Liquid Hardware Sidewinder Review SummaryPros:
- Magnetic lid sticks to the side of the bottle, so you never lose your lid
- Magnetic lid sticks to your refrigerator, car, exercise equipment and anything else metal, so hydration is always nearby
- Vacuum sealed bottles keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold
- Design is sleek
- Zero BPA
- No threads or rolls on the interior of the bottle means no place for water to collect, funk and drip
- The lid works as an emergency compass
- The company’s headquarters are located a 5-minute bike away from us
- Not particularly lightweight
- Not dishwasher safe
- Made in China
- Problems with the seal inside the lid popping out (6/18/14 update: no further problems with this since first week of use)
Liquid Hardware Sidewinder Full ReviewA magnetic lid sets Liquid Hardware apart from the slew of other water bottles on the market. A small magnet inside the lid allows you to stick it to the side of the container while sipping, slurping and gulping. The magnetic lid is especially useful while driving. It prevents the lid from flapping in your face or falling under your feet. In fact, founder Stephen Kitto got the idea for Liquid Hardware as a fumbled water bottle lid rattled around underneath his car pedals. Liquid Hardware used Kickstarter to successfully introduce its original water bottle, the Outrigger. And, it's now using Kickstarter again, to introduce a vacuum sealed bottle, named the Sidewinder. As of this morning, Liquid Hardware funded its $15,000 goal and is now going for its stretch goal. Congrats to this company located just a stone's throw away from Garage Grown Gear's headquarters. I had the opportunity to test out a prototype of the Sidewinder, and it proved its mettle. The vacuum sealed bottles keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. I first packed mine with ice cubes submerged in cold water. I then carried out a highly unscientific experiment where I opened the lid each morning and evening to check the status of the ice cubes. It took a full 48 hours before they had completely melted. I then tested how well the Sidewinder keeps drinks hot by pouring boiling water into it one morning. When I opened the Sidewinder in the evening the water inside was still warm enough to make a nice cup of tea. Liquid Hardware took the scientific method a little more seriously in its tests. Here is a graph of Liquid Hardware results based on an average of 20 samples: The other huge advantage of the new Sidewinder is a silicon sheath placed over the magnet on the lid. This provides enough friction to stick your water bottle to nearly any metal object. While the bottle was filled with water, I stuck it to a truck, fridge, weight bench and swing set. It’s especially nice to be able to set the bottle onto the side of your vehicle while fumbling for keys. The Sidewinder has achieved a zero BPA rating by using an 18/8 food grade stainless steel for the bottle and a full silicone seal inside the BPA free lid. This make the Sidewinder a good alternative for those concerned about the questions raised in Mother Jones’ recent article on The Scary New Evidence on BPA Free Plastics. There are a few drawbacks to note about the Sidewinder. First, at 10.5 ounces it’s not exactly lightweight. The Outrigger weighs less than the Sidewinder, at 8 ounces, but on a long day hike I still would probably be more inclined to bring my Vapur Anti-Bottle or other bladder system. However, if I got lost I might regret not having bucked up to carry the few extra ounces, because the magnetic lid works as an emergency compass. All you have to do is flip the lid upside down and float it in standing water. Depending on the magnet’s orientation it will point either magnetic north or magnetic south. A word of caution here: test out your particular lid ahead of time, so you know whether it’s oriented north or south. My Outrigger lid points north while my Sidewinder lid points south. Another drawback is that Liquid Hardware’s products are made in China. Stephen Kitto says he priced out domestic production with around 15 different factories and couldn’t get the retail price below $100 per bottle. Also, it’s not recommended to put the bottles in the dishwasher because of the possibility of vacuum failure and/ or chipped paint.
And, finally, the silicon seal underneath the lid of my prototype Sidewinder bottle has popped out a few times. However, I've been able to work it back into the lid and it no longer seems to be an issue. (6/18/14 update: in the last two months of use the silicon seal has stayed in place perfectly) All of these downsides I can live with. If you love the stainless steel look, also check out the 14er cups available at certain backing levels in the Kickstarter campaign. These cups are perfect for any place you want a sleek looking cup without the possibility of shattered glass, such as in the bathroom, during a backyard barbeque or at a music festival. After the Kickstarter campaign concludes, the Sidewinder will retail for $30 each.