You might be surprised how many physical problems you can solve just by staying properly hydrated.
When I was younger, I would go days without drinking something that wasn’t either alcoholic or caffeinated. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to realize the benefits of proper hydration, and attempting to make sure I was keeping my daily water intake high enough.
I always realized that hydration when hiking was essential — a fact brought home a couple of times by vicious headaches and other problems whilst miles from civilization. To keep on top of that I used a Camelbak Hydration Pack, which has the benefit of being flexible enough to either fit in your pack, or wear on your back, depending on whether you’re traveling light or heaving around a mountain of gear.1 The great thing about a hydration bladder system is that it’s designed for you to take frequent sips, rather than infrequent large amounts. Steady, small intakes of water are the best way to keep your body hydrated.
In the past couple of years — since moving to the States — I haven’t had many chances to get out into country. But keeping your fluids up is just as important even in the city. In fact, it’s sometimes more difficult, because it’s less of a focus.
I’ve been borrowing my wife’s Camelbak Eddy for ages now, as it’s the best way I’ve found to carry water during a normal day. So I was delighted when she bought me my own for my birthday.
The Camelbak Eddy is an extremely well designed water bottle which has seen some recent design upgrades. It comes in a range of sizes, from 400ml to 1 liter. What sets it apart from other water bottles initially is the straw / bite valve combination, which is similar to that on other Camelbak products. Once you start using it, however, you’ll realize that it’s also made with quality material and solid construction.
The most popular version of the Eddy comes in BPA-Free Eastman Tritan™ Copolyester, or “really hard plastic” to you and me. You can also buy it in glass and stainless steel. Mine is plastic. Honestly, it feels like this bottle could withstand an immense amount of monkey-business. I’ve never seen anything like a crack, and I’m rough on a water bottle, let me tell you.
Bite valve, NOM NOM NOM
One of Camelbak’s trademarks is their bite valves. On the Eddy the built-in Big Bite™ Valve means that you can sling the bottle around, drop it, or hold it upside down without losing a drop of water.
If you’ve never used a bite valve before it takes a little getting used to. Once you do, however, you won’t want an on-the-go water bottle without one. It reduces the capability of human error dramatically, and if you’re anything like me you really want your bases covered when you’re handling liquids. Or else you’ll be covering yourself in liquids.
The bite valve itself is made from “medical grade silicone”, which means it won’t harbor germs and you’ll break your jaw trying to chew through it. In previous iterations of the Eddy, only the part you bite was made of silicone, but in this recent upgrade most of the movable cap (which can be tipped back to completely seal the bottle) is made of the stuff.
A weird quirk of the bottles, due in part to how watertight they are, used to be that if you left them in a hot car for a while, the straw would suck up all the water and dribble it out of the valve. It seems that this has been fixed with the massively improved redesign of the bite valve.
The straw that broke the Camel’s Bak
Not really, it’s actually fine.
Inside the bottle, a thick plastic straw goes almost to the bottom. This means that you don’t need to tip the bottle at all when drinking from it. This is a lot handier than you might expect. For example, whilst driving, you can drink whilst keeping your eyes on the road.
One of the older versions of the Eddy that I used developed a problem with the internals of the cap which made it almost impossible to get any water through the straw.2 I’m not sure if this was a one-off or if they all end up like that eventually. Time will tell if this new version will suffer from the same problems. On their website, Camelbak claim that the redesigned cap and bite valve provide faster flow and enhanced durability, so I’m hoping that they’ve fixed that particular problem.
At any rate, the bottle comes with the CamelBak® Got Your Bak™ Guarantee,3 which means that you can just get it replaced if it does fail in the same way. Every part of the Eddy seems built to last, so I’m confident they don’t replace an overwhelming number of bottles.
The extremely wide mouth which sits under the cap is a great feature. If you really need a lot of water, fast, you can drink from the bottle as if it was a glass. It’s also wide enough to let you put ice cubes in the bottle. Even the really big ones that your freezer makes. You can also fit a small, feminine hand inside, which probably helps when cleaning it, if you possess one of those.
On the go
The Eddy fits in a cup holder. This is a big deal for me, because I drive a car. If you don’t drive a car, and you never ride in one, this probably doesn’t matter to you. You eco-weirdo, you.
The bottle also has an extremely useful loop handle which you can clip a carabiner onto and hang from your pack, or, more likely, just quickly pop a finger into to scoop the bottle. Essentially this gives you a hand free when moving more than just the bottle, which is especially great when moving from the car to the house, or around the office, etc.
I am not sure how durable the loop would be if you hung it on your pack to bounce around all day. If it breaks, and you lose the bottle, Mr Frodo will probably get pretty mad at you.
If you’re looking for something that you can rely on as part of an outdoors expedition, I would not recommend this bottle. There are many better solutions, some of which Camelbak themselves sell.
Where this bottle really excels is in normal, day to day life. It’s cheap enough that you can sling it around without worrying overly about its health, and it fits nicely into most situations you’ll encounter in an average day.
Filling this bottle with cold water and taking it to your desk is a much healthier alternative to a cup of tea or coffee. The design means that you won’t resent it as you carry it around, and you’ll be surprised at how much more water you’re drinking because it’s become a frictionless activity.
I heartily recommend this bottle, based on the years I’ve used it, and the design improvements it’s seen.
Published on September 8th, 2013