When I read BIKE Magazine's review of the latest design for the Camelbak Podium bottle I wondered if the person testing it had any of the problems I did. Apparently, they didn't.
I own Camelbak Podium bottles with the previous design as well as the new design. Like many reviewers, I had problems with the older design. But, unlike the BIKE Magazine reviewer, I find the new design brings a whole new set of problems.
The problem with the old cap design is one that virtually every reviewer will state: they're super hard to keep clean. Yes, they come apart pretty easily but the nozzle has a bad tendency to get gunked up and there's no way to really clean it. There's no easy way to remove the rubber nozzle from the plastic piece it covers. Over time, they get too gunked up with God knows what and you're more or less forced to have to chunk the caps and buy new ones.
The new design helps alleviate this problem by creating a nozzle where the rubber nozzle can be separated from the plastic piece holding it. This does make it much, much easier to clean for sure and likely makes it last much longer.
However, there are other problems with the new design that can't be ignored.
For starters, the new cap design is made up of 5 pieces that have to be disassembled for thorough cleaning. And that's not even counting the gasket on the main cap assembly which I think should be removed and cleaned now and then as well. That makes 6 pieces to deal with. Seems like a lot to me. Not exactly a simple design really.
I have two of the new Camelbak Podium insulated bottles with the new cap. The one thing that I have found with both of them is that they're stupid hard to open and close. The new design with the gasket makes them feel rather stiff to open. At times an attempt to open them causes the whole cap to start twisting off.
Beyond that, there's no way in hell I would even attempt to open one of these while moving on a bike. I basically have to just open them and keep them open when I mount them to my bike. Granted, the design does keep water from spilling out but that's not foolproof. For a bottle that's not in use it's always a good idea to just keep it closed till you're ready to use it.
Speaking of spill proof, while the new design does work pretty well for this I have found some instances where this doesn't work all that well. One case is when I've added a hydration mix to a bottle and need to shake the bottle. Now, I honestly don't expect a spill proof bottle to work miracles. If I shake the bottle then I certainly expect water to come out the nozzle. As such, I have to put my thumb over the nozzle when I shake it. No big deal but I still consider it a flaw of design. It's a little thing but something you should consider if you use a lot of hydration mixes.
Personally, I think there are better options that aren't nearly as complicated while still being just as easy to use and clean. My pick would be the Specialized Purist which is super simple by design and just as easy as the Camelbak Podium to use. Cleaning is just as easy too. Just soak them in some hot and soapy water.
BIKE Magazine's review may be honest though. Maybe he found the Podium to be right on the money. Personally, I felt the design was a step forward with a good two steps back. But that's just me.