CamelBak’s Podium series of water bottles have been a favorite of many cyclists and one of their most popular bottles. What sets the Podium bottles apart from other water bottles on the market is Camebak’s patented jet valve nozzle. The self sealing, and high flow nozzle makes them easy to drink from and eliminates accidental spills. With the latest Podium 3.0 bottles, CamelBak has addressed the two major flaws the Podium bottles have had – bottle cage fit and clean-ability. 

The best gets better? The Podium 3.0 bottles promise a more optimized bottle cage fit and easier to clean design. With an easy to grip design, higher flow nozzle that can be disassembled for a thorough cleaning, CamelBak delivers.

The previous generation’s scalloped grip design meant the Podium bottles didn’t have a secure fit with some bottle cage designs. More importantly, the previous valve design was difficult to disassemble and clean making them prone to mold or junk unless you cleaned the bottles regularly. With the Podium 3.0 bottles, the exterior form factor has been revised to have a more common grip ring and tapered diameter design that makes them easier to grip and mount on a cage. The valve is now wider and can be fully separated from the cap allowing the bottles to be easier and more thoroughly cleaned. In this review we’ll look at all four 21oz variations of the Podium lineup: the regular transparent Podium, Dirt Series Podium, Dirt Series Chill Podium and the Ice Podium.

CategoryBicycle Bottle
Rating9.2/10
Retail Price $10.00 (standard 21oz) / $13.00 (dirt series) / $17.00 (chill) / $25.00 (ice)
Measured Weight (in g) 80 / 84 / 114 / 142
Likes+ Improved form factor
+ Redesigned and easier to clean nozzle
+ High-flow and no-spill jet valve
Dislikes– Relatively heavy
– Removing valve takes some force
– Mud cap doesn’t feel secure
Where to Buy (US) CamelBak

UNBOXING

CamelBak packages the water bottles with basic ‘remove before use’ with a product info tag. As with any bottle, we recommend a thorough cleaning before use to remove any cooties from transportation and the initial plasticky taste. Note, the ‘remove before use’ tags are far easier to take off with this generation of Podium 3.0 bottles with a hard pull or by detaching the nozzle from the cap. 

FIT & FINISH

The CamelBak Podium bottle lineup contains a number of unique variations. Many of them are available in 24oz as well as the 21oz sizes (reviewed here). First is the standard transparent Podium bottle which has modern and simple graphics. Next is the ‘dirt series’ which features what CamelBak calls the ‘mud cap’ that protects the nozzle from grime which is nothing more than a rubber cover that is also easy to remove from the bottle. There are also two insulated versions, the Chill and the Ice. CamelBak claims the Chill bottle keeps water cool twice as long with the double-walled construction. With the dirt series version, the exterior graphics are different and the mud cap is included. The Ice version of the bottle is more expensive but keeps water cooler for 4x longer using Aerogel insulation. Note, despite all the bottles having the same 21oz capacity, the insulated bottles are quite a bit taller due to the smaller inner diameter.

Design-wise, we found the mud caps for the dirt series bottles were a nice touch but not very secure. Although the rubber design makes them easy to remove and use, they lacked the sturdiness of the full caps of the Elite water bottles we’ve reviewed. Unlike the scalloped exterior designs of previous Podium bottles, these 3.0 bottles have a tapered grip ring that is easier to grip. Although we haven’t had issues with the Podium bottles fitting bottle cages, the updated design fit our cages securely.

The biggest improvement with the Podium 3.0 bottles is the fact that they are easier to clean. The valve assembly is easier to take apart and can be broken down into smaller pieces than ever before. As you can see in the photo, the nozzle is wider than the previous iteration and can be fully removed from the cap itself. Once disassembled, you have – a junk filter, plastic lock ring, jet assembly, rubber gasket, nozzle cover, and the full nozzle assembly. It takes a little force to separate the valve assembly from the cap but once apart you have full access to easily clean the bottle. Unlike the previous jet valves which had small ridges that were difficult to access for cleaning, the Podium 3.0 bottles are far easier to clean.

THE VERDICT

Overall, we found the updated Podium bottles to be an impressive improvement from previous generations. The Podium bottles retain the self-sealing jet valve that has made the bottle so popular, but have been redesigned to be easier to clean. The entire nozzle assembly can be removed from the bottle cap, along with a wider nozzle head that is easy to clean and less prone to accumulating junk. While the mud cap isn’t as secure as we’d like, the dirt series are great for mountain biking while the insulated chill and ice ensure your water stays cool even on the hottest days. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Disclaimer:  The product for this review was provided by CamelBak. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.

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