A woman revealed how using a five-gallon water bottle and refilling it at Walmart for 39 cents a gallon has been “super helpful” while traveling — but it’s a hack that’s giving some people pause.
The video showing off the travel hack was uploaded by TikTok user Zoe (@rockstarbebop). “So, there have been a lot of things that have been super helpful on this trip but this one takes the cake,” she explained. Then, she flipped the camera to unveil a five-gallon water bottle refilling under a large water dispenser. ”So, you get these five-gallon water bottles at Walmart and refill them for 39 cents a gallon,” she explained.
Afterward, the video cut to Zoe in her car and revealed a nozzle she uses to drink out of it. She did so by popping open the lid, sliding the nozzle inside, and securing the nozzle in place. Next, she opened her water bottle, pressed a button, and the water came out.
“Literally, this is my favorite thing ever,” she enthused. “It’s never leaving my car ever again because you never know when you’re gonna need water.”
During an interview with The Daily Dot, Zoe shared how she discovered this by researching taking “large amounts of water with me while traveling without using plastic water bottles.” The content creator decided to have this as a staple on her trip; otherwise, she doesn’t use it.
“The reason I had my five-gallon water jug with me in the car is because I was traveling across the country over a nine-week time span, essentially living in my car and visiting cities and state and national parks,” she shared via Instagram direct message. “So I needed to have a lot of water on me at all times in case of emergency!”
In addition, Zoe revealed how long the water jug lasts.
“I could usually go through mine in a week. Sometimes it went quicker when I was in high altitude because you have to drink a TON of water to stay hydrated at these elevations. Sometimes I could make it last longer when I was in a city where I’d have an Airbnb because I’d have regular access to water,” she said.
The video racked up over 587,000 views as of June 11, with some viewers sharing they’re fans of their own water gallons.
“That’s the exact same set up we have in our apartment,” one viewer wrote, adding, “Works well.”
“Yep have one and its the best,” a second said.
“We love ours,” a third agreed. “best purchase EVER.”
However, others pointed out problems with doing this.
“You just want to be careful with keeping plastic in your car in the summer. It can become toxic and make your water toxic,” one person warned.
“Those bottles can grow [algae] in the sun too,” another offered. “I learned that with mine in the house.”
“Love it. I’m a huge water drinker myself,” someone else chimed in. “My only concern would it be sitting in a hot car for hours?!”
National Geographic referenced a study reporting water bottles left in the sun for hours at a time can be dangerous. “The study found that bottled water is safe in 70-degree Fahrenheit weather, but during hotter days, that’s not the case. When bottled water is exposed to extreme heat, such as the inside of a car on a summer day, it takes just five weeks of exposure to that much heat for unsafe levels of antimony to be detected in the water.”
Another commenter pointed out a whole other issue. “Everyone’s worried about the hot plastic but no one’s worried about the 40 lb projectile sitting in her passenger seat if she’s in an accident?”
“This exact thing happen,” someone else claimed. “Was in a car accident with my mom, the bottle in her passenger seat, crashed into the windshield exploded water everywhere.”
But one though it was all good, noting, “She seatbelts it in, negative Nancy.”
*First Published: Jun 11, 2023, 2:07 pm CDT
Melody Heald is a culture writer. Her work can be found in Glitter Magazine, BUST Magazine, and more.