Camelback Water Bottle review

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by velocityresearch » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:59 pm

I've been lurking and learning on the forums. My turn to start posting:

I have used Nalgene bottles in the past and have been pretty satisfied with them. With all of the info coming out about Bisphenol A (BPA) (note it can turn you into the walking dead :wink: ), I wanted to have an excuse to get some new bottles ... I did some research and Camelback has stepped up with some great new water bottles that are BPA-free. They come in 3 sizes (0.5, 0.75 and 1 Liter) and with 2 choices of tops (classic and bite top versions). I got both the 0.5 and 0.75 Liter bottles and the classic top and flip bite-top versions to try out.

I use these for travel and hiking. The mouths are all standard "wide-mouth" design and my Katadyn Hiker pro bottle adapter fits just fine. The 0.5 liter size worked great on a few trips around airports (adding water after security - arrgh). I tried out the bite-top on the airline, since I wanted to see if it would leak with the pressure changes (a starbucks water bottle with a flip-top leaked on another trip which is why I use a Camelback now). The bite-top flips down and closes the water outlet, so no water leaked out at all. The 0.5 is a great size for carring around in my business travel backback (the 0.75 L was a bit big). The 0.75 Liter size is great for my truck and bug out bag outside pockets. Great size since the 1 Liter I held in the store seemed kind of big but remember the Micropur water purification tablets are to be put in 1 Liter of water, so some may prefer this size.

Overall, I really like these bottles and they fit my daily carry needs outside of using a water bladder. I can highly recommend them.

Below is an image of the 0.5 and 0.75 liter bottles for size and the 2 types of tops.

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Aikidoka » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:17 pm

Thanks for posting. Last time I was at my camping supply store I looked at them but held off picking one up, mostly due to I was buying my new Mossberg 500 Tactical shotgun the next day. I think Ill get one over the week-end and give them a try.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Allen » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:32 am

Thanks for the Review, and Welcome to the Forum!

Camelback does make great bottles.
I think they have a "Good Feel" to them.

FYI, Nalgene makes BPA free bottles too.

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by congochris » Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:41 am

My wife and daughte picked up a couple of those a few weeks ago. So far, both are really happy with them, and they get the daddy thumbs up since my 5 year old "I can break a ball bearing with a rubber mallet" kid has yet to hurt hers. Or make it leak.

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Squirrley » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:36 pm

So there's a 'normal' lid too? Is that it on the .5L? If so, thats great, cause the one thing I didn't like about the camelbak bottles was that stupid straw system with the bite valve. Again, if so, it looks like that has an attachment loop on it? for like, biner-ing it to your backpack, or something? That would be very good, as that's one major design flaw with the Nalgenes. Does it have any sort of lid-retention thingie tho? That would be a major draw-back.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Y.T. » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:44 pm

Thanks for the review. I have a bite valve Unbottle (far left) and I love it. IMO it's superior to the plain mouth Nalgene for on-the-go drinking. You don't have to tip the bottle to drink from it so you can drink while driving, for example, and not worry about obstructing your view or spilling. You can also drink from it while reclining or lying down. And you can drink from it while walking without having to unscrew a cap or spill on yourself when you get jostled. My only complaint is that there's no way to "cap" or cover the bite valve, which they easily could've incorporated into the design. As a result the cap can get covered in dust during a windy day or linty if in a bag.

Squirrley,
You can get the normal lid on any size (you can also get the bite valve lid on 1L size). The bite valve lid with straw is fairly new. Supposedly you can take the straw out and just use it like a regular bottle. The bite valve itself won't leak unless you squeeze it and turn the bottle upside down -- pretty unlikely in a bag. Plus, the valve locks down to help prevent that problem.

Yes, the "loop" on the lid is angled so it can be clipped to a bag and still hang mostly upright. and the loop means you don't have to buy/make a separate sleeve just to hang your bottle, like you do with the Nalgene. It doesn't have a retention strap because you don't need it: you don't take the lid off to drink from the bite valve lid, and the plain lid stays clipped to whatever you want.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Makarov » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:42 pm

I've got 4 of the 0.75l bottles(have had them for over a year now), and as I use them every day(I drink at least 1,5 liters of water a day). I've got 3 bottles full of water in my fridge at home, and 1 bottle at work. I always bring at least 1 bottle if I'm going somewhere, so they've seen a bit of abuse. I must say that they hold up to use quite good, and I recommend them.
I'd like to mention a few things though;
  1. Due to the design with the straw(You can remove that and use it as a regular bottle, but as YT mentions it's better to keep it) you CANNOT get the last drops of water out of the bottle with the lid on. No bigge, just a litte annoying. (Also, sucking the water instead of drinking it from a bottle amongst other people will lead to dicksucking jokes...)
    The lid with all it's stuff is harder to clean than a regular widemouth bottle. I run mine in the dishwasher on a semiregular basis, and don't have any trouble, but it's a point.
    I found out that you need to be sure that the lid sits properly, BEFORE packing it down with a lot of stuff that really doesn't need to get wet.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Y.T. » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:56 pm

