Here at Spoke we are definitely loving having freed up our backs on shortish rides, and to that end Brett, Rod and myself are all rocking bumbags/fanny-packs/enduro-hip-packs and we aren't really looking back. Although some bumbags do take bladders, nothing beats the simplicity of a water bottle. Now, for years I thought they were all equal. That was until back in 2010 when CamelBak sent me a few Podium bottles, at which point my life changed. I became a bottle Nazi and if I forgot them, or had to use an inferior product, well it doesn't bear thinking about. So you can imagine how stoked I was when the latest incarnation of the Podium bottle showed up from CamelBak here in New Zealand last week. Although the profile has changed a little, it's still a 700ml (24oz) bottle but is slightly shorter so fits full suspension frames a little better and the big self-closing valve is larger so you have to squeeze and suck even less to get a good size dose of water.
The only trade-off I've found is I've been drinking water a little quicker, but that's not a bad thing, and it's much better than finishing a ride and realising you still have water in the bottle. And in case you didn't know, the Podium bottles are amazingly neutral in taste. They're BPA free and feature what CamelBak call TruTaste which eliminates any plastic flavour that you get from cheaper bottles. The self-closing Jet Valve is bulletproof and unless you're squeezing the bottle your water will stay put, but for added security and for transport you can completely lock off the nozzle as well.
There really is only one downside to the Podium bottle and that is that people will now try to poach them. You can't leave them lying around, even your best friends will try to pinch them! Podium bottles are available at any self respecting bike shop or you can purchase the original 700ml shape from Trail Fund and put money into local trails as well as clean tasting water into your mouth!