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View Full Version : Metal water bottles and airport security



autolycus
04-04-2012, 11:22 AM
I'd like to carry an empty bottle for refilling after security and then each morning of my upcoming trip to Europe. My preference right now might be to take a stainless Klean Kanteen, although a Sigg or Matterhorn aluminum bottle is a similar option as well. Do any of you frequent (or infrequent) travelers have experience taking an empty metal (please specify stainless, alumium, or other) bottle through security? Inside bag? Attached to outside of bag? Loose in a bin with shoes, 3-1-1, etc? If so, were you asked about it? Was your bag identified for a hand inspection? Did it otherwise cause any sort of hassle for you?

I'm worried that a not-insubstantial metal cylinder would lead to further inspection and delays getting through security. Are my worries unfounded? I want to know generally, but for this trip specifically, I'll be going through some form of security at ATL, AMS, and MUC.

EDITED TO ADD: I do know that TSA, at least, explicitly allows empty metal water bottles. I'm more wondering whether having one is going to trigger a hand inspection or otherwise slow my screening process.

capncat
04-04-2012, 11:39 AM
i regularly travel with an empty metal water bottle (hydro flask -- highly recommended, btw!) and haven't had any more hand searches than when i didn't have one. i travel mostly domestically but screeners in madrid didn't really bat an eye at it on the last business trip i made abroad.

darbs
04-04-2012, 12:08 PM
I travel with one through ATL and have never had anyone say anything. *knocks on wood* Mine is usually in the water bottle pocket on the side of whatever bag I'm carrying (briefcase, gear bag, backpack). I switch back and forth between a metal one and my Nalgene (which is bigger). I can't speak for any of those other airports you mentioned though.

WhiteStar
04-04-2012, 12:08 PM
And if you're at all worried, why not get one of the fabulous Lifefactory bottles that Tom Bihn sells. (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/LF0022) I was skeptical about the whole "glass bottle" thing but I adore mine.

reeder
04-04-2012, 02:15 PM
I regularly travel with a metal Zojirushi Thermos like this one Amazon.com: Zojirushi SM-DB35TA Stainless Steel Mug, 11.75 Ounce, Brown: Kitchen & Dining (http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-SM-DB35TA-Stainless-Steel-11-75/dp/B0030KX2NE/ref=pd_sim_k_2) and it occasionally gets test swiped. I put tea with a tea bag in mine, usually drinking the tea before the security checkpoint and leaving the wet tea bag in the thermos, and 98% of the time it is fine. Occasionally it goes back through if I have a wet tea bag inside. Once screeners at SIN had to hand check (cautiously) after screening and then sent it back through the X-Ray machine. Tea is lethal stuff.

The only other time it was an issue was with Royal Caribbean cruise line security. They prohibit all open liquid containers in case you try to bring aboard alcohol for consumption during the cruise, especially in Caribbean ports. The agent in the port didn't believe me when I said I finished it and asked if I was willing to hold it upside down over my head. I was and did without getting an unexpected shower. From her surprised expression, I don't think she gets a lot of takers. You can check sealed duty free bottles to pick up after the cruise. Didn't have this problem with Celebrity cruises in similar ports but they have a more lenient alcohol policy and a smaller passenger load.

Badger
04-04-2012, 02:34 PM
Sometimes TSA wants to see the bottle if it's inside a bag, just to make sure it's empty. Like some of the others here, I generally have mine clipped to the outside or in an outside pocket to avoid that, or I'll toss it in the bin with my 311 bag and shoes. My iPad stand causes more hand searches than anything else, so I'd say avoid metal things that look like giant protractors.

autolycus
04-04-2012, 06:29 PM
I travel with one through ATL and have never had anyone say anything. . . . I can't speak for any of those other airports you mentioned though.
Yes you can; I mentioned ATL! :)

autolycus
04-04-2012, 06:46 PM
Sometimes TSA wants to see the bottle if it's inside a bag, just to make sure it's empty. Like some of the others here, I generally have mine clipped to the outside or in an outside pocket to avoid that, or I'll toss it in the bin with my 311 bag and shoes. My iPad stand causes more hand searches than anything else, so I'd say avoid metal things that look like giant protractors.
Yeah, since I'm planning on carrying only Tom Bihn bags with internal bottle pockets, I was hoping to have the bottle stay in the bag, but I was figuring it wasn't going to happen without a high risk of having them ask me to pull it out. The disadvantage of the neatly-designed bag... :)

Badger
04-04-2012, 06:52 PM
Never fear! Badger is here, with the help of amazon.com, to save the day with this clip cap (http://www.amazon.com/UCO-Klean-Kanteen-Bottle-ClipCap/dp/B003DIVMNU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333590721&sr=8-2)! I have one and it's quite handy!

