Camelbak Podium Chill review

Last modified on June 22nd, 2017  |  Written by
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Having a cool drink during summer is something that you can achieve with ice, but insulated bottles keep your drink cool for longer. Camelbak Podium Chill claims to keep your drink cool twice as long as a regular bottle, but can it deliver and how much cooler is your drink?

Video Review

Check out more MTB related videos at the My MTB Guide Youtube Channel. Below this video you find the video transcription. 


SPECS

The Camelbak Podium Chill is one 1 of 3 bottles in the Camelbak Podium series, which are the standard Podium, the Podium Chill and the Podium Ice. The only differences between these bottles are the capacity and thermal insulation. The Podium is non insulated, while the Podium Chill should keep your drink cool twice as long as a regular bottle while the Podium Ice should keep your drink cool 4 times as long as a regular bottle. Later in this video we’re going to test if the Podium Chill really keeps your drink cool twice as long.


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The thin isolation keeps the bottle flexible and small for its capacity





The thermal insulation is done by using of a double wall construction in the bottle with a thin thermal sheet in between. This keeps the bottle flexible so you can squeeze the bottle to take a drink. Drinking out of this bottle is a lot easier compared to generic bottles. The Camelbak Podium series use a self sealing valve which removes the need to pull on the nozzle every time you want to drink. You just squeeze the bottle hard enough which opens the valve. It doesn’t spill under normal circumstances and even shaking it keeps the water in the bottle. You have the option to lock the bottle if you want to, for instance if you want to transport full bottles.


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The nozzle is easy to remove for cleaning

The design has furthermore some indentations and extrusions to increase the grip on the bottle and makes it easier to open or close the cap. The cap is threaded and requires normal force to open it. The nozzle is made of silicone and is removable for easy cleaning. However, it's not recommended to put the whole bottle in the dishwasher due to the heat and therefore risk of deformation of the bottle.


THE TEST

Drinking out of the Camelbak Podium Chill bottle should give you a noticeable cooler drink, but how much cooler and how does it perform on a long ride? Well, that’s hard to describe without some numbers. So we're going to test 4 bottles containing the same amount of water and measure the water temperature over a period of 4 hours.


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From left to right: Alfi Eco travel mug, Elite Thermos 4h, Camelbak Podium Chill, generic bottle.

These are the bottles for the test:

  • A generic travel mug, the Alfi Eco. This is not a bike specific bottle but shows how much a normal insulated mug holds it temperature.
  • The second one is a more heavy insulated bike specific bottle, this is the Elite Thermo 4h.
  • Third is of course the Camelbak Podium Chill.
  • And lastly a generic bottle to compare how hot your drink is getting now without insulation.

The test starts with 8 degrees’ Celsius tap water in every bottle and an ambient temperature of 28,7 degrees Celsius. The first measurement point is at 30 minutes.


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The insulated bottles perform as expected (below the generic bottle) but a lot higher than the travel mug.

Interesting to see is that the water in th Alfi Eco travel mug did not even increase by half a degree while the generic bottle already rose 4 degrees celcius. The two bike specific insulated bottles perform as expected between both of the temperature ranges.

Over the next few hours the bottles perform somewhat as expected, holding their position compared to each other due to their thermal properties. The Camelbak Podium Chill does get to pretty high temperatures for an insulated bottle. The Alfi Eco travel bottle outperforms the bike specific insulated bottles by a huge margin. It reaches the 10 degree Celsius point just at the 4 hour mark while the other bottles are all past the 20 degree mark.


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About 1,5 degrees difference in Camelback's claim of keeping your drink cold twice as long at the 2 hour mark.

Camelbak claims that the Podium Chill will keep your water cold twice as long compared to a regular bottle. So if we check the temperature of a regular bottle at 1 hour, it should take about 2 hours for the Podium Chill to get to the same temperature. Here the Podium Chill sits at about 1,5 degrees higher. When we check the temperature of the generic bottle at 2 hours and the podium chill at 4 hours, the difference decreased to the point where it’s negligible. So Camelbak’s claim that the Podium Chill will keep your drink cool twice as long is true.


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Cooling down your drink 4 degrees or more give you similair or better results in this scenario within a 4-hour timespan.

An insulated bottle is not the only way to have a cool drink while riding. You can place a bottle in the fridge or put ice in it to cool it down below the 8 degrees as tested here. If you can cool your drink down 4 degrees or more in this scenario, you will see that it outperforms the insulated bottles within the 4-hour timespan.






CONCLUSION

The Camelbak Podium Chill has a somewhat innovative and convenient valve to drink through which also does not spill any water under normal circumstances. However, if you shake it hard enough it will leak. You can lock the valve, but it does not completely seal the bottle. Firmly squeezing the bottle will cause it to leak slightly, so I don’t recommend putting it in your bag if you’re travelling to an event. However, mountain biking with this bottle didn’t gave me any issues of leaking.


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The old style nozzle of the Camelbak Podium on the left and the newest high flow rate nozzle on the right. 

The nozzle is a now bit bigger compared to some older generations and this was done to increase the flow rate. I preferred the smaller nozzle and flow rate wasn’t an issue for me, but they made drinking out of the bottle just a bit faster. Mounting the bottle in the bottle cage is easy and it sits fairly snug. I’ve had bottles that sat more secure in the bottle cage but I did not lose the Camelbak Podium of Podium Chill on rough terrain.


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Just 2,5 degrees Celcius difference between a regular bottle and the Camelbak Podium Chill

When looking at the thermal characteristics of this bottle I can say that the meet the claim of keeping your drinks cool twice as long. This is the most important part that differentiates de Podium Chill from the standard Podium. Twice as long sounds like a lot but the actual temperature difference does disappoint me somewhat. According to the test results you can say that the Podium Chill keeps your drink about 2,5 degrees Celsius cooler. Now that’s not that much and if you’re like me and empty 2-3 bottles in a 3-hour ride, then putting some ice in your bottle can give similar or even better results as a Podium Chill. That is why I’m not that positive about the Podium Chill. Besides the thermal properties is a great bottle, that is why I do recommend the regular model, the Camelbak Podium over the Camelbak Podium Chill.

My MTB Guide rating   3 5 star rating


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