Credit: Lauren Nehorai/ Chronicle

Jeanine Kim

Whenever Emily Nutting ’20 sits on the quad to have lunch with her friends, she scans the tables. An array of bottles, in different colors and sizes, light up the area with their bright colors and the now-ubiquitous Hydro Flask logo.

The company, born out of Bend, Ore. in 2009, has recently made waves on the reusable water bottle market . First touted by outdoor enthusiasts who needed a heavy-duty bottle to keep their water cold during long hours out in the sun, Hydro Flasks have grown in popularity among the general population, especially students, according to The Seattle Times.

On campus, the bottles have become incredibly popular, Nutting said. According to a Chronicle survey of 219 students, 43 percent of the school owns a Hydro Flask. Furthermore, 81 percent of students own a bottle of a similar type, although not of the same brand.

The environmental club gives their take on Hydroflasks. 

The newfound popularity can be credited to a multitude of reasons, Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Biology teacher Nadine Eisenkolb said. The school and student body’s dedication to the environment has likely been a major factor in the rise of the water bottles, Eisenkolb said.

“The Environmental Club did a plastic art installation to make us aware of how many plastic water bottles we use per day,” Eisenkolb said. “And some AP Environmental Science students made a video and showed it in class meeting, urging all students to decrease their water bottle consumption and impacts on the environment. Plus, Hydro Flasks generally seem to be a very popular brand, so their use has definitely increased the use of reusable bottles.”

Similarly, Nutting, one of the founders of the Instagram account @hw.hydros , said she believes their prevalence is due to the need for high-quality water bottles in Southern California.

“I think Hydro Flasks have become so popular on campus because of their quality,” Nutting said. “Especially at this time of year, when it’s [more than] 90 degrees at school on some days, students want to have cold water, and the Hydro Flask is able to give them that all day long.”

Hydroflask representative gives his take on the new trend. 

Public Relations and Communications Manager of Hydro Flask Lucas Alberg said that the bottles help the environment, not only through their sustainability, but also through their promotion of improved lifestyles.

“We can all make a difference and an impact if we focus on simple things like using a reusable water bottle versus a single-use plastic one,” Alberg said. “As an outdoor-based company, we believe being outdoors leads to healthier, happier and more fulfilled lives, so protecting these green spaces is especially important.”

The brand’s dedication to specific details have also contributed to its popularity, Alberg said.

“Hydro Flask celebrates diversity and inclusivity with products that everyone can enjoy, and we’re a very approachable brand as a result,” Alberg said. “Our innovative, colorful, insulated products help people enjoy the things they love to do in the places they love to be.”

Furthermore, Hydro Flasks in particular have become culturally significant, with the “VSCO girl” trend, which often pokes fun at girls stereotyped as those who wear scrunchies and puka shell necklaces and use the water bottles, becoming widespread on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

“I think even though recently in pop culture Hydro Flasks have been associated with ‘VSCO girls,’ they still are versatile and available for anyone to use, regardless of their social status,” Nutting said.

The brand, which seeks to promote environmentally-friendly practices in all forms, appreciates the trend, Alberg said.

“Our reaction for anyone using Hydro Flask products is the same,” Alberg said. “We love seeing people of all ages and walks of life making a conscious decision to help eliminate the use of single-use plastics by carrying reusable products and having a little fun and expressing themselves in the process.”

Amy Kronenberg ’20, who originally bought her Hydro Flask because of a promotion at Vans United States Open in Huntington Beach, said she generally likes how her bottle keeps her water cold.

“VSCO girls are a cute and wholesome community, bonded by water bottles and scrunchies,” Kronenberg said.

However, not all students share this need for insulated water bottles, and not all are willing to buy them, with prices ranging from $30 to $60 for one bottle. Will Tao ’21 said he has not purchased a reusable bottle because of a combination of factors.

“I don’t use water bottles partially because I don’t actively seek the accumulation of material goods,” Tao said. “I don’t use water bottles, because I lose them, and the water supply around where I tend to hang out is often very good.”

Tao said there are other reasons why he hasn’t bought a Hydro Flask, stating that losing one would be the equivalent of losing $40.

“I’m often forgetful because I don’t pay attention to my surroundings and I have more interesting things to do,” Tao said. “I don’t often need water bottles because human metabolism only requires water every few hours.”

However, Nutting said the brand’s dedication to the environment is the most important thing to consider when deciding to buy a bottle.

“The high price is definitely a fact, but there are many other brands producing similar water bottles at lower prices, so people can still have reusable water bottles,” Nutting said.