Until I started road cycling I never paid much attention to water bottles. I had about a half-dozen inexpensive water bottles that I used for my daily hydration needs (off the bike), but once I started road cycling I knew I needed to find something better. The CamelBak Podium Big Chill was highly recommended by my local bike shop, and so I purchased a couple of them when I bought my Madone.
The Podium Big Chill is, in my opinion, the perfect water bottle. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Dude, it’s just a water bottle!” It’s a water bottle alright, but it’s designed so thoughtfully that it’s a far cry from “just a water bottle”. In fact, I was so impressed with the Big Chill that I bought several more and tossed out all my cheap water bottles. This is the water bottle that I use all day long now–on, and off, the bike.
So what makes this 25-ounce (it actually holds 26 ounces) bottle worth spending about 12 bucks?
- The bottle is double-walled and insulated. It does a fantastic job of keeping your water cold, even when riding in hot weather.
- 100% BPA-free.
- Constructed from “TruTaste polypropylene”: water tastes like water, not plastic.
- I can’t say enough good things about the design of the valve. CamelBak calls it “Jet Valve”, and it does not leak. I’ve knocked the water bottle over (even with the lockout in the “open” position) and not a drop was spilled.
- The Jet Valve lets your control the amount of water you want: squeeze the bottle lightly for a little water, harder for increased flow.
- Twist valve lockout prevents leaking if the bottles are stored in such a way that they might be squeezed (like in a gear bag).
- Inside of bottle is lined with “HydroGuard”, which protects from deterioration and bacteria.
- Fits securely in most types of bike bottle cages.
- Lifetime warranty.
The design of the valve is pretty genius. Even with the lockout in the “open” position if you happen to knock the bottle over it simply does not leak–not a single drop. I’ve knocked my water bottle over more times than I’d care to admit, and as someone who is rarely far from a computer this has resulted in more than a few soaked keyboards. That will never happen again with the Big Chill.
As mentioned above, there is also a simple twist lock that can be used to lock out the water valve. I normally never need to use the lock out, but if your tossing your filled bottles into a bag or something the lockout will prevent the bottles from leaking if they are compressed.
At more than 12 bucks these are not inexpensive water bottles, but they are worth every last cent. Also, with CamelBak’s “Got Your Bak” lifetime guarantee, these are probably the last water bottles you’ll ever buy.