Cresting that summit on a stifling summer's day, you reach down for your bottle to douse your tongue and throat with cool refreshing liquid only to find a tepid blast of energy drink... never very nice. Camelbak's Podium Chill Insulated Water Bottle is designed to combat that, but while it does help a little, I don't think it makes enough difference to justify the price. The bottle does have some other benefits, though.
- Pros: Bite valve is easy to use, true taste to your drink
- Cons: Insulation works only to a very small margin
With the daily temperatures during the test period nudging the mid-20s, I was looking forward to a refreshingly chilled drink mid-ride, but to be honest the difference between this Podium Chill bottle and a standard model can only really be detected by a thermometer.
A basic test of a few hours in the sun out on the patio next to a transparent High5 bottle saw the Camelbak delivering a serving just 2°C cooler; so yes it works, but not by the margin I'd expect for a £14.99 water bottle. You'd be better off leaving your standard bottle in the freezer for a bit before you ride, or bunging in a handful of ice cubes.
It's not all bad news, as the Podium's Jet Valve is very easy to use and being self-sealing it rarely spits its sticky contents out over your frame. Hold it up to your mouth and you can squeeze to drink and let go to close it, rather than having to suck.
The tapered mid-section of the bottle and upper ridge mean it'll stay put too, even when riding off-road.
For transport, you can lock the valve so even when pressure is applied to the bottle or it's held upside down it cannot leak. The nozzle can also be removed for cleaning – ideal after those dusty gravel rides.
One thing I do really like is Camelbak's use of BPA-free polypropylene in its construction, which takes away that plastic taste from your drink. Whatever you put in the bottle tastes exactly as it should.
Price-wise, though, why spend £14.99? You might as well buy Camelbak's standard bottle and bung a load of ice in it for the noticeable difference on a long ride. You can pick up bottles for half that £11.99 price, too, though you won't get the added benefits of the Jet Valve, which might make it enough to justify the price.
The Jet Valve is a pleasure to drink from but the insulation makes the tiniest of differences
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Camelbak Podium Chill Insulated Bottle
Size tested: 620ml
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Camelbak says, "With double-walled construction to keep water cold twice as long as other bottles, the insulated CamelBak Podium Chill is the best-of-the-best for delivering cold, consistent cycling hydration. Features like optimized cage fit and improved cleanability continue to make this bottle a favorite among professionals and recreational users alike. It is and always has been 100% free of BPA, BPS and BPF."
It's a nice bottle to drink from but doesn't really deliver when it comes to insulation.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Double-Walled Construction: Keeps water cold twice as long
Optimized Cage Fit: Engineered to securely fit in a variety of bottle cages
Easy Squeeze: Get more fluid with less effort
High Flow, Self-Sealing Cap: Maximizes flow rate while eliminating splatters and spills
100% free of BPA, BPS and BPF: Ride clean, drink clean
Easy-to-Clean Interface: All parts can separate for thorough cleaning
Positive Lock out: For leak-proof transport
TrutasteTM Polypropylene with HydroguardTM: Taste your water and nothing else, time after time.
The Jet Valve™ is made from medical grade, self-sealing silicone
Bike & Sport Insulated
Sport & Bike
7.3 x 7.3 x 23.8 cm / 2.9 x 2.9 x 9.4 in
BPA-Free TruTaste™ Polypropylene
99 g / 3.5 oz
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Not the most effective way to keep your drink cool, especially for the money.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The Jet Valve is a pleasure to drink from.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The insulation doesn't really do much.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are similar bottles out there that come in much cheaper than the Camelbak.
Did you enjoy using the product? It's okay to drink from.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
A nice bottle to use and drink from but the insulation is mediocre, especially for the price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.