We are huge fans of the standard Camelback back-pack style water packs. They are easy to use, store plenty of water for long rides, and easy to keep clean. It was with great excitement that we began our test on the new Camelback Podium Water bottle.
The test bottle is a Team Slipstream branded bottle received directly from a team rider during the Amgen Tour of California. The plastic is pliable and easy to squeeze, a requirement when drinking with this bottle, with a snug fitting cap. There is an integrated lever on the cap that allows you to “lock” the bottle closed during transport. This feature proved handy as it all but eliminated that pesky cap drip famous with standard bottles.
The signature feature on the Camelback Podium Bottle is the soft drink valve. Marketing literature advertises this as a time and teeth saver because users are no longer required to bite open and smack shut the drink valve.
Initial impressions of the bottle were very positive. It quickly became the go to favorite of our editors and found itself being used not only on the bike but also in the car and at the office. The lock valve being a very useful feature to avoid spills.
The bite valve drinking system was very useful on the road as it eliminated the need to open and shut the bottle. Drinking became a much simpler task with less motion required. On a funnier side note one of our testers noted that as a force of habit she would find herself smacking the bite valve “closed” after drinking; a testament to the habits cyclists develop after long miles in the saddle.
The Podium bottle was hand washed and dried every other day or immediately after being filled with energy drink.
After 2 months of regular use a serious design flaw presented itself. The design of the bite valve creates a difficult to reach void in the top of the bottle. This void, no matter how careful our testers attempted to be, was always moist. Eventually the moisture allowed for a small amount of mold growth. This was a shocking outcome given that Camelback has made great strides in their use of mold resistant materials.
The lid was removed and given a thorough disinfecting and drying. After the first encounter our testers were more careful with keeping that area as free of moisture as possible. The extra attention, to this point, has prevented a recurrence.
The Camelback Podium Waterbottle is a great addition to any active tandem team’s water bottle cages. With extra care on cleaning and drying this bottle is an effective alternative to standard bottles and will serve its purpose well.