The BackBottle is the latest product to come from Brian Davis, the maker of Fix it Sticks, a great multi-tool that we reviewed when it was introduced it at their Interbike launch awhile back.
Most of us are not riding in the pro peloton and lack support vehicles and domestiques to bring us extra water whenever we are running low. Short of convincing a friend to come along and carry extra water while we ride, we are left with few options for carrying extra hydration beyond the two bottle cages available on most rigs. Planning rides around the availability of water stops is one widely used option. CamelBak style hydration packs are great, but not something that is usually used on road rides. And most riders prefer to stay away from the extra bulk and discomfort of carrying a standard water bottle in a jersey pocket. So, in most cases, regardless of the ride length or temperature, we load up with two water bottles and are on our way.
The BackBottle offers an additional, innovative option for our hydration needs on the bike. We have all at some point, in a race or on a long ride, shoved a bottle in our jersey pocket to have that little extra bit of water available. However, a standard bottle comes with some limitations, especially when it comes to comfort and ease of use.
The BackBottle aims to address these issues with unique design that makes bringing along an extra water bottle an easy choice.
The BackBottle solves several problems with carrying extra water on your ride. First, the bottle incorporates a wedge design which allows you to easily slide it in your jersey pocket, much more easily than the bottles we are used to with a rounded base.
I found that the bottles was indeed much easier to place into the jersey pocket while riding, the slimmer profile and wedged base allow the bottle to slide right into the pocket, even with one hand.
Once in the pocket, a raised lip about mid-way up the side of the bottle allows a more secure fit inside the pocket as the top of the pocket rides over the lip and helps to secure it in the pocket.
I admit I was a bit skeptical about the bottle; I didn’t think that it would feel much different than a standard bottle. However, once it is in place, the bottle all but disappears. The shape of the bottle follows the curvature of the back pretty closely, close enough to significantly improve comfort over a traditional water bottle.
A Bottle That Will Keep You Cool on a Hot Ride
With the low profile bottle that hugs your back, you can take advantage of the cooling effects of an iced down, or frozen water bottle on a hot summer ride. Simply freeze your water bottle overnight and slip it in your jersey pocket when you head out. Instead of shoving ice or ice packs into your jersey, you can slip the bottle in your pocket and let it keep your body temperature a little cooler during the ride. The advantage this has over ice packs is that you can utilize the extra fluid after during the ride or race to aid in staying hydrated. This is especially adventurous in a hot race where marginal gains can pay big at the finish.
The BackBottle also has raised ridges along the body-side of the bottle, allowing a little more airflow between the bottle and your body.
Where the BackBottle Can Shine
Riders will find the bottle advantageous in many different ride situations. Many riders prefer to not ride with a cage on their bikes in a cross race. The BackBottle allows you to carry some water during the race without the need for a bottle cage. You can use it multiple times during a race, sliding it back in your pocket after a quick drink, or simply keep it on hand with a small amount of water for a quick mid-race drink and toss it aside.
Carrying extra water in any long, hot ride or race is a good idea. With less bulk this makes carrying an extra bottle in your jersey less cumbersome and therefore makes the choice to carry the extra bottle a little easier.
Rarely, in the amateur road racing ranks, are water stations available along the route where riders can take advantage of a hand-up. Some riders do carry an extra bottle in their jersey and in many cases, they simply discard it along the route when it is empty rather than carry it to the finish in their jersey. Many riders just choose to make it through with what their cages will carry. This underlies some of the issues with the discomfort of carrying traditional bottles via the rear jersey pockets. This is another case where the BackBottle may convince riders to bring along an extra 1/2 liter of water during a race .
The bottle is dishwasher safe, recyclable, BPA free, and holds .53 liters of fluid. The empty bottles weighs in at about 3oz and are 8.5 inches long by 3 inches wide. The mouth of the bottle, while not as wide as most of my bottles, is wide enough to add ice for those who prefer to do so.
I found the plastic bottle to be squeezable, not as soft as a Purist, but as soft as most of my other bottles. The nozzle is made out of a harder plastic and has a tough feel to it so if you prefer a softer nozzle, this might take a little getting used to.
The BackBottle is a great idea that improves on existing water bottle designs, as they relate to placement in a jersey pocket. Many riders will find very useful and will find that having some extra water on long, hot rides can be very useful and save a stop or two. Racers who carry extra water might find they are a little better off at the end of a long road race if they take advantage of the extra hydration available to them.
The bottle could be a little softer and the nozzle’s mouth-feel should be improved but overall it is a great idea and a solid design. For $12 there is very little to lose if you give it a try.