes, the Nalgene is made of plastic, but it’s sustainable, washable, and BPA-free. So we’re good.

I have three Nalgenes. My Soho purchase is just for the office, but my other two have been with me since college. One started off holding flavored beverages like powdered Gatorade or Nuun tablets. (Once upon a time I was a Division I athlete. That was normal.) The other one toted around mixed alcoholic drinks on my college campus and now allows me to inconspicuously underserve myself at summer picnics with friends. The flavored one steps in when I need an Emergen-C packet. Oh, to be in one’s thirties.

The Stanley Cup has become a bizarre status symbol unto itself. Kids in school are getting mocked for toting around knockoffs. It’s capitalism nonsense. Nalgenes have been promoting individuality and uniqueness through curated sticker collections for decades. I’ve covered the REI and Nalgene logos with a cool sticker of an old Architectural Digest cover I found in a concept store in Japan. There’s also a Moscot sticker from when I bought my glasses, a sticker and download QR code for my now-folded humor magazine, and a big one that says, “It Was The Shins Fault,” that I copped on the Port of Morrow tour in 2012.

At the end of the day, I’m drinking two ounces of additional water over the Stanley automatons and conveying my distinctive style with subtlety. There’s no clang of distracting metal when it’s set down in a meeting and I stay hydrated. Everybody wins.

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