Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle
Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle
Review of the Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle
Continuing our mini-theme on hydration, we take a look at the Camelbak Podium Chill bottle.
You might think that writing an article about a water bottle is a bit of a waste of time, unless it’s something very different and warranted such effort, perhaps like the Flexr Hydration system Dan reviewed recently. Well I’ve been using Camelbak’s Podium bottles for a while now after a team mate switched me onto them, and though at first I was a bit non-plussed, arguing that one bottle was much the same as the next, it soon became clear that Camelbak had moved things on a bit. They had clearly put a lot of thought into the bottle design, especially the actual drinking spout with its really clever valve and locking mechanism that work together to prevent any unwanted leakage on or off the bike.
Having discovered these great new bottles, what else could possibly improve my on-the-bike drinking experience? Well with the Podium Chill, Camelbak add insulation into the mix to make sure your drink is kept nice and cool in the height of summer. At this point you might laugh and think, “that’s not relevant to me in the UK” but we’ve just had over a week now of 20+ degrees so hydration has been a priority on recent training rides and with more riders heading off to hot climbs in the likes of the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites, then keeping yourself as cool as possible becomes very important.
Looking at the Chill next to my older Podiums, it’s clear that Camelbak have updated the shape of their Podium bottles recently to make them more streamlined and ergonomic. Gone are the hard, angular lines and edges of the earlier design to give a much softer, more aero profile. As well as this the Chill looks different to most other bottles with a more substantial look and feel, probably explained by the use of double-wall, closed cell foam insulation and ‘100% BPA-Free TruTaste polypropylene with HydroGuard’ which Camelbak reckon that this will keep your water cold twice as long as a standard bottle and make sure you can just taste your drink, not plastic. Pinch the Chill’s sidewall between your fingers and there’s a big difference to the average bottle – it’s thick.
As with the other Podium bottles, Camelbak use the Jet Valve on the Chill. It has three advantages over normal bottles as far as I can tell. Firstly it removes the need to open and close the valve of the bottle with your teeth all of the time when riding. You just drink and replace the bottle back in your cage safe in the knowledge that the self-sealing valve will not spill and it doesn’t. Secondly the nozzle itself is not made of hard plastic but is soft silicone so it just feels so much better in use. Finally it can locked using the lock-out dial, so that before you actually need to start drinking, whether on or off the bike, you can be sure there’ll be not accidental loss of that essential drink. In use the valve doesn’t limit flow rate. It’s very good.
The bottle feature nice wide openings once the top is removed, making both drink preparation and cleaning that bit easier. The silicone nozzle can be pulled away from the top if you desire to get a more thorough clean. In my experience though, as long as you use a dishwasher and/or boiling water, then this is unnecessary.
The only disadvantage is possibly bottle size and weight. All that insulation means that you lose some volume for the same size physical bottle. Ours takes 610mls against the 750mls of my other podiums; though they do produce a larger volume, 750ml version of the Chill, it is a much bigger bottle. The Chill is a little heavier and we got 105g for the Podium Chill against 73g for the normal Podium 750ml bottle. For reference, a standard 500ml bottle weighs in at 62g, a standard 750ml botle around 80g and a an Elite Madison-Genesis Team bottle weighs in at 93g. The Chill has technology for which there is a bit of a weight penalty but it’s so minimal that a few will complain once your supping your cold drink on that hot weather ride.
So does it actually keep your drink cooler than a normal bottle? Well yes, it would appear, using nothing more scientific than my own senses whilst supping, that it does, though don’t go expecting water fountain cold; it’s just cooler than it would be otherwise…
All in all the Camelbak Podium Chill an excellent bottle to use and even comes with a lifetime guarantee called the ‘CamelBak Got Your Bak Guarantee’. If you are not racing for a team, where lost and swapped bottles are an everyday occurrence, and you are prepared to look after your bottles, then the Podium bottles make complete sense.
Our CycleTechReview.com top tip for bottle cleanliness and hygiene: boil the kettle and run some boiling water through your bottles, then rinse with cold water before you add your sports drink. Do this every time you use them and they will last a lot longer and stay gunk free.
Camelbak Podium Chill RRP £13.99