Review: Relaj Water Bottles – Easy Drinking Design w/ Frozen Core

Relaj water bottle review with easy drinking shape and removable freezer ice pack

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.

UPDATE: Relaj is offering Bikerumor readers a 25% discount through March 31, 2014. Hit up the link at bottom of post and use code “BikeRumor25” to get the deal.

All in all, it works quite well, but there are a few things worth noting…

Relaj water bottle review with easy drinking shape and removable freezer ice pack

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.

Relaj water bottle review with easy drinking shape and removable freezer ice pack

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.

Relaj water bottle review with easy drinking shape and removable freezer ice pack

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.

Relaj water bottle review with easy drinking shape and removable freezer ice pack

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.

Specs:

  • 23oz without ice core
  • BPA free
  • odorless, tasteless plastics
  • dishwasher safe
  • $19.99

Relaj.com

Comments

Jimbo - 01/20/14 - 11:01am

Neat idea, but not sure if this is any better than using ice cubes in a regular water bottle.

mudrock - 01/20/14 - 11:19am

Killer selfie. I like the pinkie. Your momma taught you right.

Theoneandonlylala - 01/20/14 - 11:37am

Ahhhh Let me get this straight. The frozen spike goes into the bottom hole? I feel like I’ve seen these before…

WG - 01/20/14 - 12:41pm

Errrmmm… I don’t want to sound negative, but why not just fill your bottle with ice cubes? At least you could use 100% of the bottle’s volume.

David - 01/20/14 - 12:43pm

Wonder why they ignored the obvious step of having the bottle insulated?

ridein - 01/20/14 - 12:49pm

@WG, ice cubes would have to be a very specific size to get thru that narrow opening.
You would be better off just freezing the whole bottle when the water level is about one third full.

The Guy - 01/20/14 - 12:54pm

Yeah this is no good. Do we really need a bottle that is specifically for use to drink from the side? My Podium Chills work perfectly as I stare straight ahead, and drink… wait for it… from the side. My vision is not blocked at all. I use ICE cubes, not some stupid gel cell. Also, I man up and clean the bottles with a dish brush. It’s NOT THAT much of a nuisance to clean my bottles, why do we need one with a bottom that unscrews? Sorry, Relaj, but you have a dud here. You’re trying to fix something that isn’t broken. You’re trying to create a need where there isn’t a need!

Bruce - 01/20/14 - 1:16pm

Hi… Thanks Tyler for the nice review! Just a couple of comments… The main focus of the Relaj is its ergonomics and ease of use with the patented ‘Tip the Bottle, not your Head’ technology, and contoured mid-body shape, which makes it easier to hold, control, and squeeze – a nice benefit for both advanced and less experienced riders.

With the Relaj, one can actually look down when drinking, so he or she can check out readings on computers or watt meters and can see debris in the road directly in front of the wheel. The control factor also is key… If one needs to quickly grab the handlebars during a drink, the Relaj is easy to control with just the thumb and forefinger, so you can grab the bars to control the situation, making the bottle less likely to be dropped and safer in group rides.

Regarding cleaning… its 100% dishwasher safe – all racks.

Enjoy…

Bruce Bernstein
Relaj Inc.

WG - 01/20/14 - 4:21pm

@ridein – it depends on what bottle you buy. My Camelbak Podium takes any cubes that I could make in my freezer.

@Bruce – I just can’t believe you believe it yourself. ‘Tip the Bottle, not your Head’ TECHNOLOGY?! Really? Man, it’s just a bottle with a pointed top, just like hundreds of others around. What’s the technology here? I’d rather say it’s a classic example of finding a problem for a worthless solution.

By the way… The best way to keep your drink cool is to use insulated walls. Just a friendly tip.

Psi Squared - 01/20/14 - 4:35pm

In Arizona, you fill the water bottle nearly to the top and then freeze it.

Tyler Benedict - 01/20/14 - 5:19pm

All – Bruce at Relaj just emailed to say they’ve updated their valves since we got ours and they flow a bit more water. As for the “drink from the side”, it’s mainly that their valve/spout tips are longer and thinner, which makes it easier to get them angled with the fluid above them when holding it from the side. Camelbak and other bottles work, too, but the angles of this one allow for complete emptying of the contents without having to turn it completely upside down. It’s a little thing, but once I used it it makes a lot of sense. Like everything else, it may not be for you, but don’t knock it (ie. make a crappy comment) until you’ve tried it.

Chris - 01/20/14 - 9:45pm

Jumbo may be onto something…..

But his isn’t bad. Combine clean bottle, podium and polar bottles all into one

Susan - 07/10/14 - 7:16am

Very disappointed. Began leaking from top after only a very few times used.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.