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Gear

Sep 28, 2017

Rethinking Water with the bübi Bottle

The bübi Bottle wants to be unique in every way—from its look, feel and versatility, right down to its idiosyncratic name with the umlaut and stylized lowercase “b.” And on many fronts, it is a rousing success

WRITTEN BY

Michael Levy

We spent several weeks putting it through the wringer on multi pitch climbs, long hikes and around town in daily life.

The bübi Bottle comes rolled up—one of its more nifty functions. The bottle is made of silicone, which means it is scrunchable and flexible. While I haven’t yet needed to roll it up super compactly, a backpacker trying to cram as much as possible into a small space would surely appreciate this feature.

What I’ve found most convenient is the bübi’s of its sturdiness. Climbing up Mainliner, a 700-foot route in Lumpy Ridge, just above of Estes Park, Colorado, the bübi swung from one of my harness loops. I was slightly worried about it popping at first, but the silicone construction means it bounces and bends without tearing. At one point while still on the ground, I accidentally dropped it off the top of 20 foot boulder, and found it none the worse for wear at the bottom, despite the rock-strewn landing. Neither have all the ice cubes I’ve stuffed inside it caused any punctures. 

Which brings us to another cool thing about the bübi. Being made of silicone, it can withstand temperatures as hot as 500 degrees fahrenheit, and as cold as -100. So if you accidentally drop it in the campfire, you probably don’t need to worry for at least a couple seconds. And if you find yourself in -100 degree fahrenheit conditions, well… what are you doing in a place that cold? Get out of there!

The team at bübi likes to market the bottle as more than a just a water container. Use it as a pillow behind your neck when you’re flying; keep your goldfish or trail mix in it; hell, you can even put your phone in it and use it as a drybag in your kayak (though neither they nor I are not recommending it… if anything happens, that’s on you, buddy).

If you do decide to put your cellphone inside it, you’ll probably want to wash it thoroughly before drinking out of it again, and the silicone construction makes that easy as well: you can turn the bübi Bottle inside out.

Clearly this bottle has a lot going for it.

Then again, you can only get so groundbreaking with a water bottle, and attempting to do so has pitfalls. The most irksome feature of the bübi Bottle is intrinsically related to the design conceit responsible for most of its awesomeness: the pliable, squishy silicone means that, even when the bottle is full, stability is an issue. Even a light graze is enough to unsettle the bottle, which—what with its rounded bottom and lack of overall firmness—is prone to wobble and roll, tilt and fall. I nearly sent my laptop to an early grave while writing this piece when I clumsily reached for my full and uncapped bübi sitting next to me, missed it by a country mile, and spilled water all over the kitchen counter.

Another shortcoming is the carabiner that so niftily holds keeps the rolled up bottle from unfurling. The biner is flimsy and broke on me inside two weeks.

Finally there’s the size. As a climber, 650 milliliters happens to be an ideal volume to bring up a 700-foot climb. For most other activities, I usually want a full liter at least. Lucky for you, bübi also makes a 1 liter size!

The verdict?

All in all, the bübi Bottle is a cool new piece of gear with lots of plusses, negatives that are pretty minor, and a very reasonable price tag. By no means is it a game changer, but it’s definitely worth a look if your ten-year-old Nalgene is now opaque from all the scuffs or your metal Sigg is dented to death. My bottle came in seafoam teal, but the quiver of colors includes  sunset orange, seaweed green, crimson red, gunmetal grey, pacific blue, amethyst purple, and rose pink.

Specs

-Size: 650 ml (22 oz); also available in 1000 ml (35 oz)

-BPA free

-Silicone construction

-Carabiner included

-Comes with an alternative Active Lifestyle Cap

-Microwave and dishwasher safe

-Price: $16.99

-One year limited warranty

Pick up your own bübi Bottle at https://www.bubibottle.com.

And once you do that, try it out on one of the hiking adventures available at The Outdoor Voyage, like this 8-day trip in Croatia!

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Boulder

Sep 17, 2018

“Frack”-tured Community: Colorado’s Proposition 112 to Direct Future of Natural Gas Drilling

The grassroots initiative, which Boulder voters will see on the ballot come November, would mandate a state-wide, half-mile “buffer zone” of fracking wells from occupied buildings.

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WRITTEN BY

Sean Verity

Hydraulic fracturing, known colloquially as “fracking”, has been controversial since it became the widespread method of shale gas production over the past decade. The technique involves pumping millions of gallons of highly-pressurized water and chemicals into deep shale formations to proliferate cracks and free gas for extraction. On Colorado’s crowded Front Range, where land is a premium, active wells operate within arm’s reach of houses, schools, and other occupied structures.

