Best Water Bottles for Bikes
It is critical for athletes to remain hydrated during their exertions; this applies to cyclists no less. After consulting customer reviews from REI and Amazon as well as recommendations from popular cycling blogs, we’ve compiled the following list of the best insulated and non-insulated water bottles for cyclists. All of our choices are BPA-free and come in various colors. These bottles are all appropriate for road bikes, downhill bikes or mountain bikes.
Insulated Water Bottles for Bikes
The CamelBak Podium Ice Insulated Water Bottle is the best water bottle for bikers. It has very high ratings with tons of great reviews on both Amazon and REI. It claims to keep water cold four times as long as regular sport bottles. It’s lightweight, easy to squeeze, and has a wide-mouth opening that makes it easy to add ice cubes.
- Pros: Very lightweight, innovative Jet Valve to eliminate drips or spills, locking valve to minimize leaking while transporting, easy to squeeze this bottle to dispense water
- Cons: Some users find the design lacking, but complaints about these bottles are very rare
- Tips: On a very hot day, consider freezing liquid in the bottle so it will melt a few hours into your trip. Most users report keeping their liquids cold in these bottles for about 8 hours during very warm weather days
- Purchase at Amazon for $24.99
2. Elite Nanogelite Thermal Bicycle Water Bottle (17 oz)
The Elite Nanogelite Thermal Bicycle Water Bottle hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but we think it deserves some. It’s a squeezable thermal bottle insulated with Nanogel, which Elite claims is the best and lightest solid insulating material in the world. Elite claims that this bottle maintains temperatures for up to 4 hours with cold liquid.
- Pros: Very lightweight, good insulation that keeps water cold on hot days, nice form factor
- Cons: 17oz size may be a deal breaker for some, top can pop up after freezing, more expensive than our top choice
- Tips: Consider whether you’d rather have a slightly smaller bottle based on the size of your bottle cage
- Purchase at Amazon for $27.95
3. CamelBak Podium Big Chill Insulated Water Bottle (25 oz)
The CamelBak Podium Big Chill Insulated Water Bottle is a good choice relative to the Podium Ice if you’re willing to trade some insulating ability for four more ounces. CamelBak claims that the Podium Big Chill will keep your water cold only twice as long as an non-insulated bottle.
- Pros: Jet Valve, easy to squeeze for water delivery, larger bottle (25oz), excellent insulation (4-8 hours depending on the temperature), lots of different colors–some of which cost less than primary colors
- Cons: Some complain that the nozzle can be difficult to clean; sometimes requiring a brush
- Tips: Remove the silicone portion of the valve and wash it after every use to prevent the growth of mold
- Purchase at Amazon for $14.99
If you’re wondering how to clean your CamelBak water bottles, check out this video by CamelBak.
4. VeloTubes Purist Insulated Sport Water Bottle (23 oz)
The Specialized Velotubes Purist Insulated Bottle is probably one of the more popular insulated water bottles currently available to cyclists. We just added to our list during the Christmas season of 2018 and it has outstanding ratings to date. It’s a squeeze bottle with a MoFlo cap for maximum water flow. The silicone layer prevents odor, taste, and stains and also makes cleaning simple and easy. If you don’t need an insulated bottle for your bike rides and you’re a fan of the Specialized brand, the Specialized Zipp is a fantastic option.
- Pros: Very lightweight, good insulation, very easy to squeeze, very low cost for an insulated bicycle water bottle
- Cons: Some users report the cap can leak, best for bicycle use–not for general applications
- Tips: Since these are low cost, consider purchasing two. Freeze one for the latter part of your ride(s)
- Purchase at Amazon for $9.95
Insulated “Backpack” Water Bottles (For Biking)
There are really only two water bottles that make the cut for this list. Our recommendations of “backpack” water bottle are either the 21oz Hydroflask or the 26 oz Yeti Rambler. Both will last forever and provide you with predictable temperature management. As long as your kids don’t lose them, you may also be able to pass them on as a family heirloom one day.
5. Hydro Flask Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel (21 oz)
Where to begin? My love affair with Hydro Flask began nearly 10 years ago when I found an abandoned Hydroflask bottle on a soccer field near the Hydroflask HQ in Bend, Oregon. I still use my 10-year old dented, red narrow neck Hydroflask regularly along with 6 other Hydroflasks. Hydro Flasks are powder coated with Tempshield insulation, they fit perfectly in your palm and they keep your ice (or hot chocolate) at the right temperature for a full day. Hydro Flask is also a stand up company who provides phenomenal customer service.
