“OMG! Can I tell you that this water bottle is the best?” That’s what the clerk at the counter told me as I shelled out $40 for a 12-inch stainless steel torpedo in turquoise blue. I would hear the same thing from strangers, co-workers and my mother’s golf partner. Why do people care this much about what is essentially a very expensive Thermos? For good reason: North Americans use more than 58 billion paper cups a year (128 per person) and throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles annually. A sturdy drinking container that keeps water cold for 24 hours and coffee steaming all day can inspire cult-like devotion. It also needs to be able to withstand a beating. We tested several, not just against their thermodynamic claims (they all passed) but also for durability and design. Our favourite: the vacuum-insulated Klean Kanteen bottle ($35 for 590 mL; mec.ca). Its tough stainless steel won’t impart flavours when transporting an icy drink to the gym or piping-hot tea to the office. And unlike the old glass-walled Thermos your dad carried to the hockey rink, this one bounces just fine from a metre drop.