I’ve run the gamut when it comes to water bottles. First it was the original Nalgene. Then it was Nalgene’s hard-material, wide-mouth bottles. But then we learned that those bottles leach BPA chemicals into your water. No good. So I moved on to Sigg aluminum bottles, which made for icy sips but raised questions about the health of soaking your water in aluminum.
So I’ve been on the prowl for a replacement. Yes, I’m active in the outdoors —- raised as the youngest in a family of crazy brothers, I learned when I was young to love hiking and skiing and everything outdoors. And I still love slaying mountains in both summer and winter. But now I’m also a busy mom of 3 young kids. So I don’t just use my water bottles for when I’m bagging peaks anymore. Frankly, they often get some of their best testing when I’m trying to keep my soccer kids hydrated and when I’m slamming out a crack-of-dawn workout in the basement before the kids are up.
Want to know what I’ve found over the past couple of months? The CamelBak Groove is the bottle to beat, if you want to go with a plastic bottle (though Thermos and UnderArmour paired up to make a good stainless steel bottle as well, and there is a stainless version of the Groove too, if you want to go that route instead of plastic). Currently scheduled to hit retail shelves in February 2012, I think the Groove Insulated will strike a few good notes with consumers. The current non-insulated Groove (available now) is already a hit.
First of all, some of the candy colors that Nalgene made popular are back. And I love my Amethyst-colored Groove Insulated bottle. But this time, the materials used in the bottles are entirely BPA-free (thank you, CamelBak!). But CamelBak has taken things a bit further…
The Groove comes in both insulated and non-insulated versions (I have used the insulated version — the purple one in the attached photos). The insulated will keep your water cooler and reduce condensation (it’s basically a purple bottle built inside of a slightly larger clear bottle — with vacuum space in between the walls). I used my insulated Groove throughout the dog days of summer in the hot Utah afternoons, and I was very impressed. I would expect this type of chill to come out of a metal canteen, but not a plastic water bottle.
The Groove Insulated also features CamelBak’s Big Bite sipping valve, just as the original Groove does, and CamelBak claims that tests show the valve helps you hydrate with 24% more water. It is effectively the same bite valve used on CamelBak hydration packs. But this time it’s on the end of a straw that goes down to the bottom of the bottle. So here’s a tip from me: Sip, don’t tip. What I mean is, since the Big Bite is attached to a straw, you just bite the valve and sip it like a straw — you don’t tilt the bottle and drink like you would out of a glass or cup or canteen. The rubberized bite valve also folds down flat between sips and helps keep out dust and grime. There’s also a gray plastic loop on the lid to hook to a clip on your pack for easily hauling the bottle.
But the greatest part is the water filter built into the straw. It’s like having a Brita pitcher in your bottle. I can just fill my bottle up with regular potable tap water, and then as I sip it through the straw it passes through the carbon filter and removes chlorine and bad taste and odor. Ingenious!
So keep your eye on CamelBak —– they are turning out some great new innovations. The latest of which is the Groove and Groove Insulated with water filters built into the straws. Pick up the Groove now, and watch for the Groove Insulated in early 2012.