Vessels were used for carrying water for long and short journeys alike, due to the obvious importance of the liquid. The first vessels, according to recorded history, were made from animal skin. The major advantage in this case was that the bottle was strong and unbreakable, but there was a considerable risk of infection. In the bronze age, many alloys of bronze, as well as the metal itself, were used for numerous uses, including those of carrying water. Leaving apart the increased weight, these bottles were a phenomenal improvement over the former kind, and were the first time a metal was used to create vessels. Many consider bronze to be the discovery that paved the way for stainless steel water bottles.
During the Roman empire, ceramics and glass were a rage, so to speak, and were used for all kinds of liquid and food storage. However, this practice had to be discontinued since both the materials were prone to breaking, also running the risk of contamination.
Coming to more recent times, with the refinement of metal manufacture, aluminum came to be recognized as the perfect material for portable storage, since it was no expensive, durable, as well as lightweight. Another major factor that helped its cause was that its parent mineral, bauxite, was available in abundance. However, what resulted in the discontinuation of this material, and the inception of stainless steel water bottles was the fact that aluminum was discovered to be one of the contributing factors for Alzheimer's, one of the most complicated mental conditions known to mankind.
And so this is it, the road to the evolution of stainless steel as the preferred medium of on-the-go water storage.