Friday, November 22, 2013

My BKR Review

There is no limit to what I will endure to get good information for a review.  For example, toting around the girly-est pink water bottle on the planet.  It was actually not the bottle, but the silicone sleeve that was rosy pink.  Still, it was an attention getting at work.  The My BKR was the first glass bottle I have used extensively and it proves the value of glass in a water bottle.  There are two flaws with the bottle, one major and one minor, but it is a useful bottle, and in the right role--as an indoor workout companion--it excels.

Let me be crass--this is a bottle made for and marketed to women.  If you look at the Press page on their website there is nary a single source, other than a sprinkling of newspapers ('member them?, how quaint), that isn't either for women or a celebrity endorsement from a woman.   What do Natalie Portman, Blake Lively, and Mylie Cyrus have in common?  Apparently, they like this bottle.  If that doesn't motivate you to buy it, well, never mind.  I am sort of over the idea of a celebrity endorsement.  I think most of you folks are too.  But just because something is marketed towards women doesn't mean it is useless to dudes.  It strikes me as a silly marketing strategy to alienate half the market.  After all, dudes drink water too.       

Here is the My BKR product page.  Here is a review of the My BKR.  The bottle will run you $28.  You can get the My BKR through their website or Amazon.  

 

If purchased through the Amazon link, proceeds benefit the site.   Here is my review sample (purchased with site money):

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Here is the water bottle scoring system again.

Twitter Review Summary: Glass is GREAT, the mouth is not.

Design: 2

Clean, simple, and elegant, the My BKR looks very good.

The idea of pairing up a silicone sleeve with a glass vessel is a good one.  The silicone adds grip and cushions any shock. Here they went a step further and added a splash of color.  The review sample happened to be pink, but you can get it in Smoke or Black or Dark Burgundy, if you aren't that confident in your manliness.  The cap is an wonderful thing.  By canting the connector loop at an angle it makes the bottle easier to carry and easier to open.  Plus it gives it a bit of design flair.  I know the Apple aesthetic of clean modernism is popular right now, but its hard to say this bottle is ugly even if it is very much Apple-esque in its appearance. 

Fit and Finish: 2

There are three parts here and they all fit together well, so fit is not much of an issue.  Finish on the other handle is something that can be meaningfully evaluated.  The bottle's sleeve was a point I was worried about and through my use and my wife's it has stood up quite well.  It did not lose its elasticity and it has stayed tight to the glass body the entire time.  Additionally, a small rubber seal on the inside of the cap makes the bottle shut tightly.  There are no seams or edges and the mouth is nice and round. 

Carry: 1

Pretty simple here: the bottle is too wide to fit into a few cup holders, such as those in my 2013 Subaru Impreza or my wife's Forester.  Its not a fatty, but there are a few other places it doesn't fit.  It also carries poorly in a bag, such as my Bihn Cadet briefcase.  The silicone sleeve makes putting it in or pulling it out a bit of a chore.  If you have a tethering device, like a Nite-Ize S-biner the connector loop on the cap is quite sturdy and works well.  Carrying it in your hand is also nice, either with the loop or holding the sleeve.

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Its just a bit portly.  Maybe that's why Natalie PORTman liked it.  Oh Jesus, I have a million of these make-fun-of-celebrity puns.  Oh wait, what, Natalie Portman's last name is a made up last name.  Damn it. 

Grip: 2

If it is hard to pull out of a bag because of the silicone is also hard to have it slip out of your hands.  Even when wet, which will happen a lot, the My BRK stays put.  I also like the fact that bottle is not too tall.  If it were, it would be much heavier, as glass is pretty darn heavy.  Overall, I liked the bottle's feel in the hand, a very important factor, especially in a bottle like this, which seems designed for the gym.  The gym?  Its where people who hate the outdoors and manual labor go to exercise and look like hampster doing it.  Yeah, I know, I have no idea why you'd go to the gym when you could just run around in a state forest for three hours.  Plus you have to pay to use the same equipment as other sweaty people.  It seems crazy to me. 

Drink Quality/Mouth: 2

Glass.  Glass rules.

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A smooth mouth with no seams or edges made of glass is as close to perfect as you can get.  The mouth here is VERY small, very, very small (again, probably a plus at the gym or on a tread mill where you are jostling around a lot), but when you are drinking that tiny opening is actually nice.  Its not sloppy or spill prone.  It allows for a nice flow and easy sipping.  GREAT.

The small mouth has one drawback though--it makes filling the bottle difficult.

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Also, it makes ice impossible.  The mouth is so small, so tiny that only a faucet or fountain works well.  Pouring water from a pitcher is nearly impossible to do spill-free.  The water then gets between the sleeve and the glass.  The mouth is just TOO small.  A little bigger would be fine and you could still have the nice glass opening for superior drink quality. 