- Pros: Outstanding form function, very durable, exceptional insulation, lots of different colors, sizes, designs, types of lids
- Cons: The most recent tops are less functional than previous tops, expensive
- Tips: Don’t take these on trips where you might lose them. Also, not recommended for your kids’ sporting events unless you’re certain they can keep track of them. Definitely put your initials on the bottom of your bottle–and your phone number
- Purchase at Amazon for $32.95
6. YETI Rambler Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle (26 oz)
The 26 oz Yeti Rambler is one well designed bottle. Yeti is known for the quality of its coolers, but the high ratings, elegant design and off-the charts aesthetics of this steel insulated bottle put it in a class of its own. In many ways, this bottle reminds me of the early Hydro Flask cap design with its threaded finger-grip design. Yeti refers to this design as a “Triplehaul Cap” and I can only say I wish Hydro Flask stuck with their finger-grip caps. Add the double-wall vacuum insulation and 18/8 stainless steel construction and you might as well start planning your trip now into the Mojave Dessert with this modern marvel on the top of your packing list. Do keep in mind it’s a little bigger than a 21 oz bottle, so you may want to review the dimensions before you make your purchase.
- Pros: Outstanding form function, very durable, exceptional insulation, the Leakproof TripleHaul Cap
- Cons: Price, their DuraCoat application process holds up better than the Hydro Flask in terms of retaining the paint over time
- Tips: Like Hydro Flasks, don’t use these if there’s a chance you’ll misplace it.
- Purchase at Amazon for $32.95
7. Polar Bottle Insulated Water Bottle (24 oz)
The Polar Water Bottle is a highly rated water bottle. It’s probably the coolest looking bottle in the list and it has been around for over 20 years as the original insulated water bottle. You might also want to check out Polar’s high flow replacement lid if you’re looking for a backup or lost your original.
- Pros: Over 4,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, made in the USA, lots of different colors/designs, low cost
- Cons: Insulation is good, but not excellent (relies on reflective foil)
- Tips: Get one and try it out
- Purchase at Amazon for $11.34
Bike Water Bottles on Sale
It’s hard to find a better sale on water bottles that at REI. You’ll typically find more than 30+ water bottles on sale for 30% or more.
Over Thanksgiving (November 21-25), you should visit Hydro Flask where you get 25% off their products–along with free shipping.
What to look for in insulated water bottles for cycling
If the list above didn’t cinch it for you, here are some tips you can use as you continue your search for the right bicycle water bottle.
In many cases, the extra insulation used to keep your water cool also adds to the overall weight and girth of the bottle. In some cases, this can cause problems for you if you’re trying to fit your water bottle in a standard water bottle holder; especially since most water cages don’t flex very much. Consequently, you may want to consider whether you need to also purchase a water bottle cage that is flexible (and strong) enough to hold a 1 or 1.5 liter bottle. Check out this one from Pro Bike Tool. It’s rocking more than 500 5-star reviews and is both affordable and sleek.
Typically, the more money you spend, the more temperature retention you’re going to gain with your bicycle water bottle. If you’re willing to carry a small backpack in lieu of using a bicycle bottle cage, you eliminate any constraints imposed by the size of your bike water bottle cage. If that’s your preference, consider purchasing a relatively lightweight, steel Hydroflask.
As seen in the different lids in the bottles above (like the watergate lid), each company uses a different design to keep their lids on tight and manage temperature. The best-designed bottles are rely on a shape and materials that facilitate grasping the bottle while on the run (or roll). Because of these important factors, when testing which bottles retain their temperature most effectively, lids factor in heavily. S’well is another “backpack bottle” that is known for its distinctive lid, which also helps manage temperature better than most other water bottles.
We hope you found a water bottle that’s suitable for you and your cycling adventures. As we approach 2019, we’ll take our favorite 2018 bicycle water bottles and update it with any new options for bike water bottles that emerge in 2019 and 2020. And, is there a right way to drink water while on your bicycle? Check out the following video for 9 different ways to use your water bottle while on a bicycle.
If you’re planning on taking your bottles on a car camping trip, check out our top 20 recommendations for car camping gear or our car bike rack review. The best selling bottle cage for bicycles can be purchased on Amazon. If you’re committed to having cold water at the end of your bicycle outing, you may want to consider purchasing a Hydro Flask and tucking it into a backpack. If you’re planning a longer trip in a really warm area, consider using an insulated water bladder in a hiking backpack. And if you’re going to travel somewhere with extreme weather, you should review New England Gear Guide’s 10 Best Water Bottles for Extreme Weather post.
We often use several different options for our own trips, which has additional benefits from time to time. In one case, when downhill biking at the Grand Targhee in Wyoming last summer, I landed on my back after getting air on a series of jumps. Although I broke my shoulder, my Hydroflask absorbed some of the blow as it sat neatly in the outside pouch of my venerable Deuter 20 backpack. So. one never knows just how a water bottle (or backpack) will come in handy!
After you’ve decided on your water bottle (or bladder), you may want to purchase some helpful bike accessories such as a bike bottle holder, bike bottle opener, wide mouth bottle holder or even a personalized water bottle. Whatever you choose, stay cool and enjoy the ride!