The Podium Dirt comes in multiple sizes and an insulated version, but it's the top hat that does it for us
We’re awash with bottles, the tide of bikes reviewed at mbr brings with it a flotsam of them, meaning we’ve pretty much tried them all. And the best water bottle for mountain biking is this, the Camelbak Podium Dirt Series Bottle.
Most obviously it has a little plastic hat that covers the valve, and attaches to the bottle with a thin rubber lanyard. Simple stuff, but it works well and means you never have to take a drink of water through a mouthful of mud (or worse). I first tried the Podium Dirt on a muddy ride aboard an Orange Alpine, the bottle mounted outside the front triangle and directly in the firing line of the front wheel’s flickage. While the rest of the bottle quickly resembled a generously decorated chocolate cake, the valve at least was still clean and usable.
The basics of the Podium Dirt are good too. Of course it’s 100% free of BPA, BPS, and BPF, yet it’s still really squeezy and easy to drink from. I’ve had one of these bottles for over four years now and it’s still working just the same, despite looking pretty scratched up and tatty. You can take the valve apart for cleaning, meaning you should never have to take a mouldy swig.
The valve works just as well too, remaining leak free yet easy to drink from without having to pull up on it to release the flow. Camelbak has also built a twist lock function to the bottle, meaning you can reliably close it off when it’s in your bag or car, for example. So while plenty of bottles I’ve tried dribble their water when inverted, or trickle it down the side while you’re drinking, the Podium Dirt’s stream is faultless. With a 620ml capacity the Podium fits into almost all front triangles, and grips well in every cage I’ve tried. This last point sounds crazy, but plenty of bottles just don’t get a great connection with a cage and can fly out.
Faults? The locking valve could be considered hard to turn, but most people should manage it. I’d also like the cover to spread across the entire top of the bottle, although this would make it a clumsier bottle to use.
The Podium Dirt Series Bottle is simple yet effective, and while there’s nothing very clever going on here there just isn’t another bottle with a valve cap to beat it. It’s reliable too, and my vessel of choice.