Review: Relaj Water Bottles – Easy Drinking Design w/ Frozen Core
We first found these in 2009 as a concept, then at Interbike 2011 as more refined, production ready bottle. It’s a been a long development story for family founders Bruce, Becky and Alex Bernstein, but they finally started shipping last year.
Relaj water bottles combine several nifty features into one easy to grip, easy to drink bottle that helps keep your drinks a bit cooler, too.
It has a removable bottom that incorporates a freezable gel stick. Not only does it help keep your drinks a bit cooler on hot days, but it makes cleaning out the bottom much easier, too. The top has a twist-to-open spout that keeps it leakproof during transit. The main feature of the bottle, though, is the overall shape and spout design, which lets you drink while holding it from the side so you can stay in a more aero position and maintain better forward visibility.
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All in all, it works quite well, but there are a few things worth noting…
The spout’s opening is pretty small and flow is adequate but not as voluminous what you get from Camelbak’s Podium bottles. The larger bottom is the “wide mouth” opening you’ll want to use to add powdered drink mix. The only downside to that is that you need one hand to hold the bottle and the other to scoop…so make sure you open your drink mix canister and have the scoop at the ready before putting water in the bottle.
Once frozen, the core is very hard. And if it falls out of the freezer onto a hard floor, it can break. Fortunately, this doesn’t ruin the entire bottle, just it’s ability to keep your drink chilled. I just thoroughly washed the gel out of the base and the bottle is 100% usable. And in the bottle half full view, it has another ounce or so of useable volume! You can also just twist it out if you don’t want it, or if you want to stick just the core in the freezer and avoid the risk of falling and breaking.
Despite the curves, the bottles fit snugly in normal cages. The rubbery grips are slightly recessed so they won’t be grabby on the cage, making entry and egress as smooth as any standard bottle. It does make them easy to grip and hold while riding, though, so win-win on the design.
The spouts elongated, narrow shape is made to let you drink from the side, like so. Pinky extension optional. On the bike, it means you don’t have to sit up so much, so you stay more aero. If you’re used to drinking with the bottle more or less straight in front of you and tilting your head back, it does require retraining your mind to grab the bottle underhanded, but it works. I just wish the flow rate were a bit faster.
Overall, the bottles are easy to use and offer some nice safety and performance benefits. They’re easy to squeeze, grab and drink from. The cooling effect of the gel wears off pretty quickly, but every little bit helps on the hottest days. The spout’s valve pulls out for easy cleaning, too, which is a very good feature indeed.
- 23oz without ice core
- BPA free
- odorless, tasteless plastics
- dishwasher safe