Some things, like the humble water bottle, are so simple and disposable that it seems pointless to try to improve. But the Camelbk Podium bottle is indeed a better water bottle. For starters, they’re BPA free, so they’re safer, and water left overnight doesn’t take on a plastic taste.
Secondly, the Podium has a clever 2 way valve that keeps the liquid in until you give the bottle a squeeze, but freely allows air to re-enter the bottle so it can re-inflate. You can invert the bottle and give it a shake without anything leaking out. To drink, just grab the bottle and squeeze – no need to open and close a valve. There’s also a shut-off dial on top to completely close off the valve. You can toss these in a backpack and rest assured your shoes and kit won’t be drenched sports drink. After a couple months and many washes in the dishwasher (top shelf only) the bottles are as good as new, the valves as watertight as ever.
Drawbacks? They’re 2-3 mm wider than Specialized bottles, and may not fit in all cages. They’re also double the price of Specialized bottles.
The Garmin shop has a six pack of these babies for $45, which is cheaper than just about anywhere else (Camelbak lists them at $8 each). 100% of the profits go to the team’s racing/operating budget, so if you’re a fan of clean racing it’s a win/win way to support the Garmin team.