When I was in first grade, my mom often put chocolate milk in my thermos. I tried to conceal my good fortune, but one day another kid said, “Look! He’s got chocolate! I’m gonna get my mom to give me chocolate too!” Now as a relative adult, I have people suspecting me of drinking chocolate.

Yeah, sure, I’ve said, not wanting to reveal my true secret, which is not the contents, but the bottle. The Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup bottle is simply the best kayak water bottle available, and it’s free.

First, it has the best nozzle. You can open it easily with your teeth. It will pass a high flow, and unlike most “boughten” bottles, the water comes out only at the end, not out the sides.

Now, don’t close it with your teeth, or you won’t be able to wish me “Merry Christmas.” Just bop it shut against a relatively clean part of your upper body. Once closed, unlike many “boughten” bottles, it doesn’t leak.

The flattened shape of the bottle is easy to hold and easy to squeeze. One bottle can go under the usual strap in front of the seat, and the other can be crammed under or over a float bag. The shape is also more space efficient if you’re cramming two or three into a day pack.

The disadvantages… The regular size is a bit small at a pint and a half. There is no handle or attachment point to tie it into an open boat. It’s not transparent. And with the cap off, the opening is relatively small which can be a minor problem with the delivery end of water purifiers.

Aunt Jemima Syrup bottles are transparent and have a handle. I switched to Hershey’s when Aunt Jemima went to a side delivery schnozzle, but she’s back to the reliable original straight squirt design, at least on the 1.5 quart size. Aunty J bottles don’t strap onto the console of kayaks or C1s as easily, however.

But better news! There is now a giant size Hershey’s bottle, well over a quart, and it has a handle. Hint: don’t tie it to your canoe thwart around the handle alone; loop the lanyard around the bottle neck, through the handle. The molding seam on the handles is inclined to split under strain.

The new large size Hershey’s bottle really pumps! Great for water fights or putting out small campfires. Can’t help you with the small mouth and your water purifier, but don’t be picky. Remember, Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup is just about fat free; eat it on lettuce instead of ice cream and you’re all set.

by Gary DeBacher
From The Eddy Line, May 1997