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Backpacker with Hydro Flask in the Pocket

Hydro Flask Trail Series  
Go the Distance

As the Hydro Flask brand expanded its reach across the globe, its core audience in the outdoor community became less defined. To reconnect with the brands' roots and re-establish the brand's identity, we needed to create a product that was built with uncompromising performance, while still appealing to the core audience of outdoor enthusiasts.


In order to arrive at the final stainless steel trail bottle, we first designed and released a limited number of titanium bottles. We leveraged the lessons learned from our experiences with the titanium bottles, as well as the design cues that we identified as being successful, and applied them to the development of the trail bottle. This process allowed us to refine and optimize our approach to creating a high-performance, lightweight hydration solution that would meet the needs of our users.


Ryan served as design manager of the in house product development team where he led the industrial design from concept to implementation. He was responsible for overseeing user research and usability as well. 


The Hydro Flask Trail Series design project had a significant impact on the brand, helping to expand the hydration category and position the brand with a core audience. By creating a lightweight hydration bottle that was specifically designed for outdoor enthusiasts, the brand was able to tap into a new market segment and differentiate itself from competitors.

Where we started: Titanium

The ultimate goal for lightweight, high-performance hydration has traditionally been achieved through the use of titanium. However, as we discovered, titanium had numerous drawbacks, including its high cost, susceptibility to dents, challenging processing and finishing requirements. 

hydro flask titanium being thrown in the air
Translate Lessons

The limited number of titanium products released allowed for a real life beta in the market.  Although successful, we felt like there would be room to introduce a lighter weight stainless steel bottle at a lower cost and still capture much of the core audience we were seeking initially. 

We worked to translate the design language of the titanium bottle into a wide mouth version. 

Counting Grams

Taking inspiration from mountaineers kit, we looked for areas where we could reduce material use and weight. We cored out the lug, and perforated the strap, dropped the height of the cap, and replaced the powder coating. In addition to these design choices, we were able to introduce a slimmer silhouette enabled by the reduction of the insulation gap. The shape of the bottle fits better in backpacks and reduced weight by minimizing excess material. We also brought a red pinstripe that we have at the bottom of the cap to designate the performance of the line.  

Not only did these choices result in a 25% reduction in weight, it clearly set them apart from the main product line and spoke to the core audience. 

Image Credit: 

Adam Ruggiero from Gear Junkie, Nike