Great bottle, excellent valve, but the insulation isn't a deal clincher

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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road.cc test report

Make and model: Camelbak Podium Chill water bottle

Size tested: 750ml

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

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

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

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 and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.


STATO [566 posts] 9 years ago

I agree with that, standard podium is very good and the chill dosnt really give any noticable benefit. Need to try both with a bit of ice in tho, have a feeling this might make a more noticable difference between the two. One problem i had was the bottles a slightly more difficult to fit into full wrap cages due to the shape.

cat1commuter [1421 posts] 9 years ago

Yes, the podium is great. I also found the perfect bottle cage for it, the Arundel Sport.

dave atkinson [6528 posts] 9 years ago

I did try it with ice in but it's the same story really: it *is* a bit better but not – in my opinion – enough to justify the extra spend over the standard one.

jezzzer [328 posts] 9 years ago

pedant's corner: i think shiny silver would be better even than white. maybe.

dave atkinson [6528 posts] 9 years ago

duly noted, pedant. or a shiny foil layer between the clear bottle and the polyprop insulation

abudhabiChris [691 posts] 9 years ago

Matters of temperature are of great interest in this part of the world, and I've been using one of these Camelbacks for a few weeks now.

Maybe the test results would differ depending on the ambient temperature and conditions.

On our Friday club rides there is a refill stop where I fill one normal bottle and the Camelback with chilled water at the same time.

The Camelback gives about an extra hour of keeping the contents noticeably cool over a normal bottle, in temperatures around 35-36C.

On my morning training rides I leave it in the freezer overnight and it is thawed out but cold after about an hour and stays that way for another hour or so.

It's marginally better than the Polar insulated bottle I have been using. The only problem with any insulated bottle is the lower capacity. I'd love one that held 750ml and frankly would pay silly money for it.

dave atkinson [6528 posts] 9 years ago

hi chris, thanks for that. Interesting to hear that it's a boon somewhere where it's *really* hot!