I’ve got my favorite bottles and they’re rarely the ones that you get for free at a local cycling event. The best bottles are well worth the price of admission in hours of quality, thermo-regulated water flow. When Camelbak re-designed their venerable Podium bottles, they did their homework and they are without question my bottle of choice for road riding.

Camelbak Podium Water Bottle Features:

  • Available in 21 oz, 24 oz, 21 oz Chill, 24 oz Chill or 21 oz Ice
  • Variety of color options to match your bike or kit
  • Re-designed, larger Jet Valve nozzle
  • Lockout dial for leak-free transport
  • TruTaste with HydroGuard protects taste
  • Removable nozzle for cleaning
  • MSRP: $9-$25

Camelbak Podium 24 oz

Camelbak Podium Offers Easy Hydration

The most important attribute of any water bottle is the water flow. It’s got to be consistent, of sufficient volume and dribble-free. Anytime a water bottle gets worn out enough that it starts dribbling  all over the place, it’s time to be retired. Luckily, the Jet Valve not only provides an excellent water flow, but it hasn’t changed one bit since day one. It remains dribble-free and delivers ample water-per-squeeze.

With the TruTaste liner, you get clean-tasting water. We’ve all experienced the plastic taste after the water has been sitting in a bottle all day. That just never happens with the Podium bottles. And, even when using strong-tasting liquids, it washes clean and does pretty well with plain water afterwards — with only a slight taste of the previous liquid. Thankfully, that slight taste fades completely after a thorough washing. The only time I had it linger really was after my wife’s Rapha 100 ride where she mixed a cocktail of Mountain Dew and Mandarin Orange Mio energy — enough to kill a small animal, but keep her going, I guess.

The uninsulated version remains my favorite of the bunch (I tested both Chill sizes, but not the Ice version) for its maximum water carrying capability and ease of water flow. Without the double bottle of the Chill series, the water flow is more consistent and the 24 oz form-factor is just perfect. On longer rides, I did appreciate the Chill bottles and noticed that they kept cold drinks colder much longer — though I’m anxious to see just how much better the Podium Ice bottle is.

Camelbak Podium Chill 21 oz

I love the locking nozzle, but honestly found that the ergonomics is off. The primary tactile feel of the dial is to close the nozzle. When grabbing the bottle on-the-fly, I’d rather see the wings fine-tuned for opening, since I’m usually in a hurry to open and drink, not close the valve. Just reverse the curvature and all would be well. Stuffing the bottle in a backpack and sloshing around, resulted in zero leaks… ever.

I’ll also say that the nozzle is better for road than MTB use. The reason being is the huge JetValve nozzle tends to attract dirt and can get pretty gnarly on the trail. I never knew what additional ruffage I was ingesting with every squeeze, but instead just turned a blind eye to the filth. At the end of the ride, I’d look at it and always get a little disgusted. On the road, the valve kept really clean — not a worry there. Luckily, the nozzle is easily removed for proper cleaning at the end of the day.

The Good

  • Awesome amount and volume of water flow
  • Bottle is soft and squeezable with ease
  • JetValve is easily cleaned
  • Water tastes like water, not plastic
  • Most flavored beverages don’t linger
  • Offered in a variety of sizes — insulated and non
  • Non-insulated version is easier to squeeze and fits easier in bottle cages

The Bad

  • Nozzle attracts tons of dirt on the trail
  • Locking mechanism should cater more to unlocking
  • Strong beverages linger longer (my wife’s crazy concoction, for example)
  • Insulated one is harder to squeeze and is a tighter fit in bottle cages

The Bottom Line: Camelbak New Podium Bottles

For road riding, the new Podium bottles (in all their varieties) are, without question, my favorite water bottles. I particularly like the standard 24 oz bottle — it’s only $10, keeps water tasting great and has a killer amount of water flow.

Buy Now: Available at REI.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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