The Montana State campus is not one to separate into cliques based on clothes, popularity or how well students can ski; however, water bottle social classes have become a sort of caste system in the Bozeman area.
Walking down the mall on the MSU campus you might see Nalgenes hanging on multiple backpacks, all displayed prominently and purposefully. Nalgenes covered in stickers are clearly visible, often held in the hands of their owners to be seen better. In one case, the shine of a stainless steel bottle could be seen shoved into a backpack.
Student Bella Shleckard said, “I used to have one of those tall, 2000 mL bottles — covered in stickers. I had all the classics: the co-op circle, backcountry goat, get lost. I left it in class one day. When I ran back to get it, it was already gone. I’ve lost a lot of friends since then.”
“We were only friends with her because of her Nalgene,” student Brittany Cash said, about Shleckard. “This is my water bottle,” Cash explained as she displayed her 1000 mL red Nalgene. “Look, it even has this [Toy Soldier Productions] sticker. That’s a rare one.”
Since Shleckard’s downfall, Cash has stepped up in the ranks. “Have you seen her water bottle?” remarked one student. “It has that Bozeman sticker with the cowboy riding the T-Rex. That one is so in right now.”
When asked about the stainless steel bottles sometimes seen around campus, Cash just laughed. She said, “You have got to be kidding — those loud, dented things?”
Multiple stainless steel bottle owners were asked to comment, but were quickly scared back inside by the glares of other students. The Excrement was unable to coax them out.
Student Daniel Fire almost risked had a similar experience to Shleckard: “I had one of those 2000 mL Nalgenes, but I lost it. Luckily, I still had my trusty 1000 mL and a few extra stickers that I slapped on real quick.”
The view on Camelbaks is strangely different. According to a recent poll of MSU students, Camelbaks, both the bladder and bottle variations, are “interesting and different” student Brock Copeland explained, “No one really talks to those people, but they don’t seem to care. It’s kind of cool.”
One Camelbak user, Forest Rain, said, “We’re free spirits man. We can’t be tied down by lids.”
Another Camel backer asked, “What’s a Nalgene?”
When asked to comment about the new views on Camelbaks, Cash grabbed her Nalgene and rushed off, saying, “I really have to go. It’s … I have a class.” She was seen later that day throwing a Camelbak in the trash. The Camel backer who caught Cash in the act told her, “You really should recycle that.”
When Rain was asked what he thought about the possibility of Camelbak becoming the new Nalgene on campus, he said, “Well I don’t really spend much time on campus. I’d rather be up there, in the mountain air.” Rain then zoned out and could not be revived from his reverie.