What’s keeping Carlsbad cool?

As Hydroflasks and other insulated bottles pop up around Carlsbad, we look behind the science and psychology behind the water bottle.


John Mayberry, staff writer

From what the company calls humble beginnings, Hydroflask, the company behind the successful water bottle, launched in 2009 in Bend, Oregon. In only two years they reached over 1 million sales, and in 2016 they were sold for $210 million. The company has had rapid growth, but how? Why are so many people buying the sleek water bottles Hydroflask is producing? How does water stay cold in the bottle? Why are people so attached to their Hydroflask bottles?

“I think the metal keeps the water colder than the other competitors, something to do with a vacuum seal,” junior Chase Gould said. “I’ve never really looked into the science behind it. As long as I have cold water, I’m happy.”

Their mission statement says it all: Save the earth from lukewarm drinking water. How does the stainless steel bottle keep ice from melting and boiling hot water from becoming the dreaded lukewarm? According to their website, their patented lukewarm-busting idea, is the “TempShield.” The TempShield is just their fancy word for saying all their bottles are doubled-walled and vacuum sealed, with the outer layer being a sleek stainless steel dipped in a plastic polymer, and the inside just a another slim stainless steel where the desired liquid lies.

“I think all Hydroflasks are the best, my water is cold all the time, which is something a plastic recyclable or reusable bottle cannot deliver on,” senior Taylor Onstott said.

So I decided to put the Hydroflask to the test. One of their leading competitors, “S’well” also claims they can keep water colder and hotter for longer periods of time than any other water bottle. I boiled water up to 191 degrees, and poured two cups each into the bottles. I checked at exactly 4 hours later, and it looked like the S’well had won; 166 degrees, to Hydroflask’s 131.

However, when questioned about this, many people were shocked and disbelieving of the results.

People questioned the results, saying “Are you sure you really put two cups of water in each? Are you sure you measured correctly?” To find out why might people think this and what is tricking them into thinking the Hydroflask is better than the S’well, I sat down with Mr. Shinnefield, the AP Psychology teacher at Carlsbad High School, to dig deeper into the unknown psychology behind the water bottle.

“People form emotional attachments with all sorts of things, including products. You might believe that your product is better, but when you actually test it, the product might not test as well,” Phycology teacher Mr. Shinnefield said. “It’s normal for us to dismiss other arguments against the products, and look for evidence we already know and helps us feel like the product is the best out there.”

When these emotional attachments become formed, it’s extremely hard to revert back to another product. For this reason, so many Carlsbad students find it hard to believe the Hydroflask they own can be bested by a competitor.

“We always like to think we are objective and know everything, but in reality we are not,” Shinnefield said.