By Jenn K.
The Podium Ice Water Bottle was provided by Camelbak for this review.
While biking I like to have cold water and a bottle that does not leak. A cold refreshing beverage sounds good to me. On all my mountain and road bike rides I have my water bottles filled with some kind of endurance or electrolyte drink. And I like them cold. In the past I would partially freeze a bottle so that my beverage was chilled during my ride. There is no need for that anymore with the Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle.
The Camelbak Podium Ice holds 21 oz. of liquid and is BPA free. It is made with TruTaste polypropylene, which is a proprietary blend of polypropylene that is taste-free. The bottle is also made with HydroGuard (an antimicrobial technology embedded directly into the bottle walls).
This bottle is claimed to keep beverages cold four times longer by using Zeroloft aerogel insulation. The bottle is made with a low-profile double-wall with a layer of airtight, insulating foam. This insulation is not stiff and allows for the bottle to be squeezed without any effort. The bottle can also be frozen (3/4 full of liquid). For best performance it is recommended to fill the bottle with ice.
The Jet Valve (drinking valve) is made from medical-grade silicone. It is not a typical bite valve or pop open top. It appears at first glance to be a bite valve. This valve opens only when the bottle is squeezed (to squirt) or sucked. However, there is a lockout feature on the top of the bottle to lock the bottle during storage or when it can be tossed around and leakage is a possible fear. Carbonated beverages can be stored in the Podium Ice, but it is recommended to leave the lock out open to prevent pressure build up.
The bottle can be hand washed or placed in the dishwasher on the top rack; avoiding high heat settings. The manufacturer does not recommend taking apart the valve or forcing any items though it for cleaning purposes.
So far the Podium Ice fits in my water bottle cages on all my bikes without any forceful effort, and there has not been any leaking onto the frame of my bike. I tried sucking on the bottle and squeezing the bottle to get the liquid into my mouth. Both ways were a success. I went on a two hour ride with the bottle filled with ice and my endurance drink. The liquid was noticeably cooler than the liquid in my non-insulated bottle.
A month has gone by since I received the Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle. So far I am very pleased with it. It has been hot here in Southern California and I have been road and mountain bike riding in temperatures ranging from the upper 50’s to 95 degrees. But with this water bottle I always had a cold beverage to drink.
I used the same electrolyte drink in the Podium Ice for the past month. I do not like to switch up my drink if it is working well for me. At times I filled the bottle with ice then my powdered drink. This method kept my drink cold until I was finished with it (about an hour) and there were some ice chunks remaining.
Other times I would fill the bottle ¾ of the way with water, add my powder and freeze it with the top off. This worked well if I was going on a longer ride, say 3 hours. My drink was very cold and there was a tiny bit of ice remaining.
For very short rides under 1 hour or when I did not have ice available, I just mixed my powder with water. The water was not super cold, but it was not hot or too warm for me to enjoy it.
Hands down the Podium Ice Bottle keeps my beverages cooler than a non-insulated bottle. The beverages in my other bottles (prepared the same way) were not as cold as the beverage in the Podium Ice Bottle.
I like that my beverage stays cool in this bottle, but that is not my favorite feature. That would have to be the lid. With it locked it does not leak when squeezed or squashed. When it is unlocked it only dispenses my drink when squeezed or sucked; no liquid seeps out of the valve. Also no liquid seeps out of where the lid fits onto the bottle. This is great in my opinion! I no longer have sticky electrolyte drink on the frame of my bicycles or on my shoes when I am riding.
Each time after a ride I wash my bottles as soon as I get home. This is because I want to keep my bottles as clean as possible. Generally I washed the Podium Ice by hand. Here are my steps for washing: rinse it out with fresh water, add soap and water, put the lid on, squirt some soapy water through, take off the lid, rinse with water, add water to the bottle, put the lid back on, squirt out fresh water, take the lid off, rinse again, suck out remaining water through the bite valve, set the bottle upside down to dry. Sometimes there would be a few spots of water in the bottle the next morning after washing it, but they would be gone by the end of the day.
