You know how the Aral Sea was done really dirty? Like, how it was once one of Earth’s largest lakes, but was wrung dry of its WAP after gnarly Soviet water diversion? Well, yeah. That’s our veins right now. Thirsty. Out of ideas. In need of hydration.
Water is instrumental to staying alive, so why is it something we consistently forget to drink? As Forever Class Wit Diana Vreeland said, “I think water is God’s tranquilizer, to be in it, to drink it, to look at it,” which is very much the energy we would like to channel in 2021. It is a huge fucking privilege to have access to clean drinking water. It is one of life’s greatest joys to chug it after a night of binge drinking, or a hard workout. But there are days when it just tastes like a smoothie made of Post-Its. There are days when we remember that in Paris, public drinking fountains flow with sparkling water. How can you come back from that?
Our bodies are basically fleshy waterbeds, so it’s no surprise that we need to be refilling our H20 levels. But researchers want to remind us that we won’t just feel parched or sluggish when we’re dehydrated. Dehydration causes our cognitive functions to suffer, and exacerbates the negative impacts of chronic illnesses and even mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. All the bad things, friends—and all because we’re too lazy or forgetful to fill up our water bottles.
But does the eight-glasses-a-day trop really hold up for our health? That depends, as Karin Klein reported for VICE. “One of the most-quoted studies on this topic,” she said, “found that in young adults, a water loss amounting to 1 percent to 2 percent of body weight can lead to reduced alertness and concentration.” The Institute of Medicine has suggested we up our water intake to 2.7 liters per day for women, and 3.7 liters for men. But when it comes down to it, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription for everyone. Ultimately it comes down to this: “The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide.’” So listen to your body, first and foremost. But thankfully, smart tech and the right drinking vessels can help you hear it even better.
The last decade has seen a boom in the variety and availability of smart appliances, optimized beverages, and new technologies that want to help us stay the healthy course. Some are overkill, but many are genuinely welcome support systems; a fleshless hand to hold as we try to take better care of ourselves, and learn something new. If someone told us about the benefits of “alkaline water” in our teen years, we may have thought, WTF is this freelance dentist? Now, we’ve got water bottles that know exactly how to increase our water’s pH level, as well as more knowledge of why we might want to. Running a little dry one day? There’s an app that will tell you to drink up. Only crave sparkling? No problem—there are at-home dispensers.
In an effort to hold onto our remaining brain cells, we’ve scoured the web for some of the best H20 accessories out there. There are smart water bottles that will text you more than mother, and elegant, glass bedside carafes; plus, CBD electrolyte packets, SkyMall-worthy gadgets, and other tips and tricks for making it rain in your veins.
To feel like you’re out at a restaurant
On-demand sparkling water just adds an air of luxury, and we’re very about that level of self-care. This machine is exactly the kind of thing we would have found forgettable in SkyMall (RIP) as kids, but would commit minor arson to receive as an adult: it’s made by the Swedish brand Aarke, and has finally given us a design-forward carbonator that doesn’t look like a cheap plastic afterthought. Display on the counter, proudly. Parents will be impressed. Roommate(s) will be impressed. Dates? Definitely.
Aarke Sparkling Water Carbonator, $219 at Uncommon Goods
The bottle that cleans itself
Hands down the most self-sufficient smart bottle in our selection, because it cleans its own goddamn room. The LARQ is BPA-free, super insulated, rechargeable, and “Uses UV-C LED light to eliminate up to 99.99% of bio-contaminants from [the water and bottle].” Not that it’s showing off, or anything.
LARQ Self Cleaning 17 oz Water Bottle, $95 at Revolve
The gateway to DIY electrolytes
As close to an IV hydration drip as we’re going to get, which we probably can’t say, medically, but there’s just nothing like electrolytes for breakfast. Just mix water together with these packets, which are “lightly flavored with real fruit juice powder” to give you the “balanced electrolyte boost you need to own your day.” If you’re not a coffee or tea drinker, this is a great way to slap your brain awake in the morning, and a great way to make flat water less meh. Plus, you can tailor your variety 30-pack to your taste buds with the website’s sliding tart-to-sweet scale, so there’s a customization element to suit your preferences, whether they lean more Crystal-Light-spritzer or post-game-Gatorade.
Variety Pack, $37.49 at Hydrate
This glow worm
This is a dark time, so we’re very on-board for a light-up gimmick. This smart water bottle “tracks your water intake and lights up to remind you to drink” through its Bluetooth app. It comes in a bunch of different colors, which is great because we miss concerts and this is the closest we’re going to get to watching a rando EDC dude bust out unsolicited glow stick moves at an outdoor festival. Le sigh.