Materials: 2

The glass is very thick.  Neither my wife (who helped out with product testing for the first time ever; she refused to take part in the Spyderco Rock review for some reason) nor I had any problem with the glass, not once.  I didn't drop it off the third story of our house, it it handled bumps and bruises with ease.  Don't worry about glass in terms of durability.  Weight is a bigger issue for me.  The silicone sleeve is also nice as it is a good cushion, adds a hint of color, and makes the bottle grippy.  A rubber seal on the inside of the cap is also nice.

Insulation: 0

Glass is a great electrical insulator, but not so good here.  There was no temperature retention at all.  Zilch.  As a gym/workout bottle that is probably not a big deal.  After all, it gives you a chance to walk around the gym, panting and sweating while looking for a water fountain, all in a show of how much of a workout you were getting.  For the rest of us, this is a downer. 

Durability: 2

The glass is tough, as I mentioned above, and the silicone seems springy enough.  The cap is also fine.  One point I worry about is the sleeve getting grimy over time.  Water and dirt can get in between the sleeve and the glass and it looks kinda icky, but you can wash both of them.

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Still I worry that a lack of maintenance could be a long term issue.  In the medium term, everything was fine.

Leak Proof: 2

A two week period with me and a two month period with the wife and this thing never leaked, even when jostled.  Much better than a Klean Kanteen in that regard.  This is a pretty darn water tight bottle.  I like that a lot. 

Ease of Cleaning: 0

You couldn't get a baby toothbrush through that tiny mouth.  This is a strict rinse out bottle, which I do not like.  Compared to the Square I reviewed previously this is night and day.  I am not sure if some clean freaks could take this.  Fortunately it is dishwasher safe, but still, the small mouth while good for drinking causes yet another problem.

Overall Score: 16 out of 20

The My BRK bottle is better than the Klean Kanteen non insulated bottle and the plastic Nalgene.  The glass ensures the very best and cleanest drinking experience possible.  But the small mouth on this bottle causes quite a few problems.  Filling the bottle is a problem.  No ice is allowed.  And cleaning is very difficult.  As a gym bottle, this is probably all okay.  In fact, in that role I think the My BRK excels, especially because the small mouth prevents spills.  For a general purpose bottle or a bottle you take on long hikes, ones where ice helps, this is probably not your best choice.  But don't take my word for it, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Garner, and Leighton Meeson like it.  Wait, who the hell is Leighton Meeson?  I have official entered that part of my life where I am confused and befuddled by gossip magazine covers and all of these new fangled semi-celebrities.  Let me go get my Barlow...

11 comments:

  1. It's bkr, not brk. just trying to help!

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    1. I saw the same thing. Here I was expecting a Bark River knife review...

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    2. My thoughts exactly. I read the title as, 'my bark river knife' and thought tiny had gone sort casual on us!

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  2. Still nice to see someone doing water bottle reviews, although this one is definitely not for me.

    The idea of carrying a glass container, even in a silicone sheath, around a gym or while travelling just doesn't make sense to me. For a water bottle at the gym, any nalgene knock-off will do (plastic don't matter if all you're carrying is water, IMO). Carrying flavored hot or cold drinks? Get insulated steel (Kleen, Contigo, whatever).

    That said, I enjoyed reading your review. Special thanks to your spouse for helping out. Looking forward to reading more.

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  3. Tony, I'm a huge fan of your site - it's the first and only blog I've regularly read in nearly 20 years of internet use. Having owned this bottle briefly myself, I can say that your observations are spot on, save except your closing remarks that this is superior to the Nalgene. A 32 oz Nalgene weighs less and carries more than one of these, plus is easier to clean, fill, add ice to, and will stand up to years of real world abuse. The My BKR I had (mine was red) actually shattered from a fall to concrete after accidentally coming unclipped from my backpack while walking down the street. I am currently carrying a 40 oz wide mouth Hydro Flask which is a step up from the time tested Nalgene in that it holds more water, is insulatated, has a gasketed cap, is made of stainless steel, and still fits in the water bottle pocket of my Tom Bihn Synapse 25.

    (Wide mouth bottles are great also for their ability to interface with many back country water filtration systems like the MSR Mini works EX.)

    I'd highly recommend a Hydro Flask to you in your quest for the perfect water bottle.

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    1. How well does it fit? I've been using a Guyot Standard and it kinda pushes the spacial boundaries of that pocket.

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    3. The girth of the Hydro Flask is the same as a standard Nalgene 32 oz bottle, which allows plenty of lateral clearance in this pocket. The only difference between the two is the Hydro Flask is 2.5 inches taller, still within the dimensions of that pocket. The pocket closes fine, so long as you don't overstuff the smaller one in front of it.

      The water repellant zipper has a 1 millimetre gap at the widest point of separation in its closure when the Hydro Flask rides inside. I tested the zipper's water repellence with the Hydroflask inside by taking the bag out in the rain for an hour a couple days ago and found no water penetration whatsoever.

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  4. they sell bottle brushes (for cleaning) & mini ice cube trays on their web site. also, if you happen to have a water cooler, they are super easy to fill.

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  5. http://www.bamboobottleco.com is my current favorite. Much better insulation, much better impact resistance, but has a drink tube system that's a little weak. Give them a try!

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