Brand Stories

Nalgene Outdoor Applauds Quick-Thinking of Hikers and Rescuers in “Message in a Bottle” Rescue

Nalgene Water Bottle with HelpROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 13, 2019Nalgene Outdoor, manufacturers of the original water bottle that traces its roots back to 1949, applauds the search and rescue workers and quick-thinking of Curtis Whitson who used an SOS message in a Nalgene water bottle to get rescued from a remote part of the Arroyo Seco River known as “The Waterfall.”

This summer, Whitson, his 13-year old son, Hunter, and Whitson’s girlfriend, Krystal Ramirez embarked on a 20-plus mile journey along the Arroyo Seco River, a beautiful stretch along California’s Central Coast area they had hiked often. A few days into the trip, and near its end, Mother Nature had other plans. High and fierce water in the “narrows” or waterfall section of the river made a familiar terrain unpassable. Desperate for a way to reach other humans and needing something that was durable enough to survive the rough current, Whitson detached his Nalgene bottle from his backpack, etched “HELP” on the hard exterior of the bottle with a knife and collaborated with Ramirez to write “We are stuck here@the waterfall, get help!” on a piece of paper. He tucked the note inside the Nalgene bottle and with one toss the bottle cleared the falls and floated downstream. Within hours two hikers found the Nalgene bottle and reported the incident to the local camp director. California Highway Patrol (CHP) – Coastal Division Air Operations rescued Whitson and family by the next morning.

“We were in awe when Curtis shared this amazing story with us,” said Elissa McGee, general manager, Nalgene Outdoor. “For 70 years we’ve had a simple, leak proof, and durable design. This isn’t exactly how we expect people to put those qualities to the test – but we sure are glad for Curtis’s quick and creative thinking that lead to a positive outcome.”

Nalgene containers started as lab equipment in 1949 as part of the Nalge Company in Rochester, NY. For decades Nalgene has been a part of consumer culture, from the Boy Scouts to the 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team; and from establishing color and fun in the reusable water bottle industry to driving change and increasing awareness that to reduce, one must reuse.

“We always love to hear stories from our consumers, how they use our bottles or where our bottles have journeyed with them,” adds McGee. “Curtis and Krystal’s story does stand out though! We’re so happy that their message in a bottle made its way down river to someone who called for help; and grateful for the CHP officers that jumped into action.”

Once they were home, Ramirez replaced Whitson’s beloved spring green Nalgene 32-ounce wide mouth bottle, but with a love note in lieu of a rescue note. Let’s all hope that the bottle is just for everyday fun and won’t be needed in any future rescues.

About NALGENE Outdoor
NALGENE® Outdoor Products is based in Rochester, New York. Founded in 1949 as a manufacturer of the first plastic pipette holder, the company soon expanded its product line to include state-of-the-art polyethylene labware under the NALGENE brand. By the mid-1970s, outdoor enthusiasts had discovered the taste and odor-resistant, leak-proof and rugged properties of NALGENE’s large selection of plastic containers. In response to this emerging demand, NALGENE Outdoor Products was formed and today the consumer-oriented business offers its customers a wide choice of safe, environmentally friendly, BPA- and BPS- free products that meet their lifestyle needs. For more information, contact NALGENE Consumer Products or visit

SOURCE Nalgene Outdoor


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