Camelbak Podium ICE | Review

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle, Camelbak Big Chill

Riding a beautiful trail on a crisp winter day, you stop to take in the scenery and get a drink. Putting your water bottle to your lips you give it a squeeze . . . nothing. You look at the bottle, give it another squeeze, shake it to see if it's frozen and whack it against your bars. The bottle will still not squeeze and you cannot unscrew the top. Frustrated you put the bottle inside your jacket hoping that after another 15-20 minutes riding you may be able to get a little H2O. This has happened to me countless times over the last number of winters and I needed a solution.

Some folks use water bladders in their backpack, but the hoses are prone to freeze even with insulation. And I don’t want the hassle involved with washing out a bladder to clean out possible nasty bacteria.

Backpack Water Bladder

Another option would be to run some sort of insulated frame bag to carry the bottle. Frame bags are not cheap and it may keep the water from freezing, but I’m pretty sure it would be rather tricky to open a frame bag while riding. Some folks even add a little of their favorite "firewater" to their bottle to change the freezing point. I just wanted a water bottle that would not freeze.

Perusing the sale bin of one of my favorite on-line retailers, I stumbled across the Camelbak Podium Ice water bottle. It was marketed towards keeping water cooler for longer periods, but why couldn’t it work in reverse and keep water from freezing. I dropped a couple in my cart and waited impatiently for the mailman to arrive.

When the package showed up I was surprised to discover exactly how big it was. I know it said 750ml in the description, but actually getting it into my hands I was pleased with the extra capacity over and above a “normal” sized water bottle.

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle Holding it in Hand

Although it was much taller than a "regular" water bottle, it did easily slip into a standard water bottle cage.  Having used a regular Camelbak water bottle in the summer I really liked the wide, self sealing nozzle with lockout. But how will it handle the cold?

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle Nozzle Close-up

Popping over to the Camelbak site revealed the following specifications:
  • Aerogel Insulation
  • Large 750ml (25 oz) capacity
  • 100% free of nasty BPA, BPS and BPF
  • Self-sealing valve that eliminates splatters and spills
  • Removable nozzle for easy cleaning with lockout for leakproof transport
  • Wide-mouth opening is easy to fill and clean
  • TruTaste polypropylene with HydroGuard - lets you taste the water, not the bottle

Camelbak Podium Ice Water  Bottle Information Tag

After a quick wash it was time to see if Camelbak Podium Ice would stop water from freezing when riding in the cold winter months.

The water bottle accompanied me during several hundred km’s of winter riding. I rode sheltered trails where the falling snow twinkled as it fell to the ground, to large open expanses of ice where the wind itched to free exposed skin.

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle On Bike in Wiinter

Temperatures varied from the plus side of zero to -25 with the bottle being exposed to all the winter elements. I also accidentally left the bottle in my vehicle overnight during a particularly cold snap, and inadvertently dropped it on a few lone rocks that just happened to be peeking out of the snow.

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle on bike in winter

So does it work?

My normal riding time during the winter is about 1-3 hours per outing. At no point in time did the water completely freeze in the Camelbak Podium Ice. Sure there were times when a thin crust of ice coated the inside, but a quick squeeze reduced it to slush.

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle on bike in winter

During one particularly cold and thirsty ride, I was only able to get a trickle of water from the nozzle even though there was plenty of water inside. I was anticipating a frozen cap, but it easily unscrewed to reveal the problem. Ice had formed around the inside lip of the bottle stopping water from getting into the nozzle. As that portion of the bottle is not insulated, the repeated sloshing of cold water eventually built up the chunk of ice. I didn’t bother clearing it as I was near the end of my ride, but I’m thinking a few raps on the ice would have remedied the situation.

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle Frozen Top

When I discovered that I had left the bottle in my vehicle overnight I was pretty confident that I would be lifting a chunk of ice. Nope, but the water was pretty cold. Also, the bottle did not suffer any undue harm after being clumsily dropped and kissing hard surfaces.

Camelbak Podium Ice Water Bottle Flowing Water

The Camelbak Podium Ice definitely met my expectations. I'm sure there is a limit to it keeping water in a liquid state, but if it ever gets THAT cold maybe I should not be riding. Yea right!



  1. This means that heat energy does not travel as easily through the wooden spoon as it does through the metal one, keeping it relatively cool on the handle.

    insulated food containers


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