So its a nice warm day. Or its hot, really hot, and humid and windy! But you are tough and riding on, dealing with it. Then you take a break and take a nice big gulp of hot water! Yuk! Suddenly you are ready to go home. Those days are over if you get the insulated CamelBak Podium Big Chill Water Bottles.
These bottles really are great and are worth the investment. I paid $14 each for the 25 ounce size.
Load them up with some ice and fill them with water and you will be surprised how long the water stays cold. Worst case scenario the water gets cool but never warm. When Guy and I rode the Ohio to Erie Trail in May 2012 it was unbelievably hot. We left on May 19 and it was in the 90s. One day we were riding on the hilly back roads of Amish Country it was 94 degrees with dew points in the 70s. I was so happy that I had these great bottles keeping my water cool. Guy was using conventional water bottles and we often compared my water to his. The water in Guy’s bottles was tepid if not hot and my water was cool and refreshing. It was a profound difference. The bottles are BPA free and there is no plastic taste.
The other great feature is the “Jet Valve.” Essentially the bottle is always open but does not spill or leak. No more struggling to open a water bottle with your teeth while trying not to wreck. There is a “closed” position but I have never used it. (twist to close) Maybe I would use the closed position if I were putting the bottle in a gym bag but it is not needed for cycling. You can squeeze the bottle and shoot the water into your mouth without putting your lips on the bottle. This is a great feature when riding on the dusty crushed limestone towpath trail. Or go ahead and put the bottle in your mouth and suck the water without squeezing. This feature was very important to me as my hands really took a beating on this tour and were so fatigued that squeezing became difficult. Guy says the bottles are great because they give you a real mouthful of water rather than a tiny sip that you get from other bottles.
The way the valve opens and closes is genius. I am sure that the industrial designers worked hard to get it right. It truly is new technology in a water bottle.
One other thing that was surprising is that the bottles still look good. The graphic design is nice and racy but not too loud. I was happy the look did not get ruined. Other water bottles that I have owned got beat up pretty quickly from all the in and out of the water bottle cages which would smear the graphics and scuff the plastic.
You can see in the top photo the red color on the Camelback bottles did bleed slightly but they still look good after 800 miles of hot and hard riding. I am a thirsty girl and these bottles held up and exceeded my expectations. Perhaps the cages contributed. They are standard “Dimension” cages with a matt black finish. A small amount of the paint did wear off on the front cage. Even though these bottles are over-sized they still fit nicely in the cages and on the frame of my Jamis Aurora. I was very happy to have the extra ounces on those hot, hilly, headwind days.
There is no negative about the CamelBak Podium Big Chill Water Bottles. Except maybe the price but I feel they are a good value and worth the investment. They are designed well and I have no problem paying for something works as intended and holds up to its task. I highly recommend them. A+ Thanks CamelBak!
Update 7/6/13: After an entire season of hearing Carolyn tell me how cold her water was and hearing the ice cubes clunking around in her bottles while I was drinking my tepid swill from my conventional bottles, I broke down this season and bought two Big Chills. I couldn’t be happier. Just the other day while we were riding, I hit a big bump in the road and one of my Big Chills jumped out of its cage and landed in the street. I retrieved it and carried on. When I got home, I noticed that the nozzle was missing. Bummer. I checked the Camelbak website and they have a page for warranties! I sent them and email. I will add the result to this review when I hear from them….
Update:Camelbak came through! About ten days after I emailed them, they sent me a brand new cap, not just the nipple. Excellent. I really appreciate that kind of above-and-beyond type of service. It seems that Camelbak has got your bak 😉
For what it’s worth, though, they sent me a black lid, not gray. There is a place on the email form to specify color. Really, I don’t care, I’m just trying to be thorough.