I’m a bit of a Camelbak fan and am a long-time owner and advocate of one of their bladder systems. So I was rather excited to receive one of their new drinking bottles and had some high expectations.
First impressions were good, I like the rather sleek stripy styling – my test version is black/grey but I notice from their website there are a few other colours to choose from and a stainless steel version. The plastic material feels reassuringly sturdy and expensive. I even like the look of the big swooshy handle which offers an alternative way to carry it by hand and serves as a handy karabiner clip.
I’ve been testing the bottle now for several weeks and have taken it in the car and out on trips – both on outdoorsy dog walking pursuits and around an interiors show, and I felt like a blended in on both locations just fine!
The construction/design is an inner bottle within an outer shell – style wise it looks pretty neat but I’ve no idea if this is just a design choice or whether the two layers do something techie and clever like keep your water cool – a look round the specs on the website leaves me no wiser so I’m going to go with a funky design tweak! However it does mean that it doesn’t hold quite as much liquid as you might think on first glance.
The drinking spout is the tried and test Camelbak bite and drink valve which works really well to stop any accidental leaks. However the position of it alongside the big swooshy handle means you can only drink from the bottle with the valve split facing one one way. This may sound like a minor point but if you are cycling or driving for example (or indeed engaging in any other activity where you only have one hand free!) and can’t split your attention away for too long means you end up in a bit of a one handed shuffle-athon!
A problem with the Groove is the way the spout tucks away into the bottle. Yes it does a fab job at stopping any leaks and looks neat and tidy but sometimes it’s an absolute pain to open. In theory you just pop your thumb on the little nubbin sticking up and voila – up it pops, but sometimes it just sticks fast and I’ve found myself having to prise my fingers round the whole spout to force it open with some force.
I’ve no idea why this happens – maybe an airlock or something but I do know that it’s deeply infuriating when it does, and whilst attempting to prise it open one handed whilst driving (hopefully no nice policemen are reading this!) I also managed to inadvertently unscrew the top at the same time so had to sit for 3 hours with a wet lap. One was not amused.
I really want to love this, I think it’s great that companies are getting on board with bottles that are re-useable and have filters. I like the mix of city slick styling with outdoorsy elements and because I love my old trusty bladder style Camelbak so much I just don’t want to believe that the same company could make something with such an annoying flaw.