Tag Archives: hydration

Outdoor Research Water Bottle Parka For Winter Biking

One of the many challenges winter cyclists face is trying to keep their water bottles from freezing on long rides. Riding three or four hours in freezing temperatures is not all that difficult, but having to drink slushy cold Gatorade doesn’t exactly make you feel warm inside! While there are several good ways to keep the contents of your water bottle warm, the Outdoor Research Water Bottle Parka is one of the best I’ve tried.

Outdoor Research #2 Water Bottle Parka

Outdoor Research #2 Water Bottle Parka

The Outdoor Research Water Bottle Parka is a container made of a water-resistant, coated nylon fabric with a polyester knit lining. The closed-cell foam insulation in this parka does a tremendous job at keeping the temperature of the liquid in your bottles steady. I know I’ve not tested this product to its limits, but after five hours outside with the temperature in the single digits my drinks were still plenty warm. I have not tried this product in hot weather, but all indications are that it will excel.

The Water Bottle Parka comes in three sizes. Size #1 is for water bottles like the 1L Nalgene. Size #2 fits a .5L Nalgene or 21-ounce Camelbak Podium Chill bottle (like the one you probably use in the water bottle cage on your bike). Size #3 fits bottles like the 40-ounce Klean Kanteen, the 40-ounce CamelBak or the 1L Sigg. I use the Size #2 and it is 12.25 inches tall and 3.75 inches wide (exterior dimensions).

Outdoor Research Water Bottle Parka

Water Bottle Parka with a 20-ounce Camelbak

The biggest challenge to using the Water Bottle Parka for winter biking is finding a good way to attach it to your bike. The Water Bottle Parka comes with a reinforced nylon strap with a hook and loop closure, so you could just attach it to your handlebars. However, if you ride in the winter you probably already have a rack of some sort on your bike that you could use. I use two Salsa Anything Cages mounted to the front forks of my Surly Necromancer Pugs.

Outdoor Research makes gear and clothing for a variety of outdoor sports, including rock climbing, ice climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling and skiing. While none of their products are cycling-specific, they do have a lot of products that should be of interest to any winter cyclist.

The Outdoor Research #2 Water Bottle Parka is available in two colors (Red or Dark Grey), and retails for $24. This is not the type of product you are likely to find at your local bike shop, but you can order them from if you can’t find them at a local sporting goods store.


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Planet Bike Carbon Fiber Bicycle Water Bottle Cage

Planet Bike Carbon Fiber Bicycle Water Bottle Cage

Planet Bike Carbon Fiber Bicycle Water Bottle Cage

Let’s get this straight: you don’t need a carbon fiber water bottle cage, not even if you are one of those disgustingly skinny cyclists with only 3% body fat. A carbon fiber water bottle cage might save you an ounce (or less) of weight on your bike, but it will cost you at least four times more than a stainless steel bottle cage. However, putting a stainless steel water bottle cage on a carbon fiber bike ought to be banned by international law! The psychological damage to your prized carbon fiber bike would be tremendous and probably keep it from reaching maximum speed—it’s like putting a set of Walmart hub caps on a brand new Mercedes-Benz. So, since you don’t need a carbon fiber water bottle cage, but your carbon fiber bike does, I would suggest you buy a Planet Bike Carbon Fiber Water Bottle Cage.

The Planet Bike Carbon Fiber Water Bottle Cage is incredibly lightweight (only 22 grams) and, compared to other brands, is reasonably priced. I purchased a pair of these cages a couple of months ago and they have worked flawlessly with both 21-ounce Camelbak Podium Chill Bottles and 22-ounce Clean Bottles. They have a very clean design and will serve you well for many years to come.

Earlier this year one of the “carbon fiber” bottle cages on my Trek Madone road bike broke. I had purchased a pair of “carbon fiber” cages when I originally bought the bike a few years ago, but the bottle cages had no markings to identify the manufacturer. While inspecting the broken cage I realized that my “carbon fiber” bottle cage was really made of fiberglass! Since the bottle cage don’t even have a manufacturer’s name on them I don’t even know who to complain to!

