THE ANSWER IS
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THE FLASK SAGA: AN INCREASINGLY DURABLE STORY!
THE FLASK SAGA: AN INCREASINGLY DURABLE STORY!
Making the flask more sustainable: that's what we have tried to do, at Quechua, from the very start. Because such an iconic hiking product can have very high impact on the environment. Because for over 20 years we have been thinking of how to combine light weight and eco-design to improve our flasks and isothermal and non-isothermal bottles... A story about water that will continue to captivate us!
Ah, flasks: a hiking product that is so popular and familiar that we tend to no longer realise what is so special about it. Or not suspect how complex making one is! Ask engineers, designers and product managers in our Worldwide design centre: they will give you all the technical, ecological and organoleptic strategies that are behind each flask and isothermal bottle that we design. Of all the hiking, camping and van life equipment that we have been designing for over 20 years, the flask is one of those that has changed the most. The quest for the perfect flask is never-ending!
Isothermal means the ability of a container to maintain the temperature of the liquid inside. Depending on whether you want to carry drinking water at room temperature or a very hot or cold drink that you want to keep that way for several hours, you will not choose the same product. And this difference in use determines the material used in your hiking flask.
Let's start with non-isothermal bottles.
In this category, two materials gained dominance in the early 2000's: aluminium and plastic. And a third one, at Quechua, as it's durability is unbeatable: stainless steel.
Each component has its champion, because when it comes to flasks, different tastes and favourite colours are important. These three materials all have qualities that make them the best for non-isothermal flasks: they enable us to make flasks for adults and children that are super light, at a very affordable price. Thanks to them, you can get a flask for a few Euros only. Because aluminium, stainless steel and plastic are easy to mould materials, reducing manufacturing costs.
Where plastic wins against aluminium and stainless steel, it's the transparence: the properties of polymers enable you to see the level through the walls of the flask, and therefore measure and pace use throughout the hike. It is a major argument for plastic, the unloved industrial material!
Where plastic loses, is on the environmental criteria, as this material is unanimously considered bad for the environment.
An unfair judgement for flasks, as it is one of the every day objects that has made plastic durable! What better than the material to get us out of "throwaway" plastics and give up on single-use bottles? The "Plastic problem" requires some nuance, when you look at it closely. Contrary to popular belief, this component can be sustainable, like our fleeces, that have been made from recycled plastic bottles since 2010.
Before judging plastic, you need to know which plastic we are talking about: single use plastics that are disposable or those that enable us to reuse a product forever. At Quechua, we have made sustainability the most important environmental factor, because the longer a product lasts, the lower its environmental impact and "carbon footprint". Unlike a plastic bottle, we consider that plastic flasks are a major improvement in the way we carry drinking water. No matter what the component, you can keep a flask!
In addition, at Quechua we have made our flasks' plastic even more sustainable by using a component such as Tritan. Thanks to this (almost) unbreakable plastic, your flask's lifespan will no longer be compromised by a knock. Plastic is no longer destined for landfill. In addition to being extremely durable, Tritan has no after-taste. Indeed, when designing a flask, organoleptic criteria must be taken into account. In other words, the component in contact with water should not alter its taste. Bad taste, bad flask...
As safety was mentioned, all our Quechua flasks strictly follow the European and French standards for food safety a,d do not contain Bisphenol A, in compliance with current regulations. Fabien, product manager
Let's conclude this chapter on plastic. Almost... You should know that even in an aluminium flask, there is plastic! Yes, hidden inside the flask. Indeed, food safety standards forbid manufacturers from placing food in direct contact with aluminium. A polyamide-based "food-safe coating", plastic-based, is applied inside all aluminium flasks that meet these standards. Yes, sometimes we have to use plastic for safety!
So, when you chose a non-isothermal flask, zero-plastics is almost impossible. Unless you choose one of these solutions:
- bring back goatskins. Sorry, but Decathlon does not intend to go down that road
- look for a glass flask. You will find one, since glass flasks exist, for example at our partner-brand Kimjaly, dedicated to yoga, with this sleek bottle. At Quechua, we have decided against that option: glass is too heavy and too fragile for hiking... A glass flask in the mountains is not a great choice..
- get into stainless steel like us, which we now use in some of our nin-isothermal flasks (with one wall) and many isothermal (double-walled) ones.
Shall we move on the isothermal range?
When you choose an isothermal flasks, capable of keeping a liquid very cold or very warm for hours, choosing a component is simpler than for non-isothermal flasks: the master here is double-wall stainless steel to keep the liquid's temperature. Very resistant to corrosion, extremely resistant and durable, particularly hygienic, stainless steel has many qualities, in addition to its insulating properties.
At Quechua we are increasingly choosing this material and on isothermal bottles in general. And our flasks are not the only products made from stainless! Cooksets, cups, plates... All our products in contact with food are gradually impacted by our work on the component.
In addition to its very low environmental impact, we love the fact that we can use stainless in all parts of a flask, including the top and handle, like our MH500 flask. With this material, no need to add a food-safe coating inside the flask, unlike aluminium.
So, which flask should you choose to replace plastic bottles? Or go without a plastic "based" flask, for those who want to completely ban all polymers from their daily lives?
In the non-isothermal flask family, you can choose between aluminium (with a polyamide food-safe coating) or single-wall stainless steel.
In the isothermal flask family, bye bye plastic, cheerio aluminium, the "full stainless" world is here and all you need to do is choose the design, volume and colour that you like most in our double-walled stainless flask collection.
So basically, it is likely that the flask saga at Quechua increasingly becomes a stainless story... To be continued!
- The lifespan of a flask is influenced by how well it is kept. To help you take care of yours and keep it for a long, long time, we have written these tips: how to clean your hiking flask.
- To reduce the environmental impact of our non-isothermal flasks further, we will increasingly include recycled plastic and recycled aluminium in the manufacturing process. What we managed to do with our fleeces - making them more durable and as eco-designed as possible, despite their dependence on polymers - we fully intend to do with our flasks!
- And finally, an essential article to know how to stay hydrated when hiking...