Makarov wrote:you CANNOT get the last drops of water out of the bottle with the lid on
unfortunately I've found that to be true of any sip-top lid. But I figure you have to take the lid off a regular bottle anyway, so doing so for that last sip is ok.
Makarov wrote:(Also, sucking the water instead of drinking it from a bottle amongst other people will lead to dicksucking jokes...)
dude. where the hell are you drinking? and are these people deformed or deficient in some critical way? and do they come from a place where people repeatedly CHOMP on penises? ;)

I mean, I'm a woman and I've never ever had someone even hint at that. We've made pacifier jokes, gerbil feeder jokes, but no one I know has ever looked at someone biting a two inch, bright blue, squared plastic nozzle and thought "gee that looks like a penis". Unless maybe they're from Mars. And Martians are unfortunately deficient in the penis area. And frequently suffer from being bitten.


...or it just occurred to me that perhaps you have some *ahem* entertaining way of drinking from your bottle. ;)
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by thelight » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:58 pm

Y.T. wrote: I mean, I'm a woman and I've never ever had someone even hint at that. We've made pacifier jokes, gerbil feeder jokes, but no one I know has ever looked at someone biting a two inch, bright blue, squared plastic nozzle and thought "gee that looks like a penis". Unless maybe they're from Mars. And Martians are unfortunately deficient in the penis area. And frequently suffer from being bitten.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Y.T. » Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:08 pm

outoforder2day wrote:Obviously you've never been to the village...
I lived in NYC for 10 years. I spent most of my time in the downtown area, such as the village. Last I checked gay men were pretty astute at recognizing actual penis-like shapes and activities. ;) Biting on a tiny blue square shaped nozzle didn't seem to meet that requirement. Popsicles, bananas, lolipops, even the occasional straw: yes. Bite valve: no. ;)

Hell, I've even been to burning man and never had anyone suggest the bite valve was in any way like a penis. Which leads me to question (a) who he's drinking around and (b) how he's drinking. ;)
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by TC » Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:47 am

I have the 750ml bottle and I like it pretty well. I've found that cotton buds (q-tips for the US crowd) are absolutely indispensable for cleaning the bite valve and mechanical parts, which leads me onto my next point.

I have yet to put anything other than water in my bottle, but it seems to get a build up of nasty crap in the little corners and other small areas very quickly, sometimes just over a 24 hour period. Now considering that it is pretty much a one way valve, I don't understand how that could be happening, since there is almost no possible 'backwash' to contaminate the the bite valve's rubber. Maybe I am just unlucky...
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Civilian Scout » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:09 am

I've been using the 750 ml bottles since last year. I now own five of them, and have retired my Nalgenes. The CamelBaks are hands-down the best water bottles I've ever used, and I have no complaints with them at all.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Makarov » Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:05 pm

Y.T. wrote:...or it just occurred to me that perhaps you have some *ahem* entertaining way of drinking from your bottle. ;)
LOL :D

I'll admit that I haven't been that much harassed about sucking instead of drinking from the bottle, but I've had some comments about it being a bottle for people with limp wrists. (Why does this song kinda start running in my head?!)
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by phil_in_cs » Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:20 pm

I have a couple of the 750ml bottles, and sometimes the valves get plugged. Shaking very hard seems to work to open it, but I don't know what is causing it.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Cultentacle » Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:15 pm

I recently bought a 500ml 'better bottle' which is BPA free for everyday use. I've yet to take it on a hike or backpacking, but its holding up pretty well so far with very frequent everyday use.

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by posie » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:33 pm

I had a 750mL Camelbak bottle with the bite valve/straw system. I loved it for the first few months, but eventually got grossed out and threw it away. This was before the BPA debacle. Anyway... I washed it regularly, but there are still tiny parts that I can't clean effectively.

I used that thing a TON. I drink a lot of water at work because I get dry mouth easily. Obviously I washed it every night with warm soapy water, then let it air-dry, and continued to drank water out of it all day. I even put it through the dishwasher periodically. However, the cap assembly has too many small nooks and crannies to keep clean. There is a small rubber or silicone seal that took me a while to notice, and after seeing how dirty it was (or maybe that was just mould, which is almost worse), I gave up on the bottle. I don't think they sell replacement seals. Even soaking the cap assembly in a bleach solution and then running it through the dishwasher couldn't restore my confidence that it was mould-free, so I threw it out. It is pretty pointless to put filtered water into a mouldy bottle. In the PAW I won't have the luxury of worrying about spotless water bottles, but there is absolutely no reason for me to go all Das Boot when I don't have to.

I got a BPA-free Polar bottle like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/738004" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It is dual-insulated, it doesn't sweat beads of condensation at all, and the cap nozzle comes completely out for easy cleaning. With a bottle brush, I am 100% confident that disassembling it and scrubbing will get it totally clean.