lonestar6
04-04-2012, 08:26 PM
I don't have problems with bottles but I did spend 20+ minutes while TSA tracked down my suspicious Fisher space pen and I had to talk them through how to open and use it. Another time my Common Access Card reader caused TSA some concern
I guess my point is (about time right :-) ) you probably won't have a problem, but it can not be ruled out.n

autolycus
04-05-2012, 07:56 AM
I don't have problems with bottles but I did spend 20+ minutes while TSA tracked down my suspicious Fisher space pen and I had to talk them through how to open and use it. Another time my Common Access Card reader caused TSA some concern
I guess my point is (about time right :-) ) you probably won't have a problem, but it can not be ruled out.n

LOL... a fisher space pen?! The "bullet" style, I assume? That's funny.

And thanks for the reminder that I need to pick up a standard style space pen for my next trip. It's always frustrating having a pen stop working when you need it, and I find the space pens to be pretty reliable, even if they're not my preferred pens for daily use.

MaggieScratch
04-05-2012, 10:41 AM
I have flown several times with a Klean Kanteen (stainless steel) and, figuring TSA would have an issue with a metal oblong round object showing up on the x-ray, I have taken the bottle out of my bag, removed the cap (putting that back in the bag) and putting the bottle, uncapped, in the tray with the 311 bag. That way they can see it's a bottle and that it's empty. Never had a problem.

joiedwards
04-05-2012, 12:27 PM
Always have an empty Klean kanteen or Sigg water bottle in my bag and never had any problems. I fill it after I get through security and I have water for the whole flight.

I had more trouble with a metal Spork a friend made me. TSA actually said it might be used as a "shiv". Sometimes I wonder about people!

Lani
04-05-2012, 12:46 PM
...in fact, if you ever fly Virgin out of San Francisco (SFO), they actually have water bottle refill stations by the boarding area past security, specifically for you to refill your empty bottle.

I've never traveled with a metal bottle before. They made the news last year because the TSA made some fuss about not being able to see the contents to verify whether they were empty.

When I travel with a water bottle, I make sure it's visible, and not zipped up and out of view. Typically, I'll actually unload it from my pack and lay it in the plastic bin, along with my electronics.

If you're worried that they might ask about whether it's empty, you might consider doing likewise, but removing the cap so it's obvious.

snowbot
04-05-2012, 07:45 PM
I frequently travel out of a security-obsessed regional airport. Here is a list of items I regularly take out of my bag and place in a bin before going through security. (Not all of these accompany me on all trips.)
umbrella
small Nalgene water bottle
small Sigg water bottle
thermal coffee mug
ipad in a Cache
tooth powder (now regularly placed in 3-1-1 bag)
small packages of salt (now put in 3-1-1 bag)
fake lemon (I only traveled with one, but if I get another, it will go out of the bag for security)

Each of the above items has caused my bag to be searched at my local airport.

dmauder
04-14-2012, 06:54 PM
I would highly recommend a Vapur water bottle. It folds flat and rolls up very small when empty. Fits in just about any small zipper pocket.

And....They are made in USA! :)

backpack
04-14-2012, 08:02 PM
And if you're at all worried, why not get one of the fabulous Lifefactory bottles that Tom Bihn sells. (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/LF0022) I was skeptical about the whole "glass bottle" thing but I adore mine.

I second White Star, I adore my 2!
The bottle is see-through which make it easier to inspect in order to make sure it is empty.

I carried mine in the luggage cart handy to drink from then placed it in the back strap of my BB and I think left it there until I got to my seat. I removed it and put it in the seat pocket for takeoff.

I used it to pour the soda given on the flight.

Due to the testimonies about seat pocket grossness, I will add another plastic bag as a dedicated bottle protector. Unless...

Tom comes up with a Dyneema/clear urethane Quiver/Yarn Stuff Sack a la Clear Quarter Packing Cube.

Mostly Clear Urethane with Dyneema for support at the top for the zipper pull and in vertical bands 3 or 4 on the side to connect the bottom and top.

This way, it could be inspected without being removed, same principle as the 3D Clear Organizer Cube.

backpack
04-15-2012, 03:24 AM
Mostly Clear Urethane with Dyneema for support at the top for the zipper pull* and in vertical bands 3 or 4 on the side to connect the bottom and top.

This way, it could be inspected without being removed, same principle as the 3D Clear Organizer Cube.

Hem... I meant * The drawstring pull.

Jenne
04-15-2012, 04:41 PM
I usually travel with a metal bottle. I went through yesterday with my empty TB metal bottle inside my pack. No problems. If I carry my insulated Kleen Kanteen, I just take it out of the bag and remove the cap so screeners can see it's empty. My only worry with water bottles ever was the rumor I heard that screeners at some of the international airports in Italy would confiscate especially nice bottles (even if they were empty.) Didn't happen to me and I suspect it rarely happens.

