I have a confession to make: my family owns 13 children’s water bottles. Nine are currently living in a designated cabinet in my kitchen, one is on my four-year-old daughter’s personal items shelf, one is on a drying rack in the kitchen, and one is inside a cute-ass dog backpack on the front porch. Lucky number 13—our all-time favorite, the Camelbak eddy+ Kids 14-oz ($15)— is sitting on my desk as my muse while I write this.
And don’t think our family of three only tested 13 water bottles to make this decision—my wife and I conservatively guess that we’ve tested over 70 kids’-specific water vessels. We just kept the best 13 (a gross display of excess, I know). Of those, the eddy+ is the one that my wife, daughter, and I clearly prefer. The number one reason for that is how remarkably leak- and spill-proof it is.
It is difficult to overstate how important that is for a kids’ water bottle. Whether you’re bringing your kid on an ambitious hut trip or they are lying in their temperature-controlled bedroom, a wet kid is a miserable kid. I have yet to see a drop of water come out of the eddy+ while it was closed. As a test, I once filled one to the brim and left it upside down overnight—zero liquid escaped. I trust it so much that I will pack it sideways into a bag with precious extra layers on high-stakes winter excursions like skiing.
When the straw is flipped up in the open position, the bite valve will not lose water unless it is actively compressed. This means you can hand a toddler the water vessel on a stroller run without having to worry about them lying it on their chest and soaking themselves. The same goes for night time. Like her father, my daughter likes to have water at the ready if she wakes up thirsty. I know that if she forgets to close the eddy+ and leaves it in her bed, she won’t wake up drenched and needing a change.
It is also the lightest water bottle in our quiver, which is important as I encourage my daughter to bring her own water with her on adventures. Insulated vessels are nice on hot days but they are also much heavier than this simple BPA-free plastic bottle. I find that for our day-to-day use, the lighter load makes her backpack less of a burden to carry.
And even though it’s light, this vessel is durable. It withstands daily beatings and looks no worse for the wear. To really give it a test, though, I filled it with water and dropped it ten times from my shoulder height on its base, and then ten times from my shoulder height on its lid. It showed nothing but scuffs.
Everything about the eddy+ is simple and reliable—both attributes that trump most all others when I think about kids’ gear. It’s even machine washable—a key selling point for any family that struggles to keep up with the dishes.
After confessing the gross overabundance of children’s water bottles in my house, do I plan to deep clean my cabinets and only use the beloved eddy+ moving forward? No. I am the father of an active four-year-old who drinks a lot of water. We could lose three of these things in a day. While we would be sad to see this specific pink number disappear, we wouldn’t be heartbroken. We can always replace it for $15.