Easy to Clean Water Bottles: CamelBak Podium Review

CamelBak Podium Water Bottle Review

As a germ-aware person (a nicer way of saying vigilant germaphobe), I was on the constant lookout for an easy-to-clean water bottle. It seems like no matter how intentionally I purchase an ‘easy to clean’ bottle, I will always wind up with gross mold in a crevice that is impossible to reach. At that point, the bottle is garbage if you can’t get it clean. I loathe waste.

Well folks, I have finally found the easy-to-clean winner: the CamelBak Podium water bottles. Not only are there a variety of Podium bottle styles available, but they all have a cap that dissembles into several easy-to-clean pieces that will be sure to last a long, mold-free life. These affordable water bottles are available for purchase on Amazon and Camelbak’s website (free shipping on orders over $25).

The CamelBak Podium Cap: Self Sealing Jet Valve with Lockout

The four Podium bottles I tested have the same cap design which is interchangeable between the bottles. You can lock the bottle to prevent spills, and the water easily flows from the valve when open. You can also buy this cap separately if you already have the bottle. One of the perks of CamelBak, is they sell individual parts.

This cap was clearly designed with cleaning in mind. It dissembles into multiple parts for washing (which is WONDERFUL). A skinny water bottle brush will wash this cap nicely. There is only one tiny crevice that might require a q-tip once and a while for cleanup (see picture) depending on your grime tolerance. Compared to other bottles I have used (which turn out to be nothing BUT hidden crevices), this is a very easy-to-clean cap design.

CamelBak Podium Bottles

All of the CamelBak Podium bottles tested:

  • Contain an additive (Hydroguard) to inhibit microbial growth (active ingredient: silver sodium hydrogen zirconium phosphate)
  • Are BPA/BPS/BPF free
  • Squeezable design for easy water flow
  • Easily fit into my bike cage
  • Made of durable materials! All bottles survived -33F temperatures when left outside for hours after shipment arrival (the same cannot be said about my ultimate frisbee…which shattered into tiny plastic pieces in the arctic cold.)
  • Have the Got Your Bak Lifetime Guarantee: Camelbak stands behind its products.  
CamelBak Podium Bottles Compared
Bottles Tested [from left to right]: Podium, Dirt Series Podium, Podium Ice, Podium Chill

The Podium and the Podium Dirt Series

The difference between the Podium and the Podium Dirt Series is that the Dirt Series comes with a detachable silicon-type Mud Cap that is a perfect dirt shield for the mouthpiece. Even though they specifically target this feature to mountain bikers, I wish every bottle came with this. The Mud Cap easily detaches and fits on all four bottles. The only downside is that the Mud Cap attracts fuzz/dust on the outside which is tough to remove. Not a big deal.

You can order the Mud Cap separately for $6 and add it to any Podium bottle. Make sure to order the correct Mud Cap version as they have one for 2018/earlier Podium models and one for 2019/later models.

The Podium (21 oz) comes in six colors and is $10. The Podium (24 oz) comes in eight colors and is $11. The Podium Dirt Series (21oz ) is $13 and is available in four colors. They also now make a Dirt Series Chill (21oz) for $17 which is similar to the Podium Chill but includes the Mud Cap, and there is no mention of the Trutaste Polypropylene technology which prevents lingering taste issues.

The Podium Chill

CamelBak Podium Chill
Podium Chill 24 oz Easily Fits in Cage

Unless you need your bottle to be shorter, I am not sure why someone would choose an uninsulated bottle. Who doesn’t like cold water on a ride? The Podium Chill offers double-wall insulation and decent bottle sweat prevention. The bottle also is less susceptible to retaining old flavors because it has Trutaste Polypropylene with HydroGuard. I switch back and forth from water to an electrolyte mix, and I am thrilled there is no lingering taste. The Podium Chill (21 oz) comes in 11 colors ($14-16) The 24 oz size comes in seven colors ($16),

The Podium Ice

A step up in insulation from the Chill, the Podium Ice is for the folks who are serious about cold water. Using Aerogel Insulation, this bottle keeps water 4x colder than other bottles. Like the Chill, it uses Trutaste Polypropylene with HydroGuard materials to prevent gnarly aftertaste issues. The Podium Ice (21oz) comes in five colors ($25-26).

Tip for Cleaning your CamelBak Water Bottle

I highly recommend getting a skinny cleaning brush to get your bottles clean. You will need it to clean through the mouth valve.

Final Thoughts

Personally, my preferred bottle is the Podium Ice with the additional purchase of a mud cap. I like super cold water and maximum germ protection. You may prefer a different bottle in this mix depending on your price point and preferences. No matter what though, you cannot go wrong with these CamelBak Podium bottles with their easy-to-clean design. Enjoy!

Note: Amazon may be out of stock of a few bottles/colors, although there are some options available. Check out CamelBak’s website if you aren’t seeing the item you want. They are currently offering free shipping for purchases over $25.

Special thanks to CamelBak for offering us these water bottles to review!

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  1. Hi.

    I have two of the new podium bottles, a standard podium and a dirt series one.

    I have to disagree that its an easy to clean bottle/nozzle because the clear rubber mouth piece bit is not removable and cleanable and that’s the main bit that gets full on gunk and mould.

    I understand the previous camelbak bottle models were never intended to be taken apart to clean but with a bit of effort and ingenuity each part of the cap/nozzle could be removed and taken apart to allow a thorough clean.

    I didn’t purchase the bottles based on your review, I’ve just seen this since, but have to say it’s a bit misleading, and I wanted to voice my disappointment with this new series of “easy to clean” bottles.

    1. Hi Graham! Thanks for your comment. I am a little confused though as I am able to remove the clear water bottle nozzle on mine for cleaning. It was a bit tricky to remove the nozzle first time though. I am going to have to ask Ryan how to add a picture in the comments as I have one to show you. I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing. 🙂 That would be frustrating if you couldn’t remove this piece!

  2. I read your review of CamelBak as well as review of Polar insulated water bottles. I have some concerns with Camelbak that I have not resolved.

    1. Camelbak uses silver sodium hydrogen zirconium phosphate, which the European Chemical Agency has not approved, since there is some discussion that it is an endocrine disrupter.
    2. Camelbak uses a coating, which makes me assume that this coating can wear off. If so, is there any new concern about the material of the bottle?
    3. Polar is made in the US. Camelbak made in Asia, probably China. China’s quality is suspect. How do I know they are using BPA-free materials? Is there third party test data. While Polar can have similar issues, I am more apt to trust a product made in the US as opposed to something in China, which has a poor track record.

  3. Thank you for your questions, Wade. I was also doing some research on this question on silver sodium hydrogen zirconium phosphate and read that not accepted in EU. If you have any further information on that, I would be interested in learning.

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