Ditch the Water Bottle and Go With Vacuum Insulated Containers for Winter Rides

This Winter has already had its share of sub-zero temperatures and keeping your beverages from freezing can be a challenge.  Storing beverages in a vacuum insulated bottle is a great way to keep them drinkable in the coldest of conditions.  To prove this I did a test with three containers for cold liquids and and the two for hot liquids during a couple of sub-zero cold snaps recently.

Although my tests are far from being scientific, I wanted to test these containers during some extended sub-zero and single digit temperatures to see how they performed.  My main two focuses were for cold and hot liquids and how these containers would keep the liquids from freezing over extended periods of time. The bottles used for the testing were a 21 oz. CamelBak Podium bottle outfitted with a Mud Cap, a Yeti Rambler 18 oz. and a Stanley 32 oz. Half Growler.

I first started with the cold water test using the same temperature water in all three bottles.  I wanted to do this test with cold water from the tap which ended up being 58° F.  I put all three bottles outside on a recent cold evening at 1:05am when the temperature was -6° F.  I checked the temperature of the water in the bottles three times over the next 32 hours to see how they would perform.  I have had plenty of experience with uninsulated CamelBak water bottles in previous winters and knew that it probably wouldn't perform that well compared to the vacuum insulated containers.  Below are my findings during the cold and hot water testing.

My first reading would be 7 hours and 10 minutes later when the outside temperature had dropped to -8° F (the coldest during the testing period during this test).  The CamelBak bottle was completely frozen solid while the two vacuum insulated bottles performed much better with water temperature readings of 44° F for the Yeti Rambler and 48° F for the Stanley Half Growler.

My second reading would be 3 hours and 25 minutes later when the outside temperature had warmed up to 7° F.  The vacuum insulated bottles had water temperature readings of 39° F for the Yeti Rambler and 45° F for the Stanley Half Growler.

The third reading would be later that evening (7 hours 35 minutes after the second reading) when the temperature outside had reached 12° F.  The Yeti Rambler had dropped to 35° F and the Stanley Half Growler was at 39° F.  A thin layer of ice was forming at the top of both containers but each was still drinkable by breaking the ice.

My final reading would be the next morning (over 32 hours since the start of testing) when the outside temperature had warmed up to 18° F.  The water in the Yeti Rambler was at 33° F and so was the Stanley Half Growler.  Both had a layer of ice at the top of the container but under the circumstances, I was pleasantly surprised.

The next test was to see how these two vacuum insulated bottles would perform when filled with boiling water (212° F).  At the start of the test the outside temperature was 3° F.  I would take two extended period temperature readings of the water over the next 24 hour period.

My first reading would be 12½ hours later when the outside temperature had dropped to -4° F.  The Yeti Rambler had a water temperature reading of 99° F and the Stanley Half Growler was at 104° F.

My second reading would be almost 24 hours after the start of the test where the outside temperature had fallen to the low teens below zero overnight and warmed up to -6° F.  The Yeti Rambler had a water temperature reading of 56° F and the Stanley Half Growler was at 68° F which is still a long way from freezing.  For very long rides, bikepacking or a backup water supply, starting with boiling water in either of these containers will leave you with cold water after 24 hours in some very cold temperatures.

In conclusion, heading out on cold winter rides with vacuum insulated containers is the way to go if you want your hot liquids to stay hot and your cold beverages to keep from freezing.  Using this style of container will let you stay out longer in cold, even sub-zero temperatures while allowing you to stay hydrated.  The 18 oz. Yeti Rambler will fit in a standard water bottle cage for those shorter rides while the 32 oz. Stanley Half Growler will require a Salsa Anything Cage or Anything Cage HD to hold it.  Since getting both of these containers, I no longer have to deal with frozen bottles during the winter months.


  1. thanks for the review. I've had good performance from Hydro flask (REI) which is another vacuum insulated bottle. On cold rides, I do supplement with a bit of Beam- just in case...

  2. I am so impressed with the original writer of this post.
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