Fracking proponents say that the practice has drastically increased U.S. natural gas production, lowered energy prices, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions via displacing coal burning in electricity generation. Opponents of fracking cite many potential health and environmental hazards of the practice including methane leakage, groundwater contamination, radioactive wastewater, and well fires.

significantly more likely to have a low birth-weight baby

According to Colorado Rising, a grassroots non-profit committed to exposing fracking’s health and safety concerns, fracking’s toll on public health outweighs the economic benefits. Research from the Colorado Public School of Health indicates that proximity to fracking operations poses serious risks to health and safety. Among these risks include exposure to cancer-causing toxins such as benzene and air pollutants. An analyses of public health research at the University of Chicago examined correlation between prenatal health and proximity to fracking wells and found that mothers living within a half-mile radius of active wells were significantly more likely to have a low birth-weight baby than mothers who lived farther away. This half-mile radius, incidentally, is the amount of buffer the ballot proposition would require.

The research is preliminary, however, as it cannot definitively prove point-source contamination. To date, no double-blind studies have ever linked fracking directly to low birth weights. But according to spokesperson Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising, “Weld County is the most fracked county (host to over 23,000 wells) and has twice the still-born rate of other Colorado counties”. She claims the spike in still-borns occurred in 2009, after a 2008 influx in natural gas drilling. But the list of environmental hazards does not end with carcinogens. The Colorado Rising report also condemns fracking’s environmental toll. Their briefing states that because of methane leakage, “…fracking, transporting and burning natural gas for electricity is likely as bad as or worse for climate change than coal or oil”. The jury is still out on this claim. Granted, fracking is energy-intensive and petrochemical-dependent, but burning natural gas emits half as much carbon dioxide as burning oil or gasoline. Methane leakage in drilling and pipeline transportation is minor, though Colorado Gas & Oil industry officials and public health activists like Colorado Rising disagree on the amount and impact of leakage.

Despite its controversy, there are approximately 50,000 active oil and gas wells in Colorado, many of them concentrated in Boulder and Weld Counties. Under current legislature, fracking operations can take place 500 feet from an occupied home and 1,000 feet from a school building.

do Colorado residents share Foster’s precautionary mindset, or are the economic gains too good to forgo?

Public demand for an expanded mandatory buffer zone from occupied buildings compounded after a 2017 incident in which an open gas line from an operating well leaked into a Firestone home, causing an explosion that killed two. Colorado Rising wrangled over 172,000 signatures for their “Safer Setbacks from Fracking” initiative, which was subsequently approved for November’s ballot. The regulation would underscore the burgeoning research on detrimental public health and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing—research that Colorado’s oil and gas industry might call inchoate and inconclusive. It would increase the mandatory buffer zone between oil and gas wells and occupied buildings to 2,500 feet—a move that the Colorado Petroleum Council has deemed “job-killing” and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association has said risks “more than $1 billion in taxes for schools, parks, and libraries, and our nation’s energy security”. And Weld County, situated on potent shale, has benefited from the incursion of jobs and money brought by the industry’s presence in the area.

The future of Colorado’s oil and gas sector is up in the air, and the proposed initiative would significantly reduce the amount of viable drilling land in populated regions of the state. As Anne Lee Foster summarizes, “the general consensus is that negative health impacts are possible, and it’s best to err on the side of caution”. November’s vote will tap into the metaphorical shale deposits of public sentiment towards fracking; do Colorado residents share Foster’s precautionary mindset, or are the economic gains too good to forgo?

Special thanks to Anne Lee Foster, who was interviewed for this piece. The Colorado Oil and Gas Board did not respond to request for commentary.

Cover photo courtesy of Brett Rindt.

Resources and Further Reading: A Denver Post report on fire and gas explosions, political commentary by Colorado Politics, a public health report by Colorado Rising, The Colorado Rising website, A Popular Mechanics article on 10 Most Controversial Claims About Natural Gas Drilling, A New York Times article,

https://coloradopolitics.com/setback-initiative-ballot/ (comments from COGCC)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1594bLT2U9nGsnWSSA4C5EAT3XZV-vDkB/view (public health report by Colorado Rising)

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/g161/top-10-myths-about-natural-gas-drilling-6386593/ (information on fracking misconceptions and research)

Interview with Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising on 9/5/2018

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/us/colorado-fracking-debates.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/09/business/energy-environment/colorado-activists-submit-petitions-for-referendums-on-fracking.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article&region=Footer

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