The night before i go paddling in the summer, i put full plastic water bottles in the freezer, being careful not to fill them too much and not to screw on the top...but eventually they crack due either to the temperature or to the expansion of the water (or both). Is there a design/material that will not do this?
Your safest material would be silicone. Even with the lid unscrewed and the cap off, the water freezing will still put pressure on the walls of the bottle. Since water freezes from the outside in AND it expands as it freezes, plastic will eventually succumb from the pressure.
Silicon will work but it is a bit too soft for a practical "bottle" for outdoor adventure uses I think. At least they don't seem to be that common.
Flexible thermoplastics in the form a a bladder is probably a good bet since they are abrasion resistant and can change shape and stretch as necessary as the ice freezes. I use a CNOC VECTO which claims it can be frozen although I have not personally used it that way.