My main reason for recommending the Planet Bike Carbon Fiber Water Bottle Cage is simply this: Five or six years from now if you somehow manage to break one of these cages you will find out two things. First, the Planet Bike bottle cage was actually made of carbon fiber, not fiberglass. Second, the Planet Bike bottle cage comes with a limited lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship and material. They put their name on their products and their reputation behind them.

The Planet Bike Carbon Fiber Water Bottle Cage retails for $50, but you can usually find it a bit cheaper online (I bought mine from These cages are not cheap, but they are still better priced than most of the other bottle cages on the market.


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Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

About ten years ago I quit consuming any product that contained high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and as a result I had to give up products like Gatorade. Since I couldn’t drink Gatorade I started drinking Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink while cycling and was very happy with it. Last year Gatorade dropped the use of HFCS and is now sweetened with a sucrose-dextrose combination. Since Gatorade is a lot cheaper than the Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink I decided to do a little comparison shopping and thought you might like to know the results.

Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

In this post I am going to compare Gatorade powder mix (not the far more expensive bottles) against Clif Shot Electrolyte powder. Since I do not work in a laboratory I am going to have to round off a few numbers, but I think I’ll be close enough for you to draw some reasonable conclusions on your own. Gatorade powder sells for $4 for an 18.4-ounce tub and will make about thirteen 20-ounce bottles. Clif Shot Electrolyte powder comes in 2-pound containers and will make about fourteen 20-ounce bottles.

A 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade has 130 calories and 34 grams of carbohydrates. Each bottle also has 270mg of sodium and 80mg of potassium. When made from powder Gatorade costs only .31¢ for a 20-ounce bottle.

A 20-ounce bottle of Clif Shot Electrolyte has 260 calories and 62 grams of carbohydrates. Each bottle also has 650mg of sodium and 162mg of potassium. The cost for this 20-ounce bottle is $1.57.

Aside from the differences in price, there are a couple other things to consider. Every cyclist is different, but based upon my size and average speed I burn around 1050 calories an hour while riding and I like to consume between 250 and 300 calories per hour. If I drink a 20-ounce bottle of Clif Shot Electrolyte every hour while cycling I would not need to consume anything else to meet my needed intake of calories. This is not a bad thing, but I like to consume a bit of food while on the bike. However, on days when the heat index is over 100 I don’t usually feel like eating anyway and the extra sodium and potassium in Clif Shot Electrolyte is really needed.

In my opinion Gatorade and Clif Shot Electrolyte taste a lot alike. In fact, I don’t think I could tell the difference between them in a blind taste test. I like both of these products (and both companies) so I will probably continue to use both of them.


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CamelBak Podium Chill Bottle (Carbon, 21 oz)

Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle

Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle

You know you have to drink out of something while cycling, so why not choose a high-quality bottle that won’t change the flavor of what you’re drinking? I’ve used Camelbak bottles for three years now and can’t imagine riding with anything else.

The Camelbak Podium Chill bottle has double-wall construction, so your cold drinks stay cold about twice as long as compared to normal bottles. On extremely hot days I put my bottles in the freezer for about an hour before my ride (store it right side up and don’t fill the bottle all the way up). During the winter I start my ride with two Podium Chill bottles filled a warm sports drink and that seems to keep the bottle from freezing for about two hours (I often ride when the temperature is in the single-digits).

The bottle is made with Camelbak’s proprietary blend of BPA-Free polypropylene so it does not alter the taste of your favorite sports drink. The JetValve nozzle on the bottle does a great job of preventing spills and drips and you won’t have to close the valve when you’re finished drinking (however, you should close the valve if you are shaking a drink mix before your ride). The bottles can be washed in a dishwasher, but the Camelbak Website recommends washing by hand in warm water.

I replaced my old Camel Podium Chill bottles a couple of weeks ago. My old pair of bottles had traveled with me for over 12,000 miles on my bike and had been washed several hundred times. The bottles still worked fine, but all the paint had finally scraped off and they looked a bit rough.

The Camelbak Podium Chill bottles retail for around $12.00 each.


Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Product Reviews


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