HidrateSpark 3 Smart Water Bottle & Free Hydration Tracker App, $59.95 at HidrateSpark
The Erin Brokovitch
This one gives LARQ some friendly competition in the over-achiever category, because it “reduces over 90 percent of chlorine and 99 percent of sediment” with its filter, which is also touted as sifting out gunk “5x faster than competition.” There’s a lot of thoughtfulness behind the creation of the bottle, which is made out of 100-percent coconut shell carbon, and most of all: it seals up tight. Really tight.
Water Filter Bottle, $20 at Hydros
An update on the classic French carafe set
Dead, talented French writer Honoré de Balzac loved stuff. The best stuff. He almost went bankrupt from buying stuff, which included a custom turquoise cane so swanky, it inspired a Montblanc pen. But we digress. The Australian brand bearing Balzac’s namesake reflects his impossibly high standards with this French-inspired carafe d’eau, but has been given a 21st century update; this delicate vessel comes with its own glass (in colors like “Amber” and “Smoke” no less) and the minimalist design won’t feel cluttered on your nightstand. We really do love-hate how good Australians are at wellness.
Maison Balzac Bedside Carafe, $65 at Coming Soon
Get that CBD in the mix
One of our editors had a *chef’s kiss* delightful experience with OFFFIELD recently, having mixed the “CBD, CBG, L-Theanine and essential mineral” goodness in her water on a hike to find that, indeed, the “route [she] completed a hundred times before was somehow more beautiful than ever.” Was it the OFFFIELD? California, being effortlessly California? We’re apt to say both, but who knows. You be the judge by scooping up a 12-pack.
Enhanced Hydration, 12 Pack, $39.99 at OFFFIELD
The one for alkaline water obsessives
The bottle that does the absolute most. Choose between a scale of sizes (up to 40 ounces) with this bottle, which is made with Japanese 316 surgical-grade stainless steel, has zero plastic, triple insulation, and some kind of sorcery that “increases [the water] pH up to 9+.” People are shelling out big time for alkaline water for its purported health benefits, although it looks like the consensus on their effectiveness is not conclusive. According to the makers of this sleek dude, it will help you hydrate faster, improve digestion, and detox your body. No wonder the logo is doing the YMCA.
32 oz DYLN Bottle, $49.99 at Dyln
Just infuse a wumbo jug with exciting stuff
Another solid tactic for drinking water: place a wumbo jug in your field of vision. Give yourself the task of finishing it by a certain time of day. This pitcher is made of borosilicate glass, a.k.a. super light but strong glass that won’t break. It’s also BPA-free, can withstand temps from 0 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a handy little catch-all infuser for jazzing up your water with fruits and vegetables and hot Cheetos.
Hiware Glass Fruit Infuser Water Pitcher, $20.99 at Amazon
The one that’s kind of a Tamagotchi
So this is for babies. Well, children. But we’re 90s nostalgics, and here because we have crappy self-discipline, so we’re fully invested in this pseudo-Tamagotchi (Giga Pet, Neopet, what have you) fantasy of this smart water bottle, which caught VICE’s eye when it was released a few years ago. Not only is the name “Gululu” too much fun to say, but the Gululu pet thing on the screen has over 200 words in its vocabulary, and interacts with you as your drink (or don’t).
Parrot Green Gululu Go, $119 at Gululu
The one that belongs in MoMA
Is it an Italian juggling pin? A sculpture? The Danish design cool kids at HAY often feature works by Memphis Design champ George Sowden (see: his brown coffee pot to write home about), and this to-go bottle is their latest collaboration. While it’s actually made of stainless steel and has a plastic lid, the bottle looks ceramic. It comes in a bunch of modern colors combinations, and will really cool out on your kitchen island or shelf.
Sowden Bottle, $35 at HAY
Because we just can’t do Mason Jars sometimesPhoto
No offense. We love mason jars. But there is nothing easy about drinking from one without a straw; the lid is super wide, sometimes it’s hard to grip with that girth, the screw-on ridges feel weird on our bottom teeth, and we’re definitely overthinking this, but at the same time, why not find an ample, sleek glass water bottle that comes with its own protective jacket? Soma’s glass is BPA-free, shatter-resistant, and comes with a dapper little bamboo hat.
V2 17 oz. Glass Water Bottle, $30 at Soma
We hope this motivates you to drink more, and finally establishes your home as a certified hydration station.
Your faithful VICE editors independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. We may receive a small commission if you buy through the links on our site.