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Squirrley » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:43 pm

...I still like my Nalgene
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Y.T. » Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:12 pm

TC wrote:I have the 750ml bottle and I like it pretty well. I've found that cotton buds (q-tips for the US crowd) are absolutely indispensable for cleaning the bite valve and mechanical parts, which leads me onto my next point.

I have yet to put anything other than water in my bottle, but it seems to get a build up of nasty crap in the little corners and other small areas very quickly, sometimes just over a 24 hour period. Now considering that it is pretty much a one way valve, I don't understand how that could be happening, since there is almost no possible 'backwash' to contaminate the the bite valve's rubber. Maybe I am just unlucky...
I haven't had that problem with any of my bottles (Naglene or Camelback or other) even when using them for non-water drinks. But I wonder if it has to due with the climate and/or the water. For example , living in a damper climate may mean mold or mildew occurs quicker. Harsher chemicals in the water, or softer water, may also contribute to that. I know mine can be used for a week without that issue and a friend has said the same thing, but we're in a dry climate and the water has a lot of lime in it (fixtures turn white quickly). I also tend to loosen the lid leave an air gap if I use it for more than a day without washing it, like if it's sitting out by my desk. Maybe that would help.

FWIW I've found it's best to pop off the blue bite valve when washing to not only allow the lid and drainage hole to dry faster, but to easily clean the valve itself (a little running water and a quick pass with a soapy brush or finger seems to do it).
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Necrodamus » Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:00 am

Im a diehard, nalgene whore...
I bought a Camelback 1L with standard lid just to prove Nalgene was better.
Well... I didn't like the fact that I had to struggle to get my Nalgene 32 Oz into the pocket on my Max Jumbo Versapack. The Camelback is just a hair slimmer and slips right in.
I actually painted mine with Krylon Fusion in flat OD green to match the MJVP.
I used duct tape to seal the inside, cover the threads, and seal the bottom of the lid.

I still have... and use my Nalgenes, but I consider the Camelback equal.
...besides everyone needs a little "strange" ever once in a while.

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by TC » Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:25 pm

Y.T. wrote:
TC wrote:I have the 750ml bottle and I like it pretty well. I've found that cotton buds (q-tips for the US crowd) are absolutely indispensable for cleaning the bite valve and mechanical parts, which leads me onto my next point.

I have yet to put anything other than water in my bottle, but it seems to get a build up of nasty crap in the little corners and other small areas very quickly, sometimes just over a 24 hour period. Now considering that it is pretty much a one way valve, I don't understand how that could be happening, since there is almost no possible 'backwash' to contaminate the the bite valve's rubber. Maybe I am just unlucky...
I haven't had that problem with any of my bottles (Naglene or Camelback or other) even when using them for non-water drinks. But I wonder if it has to due with the climate and/or the water. For example , living in a damper climate may mean mold or mildew occurs quicker. Harsher chemicals in the water, or softer water, may also contribute to that. I know mine can be used for a week without that issue and a friend has said the same thing, but we're in a dry climate and the water has a lot of lime in it (fixtures turn white quickly). I also tend to loosen the lid leave an air gap if I use it for more than a day without washing it, like if it's sitting out by my desk. Maybe that would help.

FWIW I've found it's best to pop off the blue bite valve when washing to not only allow the lid and drainage hole to dry faster, but to easily clean the valve itself (a little running water and a quick pass with a soapy brush or finger seems to do it).
I think you might be right. I'll try using water from a filter jug rather than from the kitchen tap. It's weird though, because the water in the bottle is fine if it is drunk without the lid on...

As for cleaning the bottle I take it apart all the way. That's why the cotton buds are so useful, because you can really get into the little retaining groove in the bite valve. You can also get down the tube itself with the buds.
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by exile27 » Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:19 pm

Squirrley wrote:...I still like my Nalgene
+1
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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by Girasol » Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:19 pm

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by AltimGXE » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:12 am

I have 6 Camelbak bottles of various sizes, both with and without the bite valve. Nothing beats the bite valve for hitting the gym, but I use the normal lid for hiking because the bite valve tends to accumulate all kinds of crud from the trail over time. The lids are the same between all of the Camelbak bottles so you can swap them, but the .75/1L and .5L straws are different lengths.

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Re: Camelback Water Bottle review

Post by The Frank » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:48 pm

Makarov wrote:
Y.T. wrote:...or it just occurred to me that perhaps you have some *ahem* entertaining way of drinking from your bottle. ;)
LOL :D

I'll admit that I haven't been that much harassed about sucking instead of drinking from the bottle, but I've had some comments about it being a bottle for people with limp wrists. (Why does this song kinda start running in my head?!)
That's not the song I was expecting at all. I thought you were going to post something more like this.
Mind you, I have nothing useful to add.
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