There was a time or two that I placed it in the dishwasher and it held up just fine. I let the bottle air dry after the wash cycle.
There has been no mold or icky stuff growing inside my bottle. After washing though I can still lightly smell the flavor of my drink. On the outside of the bottle are some black marks from my water bottle cage. Sometimes these can be scrubbed off, but other times it is too much effort, so I just let them be.
Final Update 8/16/10
After two months of using the Camelbak Podium Ice it is finally showing its true colors. I have to say, I like how cold it keeps my beverages. It is nice on a hot day to still have ice cubes in my bottle and a cool refreshing drink over an hour into my ride. I really like the design of the valve. I have the option of squeezing the bottle or sucking the valve to get a cool drink.
During the past month I have used the Podium Ice Bottle on all my bike rides (mountain and road) and on fitness walks/rollerblading at the beach. I have been carrying the Podium Ice in my bottle cages or my jersey pocket while biking. The temperatures have ranged from the mid 50’s to the low 90’s.
During day to day life the Podium Ice does not leak. I can toss the bottle around, turn it upside down, and it still does not leak. However, I noticed that on my mountain bike the bottle leaks/dribbles a tiny bit. This has yet to happen when the Podium Ice is in my road bike bottle cage. I have determined that when I am riding over rocks and ruts the bottle is pressing against the cage and some fluid is dribbling. It is not much, but I can see drip marks on my bike (and this is not from condensation). I have not noticed this on all my rides, just after riding on bumpy terrain.
The Podium Ice will leak if I put my electrolyte drink mix in the bottle, shake it, and forget to have the valve cap closed. If I squeeze the bottle while shaking it I have a complete mess with the valve opened. This is all resolved by just closing the valve cap. No worries there!
The other time the Podium Ice will leak is when I am taking it out of my water bottle cage on my bike and I accidently squeeze it. I only had small leaks as I was not squeezing it hard. Sometimes just the pressure of taking it out of the cage will cause it to leak, especially when it is full. I learned to be more careful when removing it from the cage; to prevent leaking.
I noticed that after taking a drink from the bottle and I sit it down I hear a hissing noise. It sounds like to me there is some fluid trying to escape from the valve opening, maybe due to pressure. Or maybe it is the sound of air going into the bottle to displace the liquid I squeezed out.
I have used carbonated tablets in the Podium Ice. As recommended by the tablet manufacturer I waited to put the cap on the bottle until the tablet was fully dissolved. When the bottle cap is set to the open position I have not noticed any pressure build up. I had some pressure when the cap was set to the closed position for a length of time, the bottle was almost full, and I was riding my bike over bumpy terrain. I heard a “pop” when I set the cap open. This was not a big deal to me as this has happened to me with other types of bottles.
My worst nightmare is mold. Yuck! Well I got mold in the valve of the Podium Ice. I washed the bottle every single time I used it. It did not sit for long periods of time and I used the same washing technique as explained in my last update. Even after running it through the dishwasher I could not get rid of the mold. So, I had to remove the Jet Valve from the cap. Warning, the manufacturer does not suggest doing this! I washed the inside of the Jet Valve and I used a toothpick to pick the mold out of the grooves that were exposed when I removed the valve. By removing the Jet Valve I can not see that I caused any damage to the bottle. I could not see any other way to clean out the mold. The mold has surfaced twice in the past month and I think it is because I use sugary electrolyte drinks in the Podium Ice.
It is hard to find things in life that are perfect. I find that all bottles are hard to clean and keep mold free. I like the valve of the Podium Ice so much that I will live with removing the Jet Valve once in a while to get the valve and the opening clean. Even though the bottle leaks from time to time when I am bouncing off rocks or while I am squeezing it trying to get it out of the bottle cage; I can live with that too. I like how cold the Podium Ice keeps my beverages and it has no plastic taste.
Hands down this is the best bottle I have ever owned as far as drinking ease, leakage, and insulation. I plan on taking it on many more rides until it is ready to be retired.
For more information on the Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle please visit www.camelbak.com. The Podium Ice Bottle retails for $20.00.