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Monday, November 12, 2012

A review: Camelbak Eddy glass water bottle

If you've looked at photos of my bikes long enough, you know I'm a big user of stainless steel water bottles. I rarely use plastic water bottles because the regular ones leave a plasticky taste to the water, and Nalgene bottles, which didn't have the bad taste, got a bad rap with all that BPA biz a few years back. I'm not much for the aluminum Sigg bottles either, as I didn't like the threading on the caps, and then we all found out the inside of the bottles were lined with BPA-laden plastic. So I've stuck to two brands: Klean Kanteen and Hydro-Flask. I like these companies because their stainless steel bottles are stylish, light, and functional. Steel is real, Retro-Grouches say. Oh yeah, they don't break when they are dropped. And when I use the Klean Kanteen branded bottle cages, there is no metallic rattling while the bottles are on the bike.

Over the past few years, I've noticed that some folk have preferred using glass containers as a water bottle. First, I would see folks carrying around Mason jars, but in the last year or so the glass water bottle trend has intensified. This means they're making specific water bottles made of glass, usually protected by an outer layer of plastic. Proponents of glass water bottles say that water stored in glass tastes the best. But is the very real risk of breakage worth it?

A few weeks ago one of those marketing-typed agencies contacted me and asked if I wanted to sample a new glass water bottle, one made by venerable outdoor hydration specialist Camelbak, the Eddy Glass .75L (or .7L if you go by the label on the container.) Sample, as in free? Well heck yeah, I would. I like free stuff (hint, hint.)*

The bottle arrived, and after a good washing I put it to work. I took out the cheesy plastic straw that attaches to the cheesy "bite nipple" drinking system. I will be drinking straight from the mouth of the jar, thank you very much. And anyways, isn't having the water passing through a whole bunch of plastic defeat the point of this bottle?

So I filled it with water. How did it taste? Good. But that's not saying much. I needed to compare it to one of my stainless steel bottles, so I pulled out my Hydro-Flask and took a sip. The water from the Hydro-Flask did have a slight metallic tang to it. But the water at this point is a day old, so this isn't a fair comparison, so I filled up the Hydro-Flask with fresh water, sipped it, then sipped the Eddy again. I couldn't tell a difference at all. And I never noticed the metallic tang when drinking from the stainless steel water bottles before this, just in comparison with a glass bottle.

To some people, the simple fact that there is a marked improvement in taste with the glass bottle is the primary selling point. I can understand this, but glass's biggest drawback is that it can break. Now the Eddy bottle is made of pretty thick glass and has a griptastic silicone outer sleeve that doubles as protection. This wil alleviate this risk somewhat, but not completely. Hit it just right or drop it from enough distance and it will shatter. I've looked at my stainless steel bottles, and they all have dents in them from rough usage. I couldn't think of using this on a bicycle, which any water bottle of mine needs to be capable of. Yes, I know that in the olden days cyclists did use glass water bottles, but that's what was available. Also, Tour de France riders smoked while riding. I'm a Retro-Grouch, sure, but I'm a Retro-Grouch within reason.

And there is another thing about glass: it's heavy, mostly due to how it had to be over-built to reduce the risk of breakage. The base weight of the Eddy Glass unfilled (glass, silicone sleeve, cap sans straw) is just over a pound. Fill it all the way with water, and you add another pound and a half of weight. I'm no weight weenie, but this is a significant amount of weight. I've seen people elsewhere saying that the Eddy Glass will be great while jogging, and I can't really fathom that notion. You want to carry around a pound and a quarter of container while jogging?
19.4 oz (1 lb, 3.4 oz) unloaded, or 551 g.
42.3 oz (2 lb, 10.3 oz) loaded, or 1200 g (1.2 kg)

Do I like the Camelback Eddy Glass? Sure. It seems well constructed (well, beyond the whole sippy-lid nonsense) for what it is. Will I use it? Sure. But it will stay at work and not use it in my travels. I'd rather deal with the slight metallic tang of water from my stainless steel bottles, a tang I only noticed in comparison to a glass bottle. At least I know they won't break.

*To any other marketeer reading, this means I don't like solicitation emails asking for "web links" or asking to write guest posts. If you want to send me cold, hard items to review, get in touch.


  1. Since September 2010, I've used a small milk bottle from Avalon Dairy in Vancouver BC as my water bottle. Fits right in the cage, and if I ever get tired of it I can get $1.50 back next time I'm in BC... : )

  2. I have one of these and with the plastic covering, it's simply to fat to fit into my water bottle holder on the bike.

    Otherwise, it's pretty nice.

    Just bought a new glass water bottle at Target from a company called Zulu athletics (only at Target) and it is skinny enough to fit in the rack, but kind of tall and the plastic sticks on the holder, so it's a bit of a pill to take out while riding.

    The taste is still worth it, even if I have to stop to take a drink.



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