On a hot day it's nice to have a cool drink, and this Podium Chill bottle from Camelbak scores firstly for being an excellent bottle to drink from and secondly for keeping your water a little bit cooler. Don't expect it to work miracles, but it does have an effect.
The bottle itself is the same size as a standard 750ml unit but the internal capacity is reduced thanks to a layer of polypropylene insulation. We'll leave that for now and focus on the valve, which is excellent. fully locked it doesn't leak at all and when open you can still hold the bottle upside down without it dripping, yet a quick squeeze delivers all the water you need. It's about as good as water bottle valves get, so top marks on that front.
And the insulation? Well, our unscientific test was to leave the Chill out in the sun with another two bottles (one light, one dark) for a couple of hours. Drinking from the dark bottle was like supping a tepid bath – not pleasant – whereas the white bottle's contents were still relatively cool. And the Chill? A bit cooler still, so it does work, albeit in a fairly minimal way. I can understand from a sales point of view why they've made the bottle transparent – you can see the insulation layer – but really it should be white plastic, to deflect more heat from the contents.
One to recommend then? Well I'm not sure that the extra fiver over a standard podium bottle is justifiable: although the Chill jacket does work it's hardly a revelation. What I would say, however, is that £8 for the standard Podium is worth paying, even though it's a lot for a bottle, because the design of the bottle and valve is excellent.
Great bottle but the insulation isn't really a deal clincher. We'd go for the standard one. NB the performance mark below takes into account the performance of the insulation, as a bottle alone there's little to fault.
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Make and model: Camelbak Podium Chill water bottle
Size tested: 750ml
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I'd go for the non-insulated version
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd recommend the non-insulated version
Age: 37 Height: 190cm Weight: 96kg
I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.