Moose
04-15-2012, 04:56 PM
dmauder, can you tell me the difference between the Vapur bottle you mentioned and a Platypus? I'm always on the look out for a new and improved version.
Thanks bunches,
Moose

dmauder
04-15-2012, 07:10 PM
dmauder, can you tell me the difference between the Vapur bottle you mentioned and a Platypus? I'm always on the look out for a new and improved version.
Thanks bunches,
Moose

Hi Moose: Pretty much the same concept between the Vapur and Platypus soft water bottles. But I think the Vapur is more well thought out with the new Element model that has the SuperCap with integrated carabiner. When you roll the bottle up for stowing, you can flip the caribiner over it to keep it from unrolling. And when full, the bottle can be attached to any bag, purse or backpack. The SuperCap is also leak proof.

Both are made in the USA, so that's good. But I just think Vapur is overall a better design.

Dave

Lani
04-16-2012, 12:45 PM
My only worry with water bottles ever was the rumor I heard that screeners at some of the international airports in Italy would confiscate especially nice bottles (even if they were empty.) Didn't happen to me and I suspect it rarely happens.

I'm sure airport security screening is a thankless job, but oh my goodness, I do not want to trust these people. If any of you are TSA agents, I apologize in advance. But I just hear so many stories.

At least though, since most of us here tend to avoid checking in our bags, we don't have to worry about baggage handlers going through our belongings and stealing our valuables. Eek.

Backpack -- your using the glass bottle to fill with in-flight soda is intriguing. Do you ever feel like the bottle is a little too heavy, though? That's one of the reasons I haven't bought one.

historygal
04-20-2012, 11:00 PM
Last year I attended a work conference in Phoenix, AZ, for a couple of days. All meetings were scheduled in hotel conference rooms with a choice of iced tea or water served throughout the day including meals. Since I don’t drink iced tea, I always drink water at these type of events. I found the taste of the municipal water in Phoenix totally undrinkable. It was truly disgusting. Since then, I searched the internet for a solution. I wanted a metal container (limiting BPAs) to take on trips that would go though airport security, and the container needed to include a filter to reduce the taste of nasty tasting municipal water I might encounter in future travels.

My current solution is a stainless steel CamelBak water bottle with a built in filter connected to the straw. I ordered this one from Amazon at Amazon.com: Limited Edition Water.org CamelBak Groove Water Bottle (Stainless Steel): Sports & Outdoors (http://www.amazon.com/Limited-Edition-Water-org-CamelBak-Stainless/dp/B005EMCRO6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1334984998&sr=8-2) which is a little more expensive, but the company does make a donation to the water.org campaign. Replacement filters can be purchased at Target and other local retail stores.

Since purchasing, I have traveled with this water bottle only a couple of times through airport security, and so far, I haven’t had any problems. It will fit in either the Synapse or Co-Pilot dedicated water pocket. I have left the water bottle in the pocket while going through security and have not encountered any problems. TSA has yet to ask me to remove the water bottle from my bag, or hand inspect my bags.

backpack
04-21-2012, 01:11 AM
Backpack -- your using the glass bottle to fill with in-flight soda is intriguing. Do you ever feel like the bottle is a little too heavy, though? That's one of the reasons I haven't bought one.


Sorry for the late response Lani. I have the 16 oz, I bought my first one at the store while visiting.
I like the colors better than the 22 oz and it is a dream to transport. Great capacity, easy to hold and very lightweight.
Perfect for the Brain Bag and the Synapse.
So much so that I got another one, which I use at home to sip Italian sodas and lightly flavored naturally bubbly spring water.

A 22 oz will most probably make its way to me for storing homemade smoothies or even milk as I buy it in cartons and it sometimes gets an aftertaste which I dislike.

Sacharissa
10-14-2012, 11:59 AM
Hope it's OK to ressurect this slightly old thread, but it seemed perfect for my question...Does anyone know if the gorgeous Tom Bihn metal Matterhorn Bottle (http://www.tombihn.com/accessories/LIBERTYBOTTLE.html) fits in the bottle pocket of the Co-Pilot? It doesn't look like it will, but thought I'd ask...

If it doesn't, maybe we could suggest that they make one that fits! I, for one, would buy it!

reeder
10-18-2012, 06:09 PM
Hope it's OK to ressurect this slightly old thread, but it seemed perfect for my question...Does anyone know if the gorgeous Tom Bihn metal Matterhorn Bottle (http://www.tombihn.com/accessories/LIBERTYBOTTLE.html) fits in the bottle pocket of the Co-Pilot? It doesn't look like it will, but thought I'd ask...

If it doesn't, maybe we could suggest that they make one that fits! I, for one, would buy it!

Just ask the nice Tom Bihn customer service. They've got both items in their warehouse :)