Suitou (Sui-tou) is a canteen typically made from bamboo or gourds which were used by samurai, ashigaru and peasants alike throughout the history of Japan. The suitou samurai canteen can be used for carrying water, wine or of course any liquid. The sui-tou gourd canteen are more complicated to make as more time / care is required in cleaning and treating. Both are sealed with beeswax inside, to ensure liquid doesn’t damage the inside and moisture doesn’t seep through, avoiding cracking. Bamboo feature a bamboo topper to help prevent spilling of your drink. The gourd features a plug with rubber ring to ensure leak free, freshness of your beverage. The gourd canteen can also be used as a Kayaku Ire (Gunpowder Flask), an important accessory for your teppo. Used for centuries, both the bamboo and gourd canteens are natural and safe to drink from. Water can stay fresh for several days and the canteen can be re-used for years. Like the waraji, the suitou bamboo and gourd canteen are essential to any samurai armor set or display.
These Suitou (Canteen) are cut, smoothed, cleaned and crafted by Iron Mountain Armory from the bamboo groves and gourd farms just outside the armory. We offer the option, for both bamboo and gourds canteens, to burn a samurai clan mon or your own personal mon / logo into the side. Please note that this option might add some extra time in the crafting of your Suitou canteen. Weather, season and influx in orders can also slow crafting time so please be patient when ordering. If you need your order quickly, please let us know. Crack is possible, more so if hot liquids are used or long exposure to heat or dryness.
Order Notes: Please select which style of natural canteen you would prefer, bamboo or gourd. Both are reusable with proper care (see instructions below). Bamboo is a little more prone to cracking and will require more care (see below).
- Traditional and Natural
- Can be used for drinking, storage, display
- Average Bamboo Dimensions: 20 ~ 25 cm tall by 8 ~ 10 cm wide / Holds average of 20 to 24 ounces of water
- Average Gourd Dimensions: 15 ~ 20 cm tall by 8 ~ 10 cm wide / Holds average of 18 to 20 ounces of water
- Gourd canteen comes with base stand, funnel and cleaning packet (as seen).
- Items are seasonal and there might be a delay in crafting your order if they are not in stock. Vermilion option will require more time to finish.
Caring for your canteen: Sui-tou are typically meant for short term use, however with proper care they can last for 1 or more years. Store in cool dry place, out of direct sunlight. Fill your canteen to 1/4 with dry rice and shake vigorously for 25 seconds. Then empty the rice and any dust from inside before filling with liquid. You can sanitize your canteen by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart of water (mix well). Add sanitizing solution in your sui-tou, filling to about 50% then shaking it for 25 seconds (do not let soak). After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water and let dry. Never use hot or warm liquids (greater than 88 f / 31 c). We use a natural wax on the surfaces of our samurai canteens to help preserve and prevent cracking, however cracking may occur, more so with the bamboo canteens. If cracking occurs, dry your canteen, apply wood glue to the outside surface of crack. Allow dry and repeat if needed, finally smoothing the surface. Your canteen should be “set” and there should be no more leaking, but you might need to repeat this procedure.
All Suitou (Sui-tou) are handmade by Iron Mountain Armory at the time of your order. Items are seasonal and there may be some delay. Please allow at least 2 – 3 week for crafting of this item and an additional 1 to 3 weeks if you select Vermilion.
To provide context, am the president of Japanese living history group based in Australia, Sengoku No Bushido, and one of the five founding members of the international Japanese Martial and Living History Association. Sengoku No Bushido purchase the majority of our non-combat and everyday kit from IMA.
This gourd is a good piece of kit to have. It works perfectly for what it is designed for, and matches our requirement for historical accuracy in design and material. I also particularly liked and am grateful for how IMA kept record of my mon and applied it to the gourd without me even having to tell them beforehand.
While the gourd is not ridiculously small, it isn’t particularly larger in size either. Would it be possible for slightly larger sizes? Using these for water, particularly after a full day of route marching or training, certainly requires a little more water than what it normally contains.
Very pleased, item as described. Top quality product, thank you.