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Polar Bottle Insulated Sport Overview
Let’s be honest. Most of us can get all geeked out about the baffle construction of our sleeping bags or the brightness to weight ratio of our headlamps, but how many times have you stopped to think about your insulated water bottles? If you answered “Um…never,” then you are in the same boat as I was. However, this is small thinking my friends. We must be better than this! Water is perhaps the single most important element of a safe and enjoyable jaunt into the wilderness.
We don’t need much. But we do require a container that doesn’t leak, doesn’t break, fits easily in a pack, and keeps liquids at a temperature of our choosing.
As luck would have it, the Polar Bottle Insulated Sport checks all these boxes, and with a surprisingly low cost, it’s our Budget Pick Insulated Water Bottle for the Day Hiker.
While we also tested this bottle for backpacking, in the end we don’t think backpackers really need insulated water bottles. You probably have a mug for hot cocoa at night and a regular water bottle or bladder for trail hydration. But for those of you who are active frequently and want a lightweight water bottle with some insulating powers (nowhere near a stainless steel water bottle), by all means consider this as a great option.
Read the full Polar Bottle Insulated Sport review below.
Insulated Sport Specifications
|Feature Type||Feature Specs||What This Means|
|Weight||5 oz. (144 g) (when empty)||Very lightweight for an insulated bottle, about par the course for a regular water bottle.|
|Volume||24 oz. (.7 L)||This is a good volume for active hydration. Not so much water that the bottle is heavy, but enough to keep you hydrated.|
|Body Material||PP, LDPE, HDPE, and Tritan plastics||A lot of fancy acronyms for plastics. This bottle uses a variety of plastics to achieve its weight and insulation, yet remains free of chemicals. Also, with a Tritan plastic core, it is very strong.|
|Insulation Time||Cold: Twice as long as normal, Hot: Not specified||The Polar Bottle Insulated Sport is not your typical insulated bottle. It only keeps drinks cold for twice as long as normal, and we found it’s the same for hot liquid. Don’t expect to have cold water overnight.|
|Mouth Type||Narrow||The mouth is a pop cap, so very narrow for drinking. You can unscrew the main lid to fit ice cubes or whatever else you want.|
|Lid||Zipstream High Flow Cap, Polar Bottle Sport cap||We tested both the regular Sport cap and the Zipstream High Flow cap, which increases drinking speed. Both work well.|
|Height||10.5 in. (26.7 cm)||A fairly tall bottle.|
|Base Diameter||2.95 in. (7.5 cm)||A narrow bottle that will fit in almost all backpack pockets, cup holders, vests, and bikes.|
|Mouth Diameter||1 in. (2.5 cm)||The pop cap is narrow.|
|Free Of||BPA and Phthalate||Despite the large number of plastics in this bottle, it is free of known harmful chemicals. This includes the foil insulation inside the bottle.|
|Other Sizes||12 oz., 20 oz.||We tested the 24-ounce version, which is the largest bottle available. The other sizes are great and basically the same build, but don’t hydrate you as well.|
|Manufacturer Warranty||Lifetime Guarantee||Polar offers a lifetime guarantee if their bottle breaks or leaks, which is pretty incredible for a plastic water bottle. They also offer free lids and CarryLoops if yours for some reason doesn’t work or has disappeared. Amazing guarantee.|
|Retail Price||$12.99||A great price for a lightweight bottle with a bit of insulation. If you want the best of both worlds and are all about active hydration, grab this bottle.|
Gear Review of the Polar Bottle Insulated Sport
Revelation: The Moment I Knew
I used the Polar Bottle on multiple days hikes in the hills above Sacramento, on an overnight backcountry trip in Tahoe, and once while trail running. While I was impressed by this bottle in many ways, two things really stuck out.
First, it doesn’t leak. That is exceedingly rare in my experience — which is quite extensive as a competitive trail runner and extreme backpacker — and I very much appreciated not having a constant dribble of water saturating my shirt and my pack. Major props to Polar.
Second, the removable CarryLoops is awesome! It seemed a bit gimmicky to me at first, but it was great being able to clip the bottle to my pack with a carabiner or to run a strap through it.
I tested the fancy Zipstream High Flow cap, and the regular sports bottle cap. The pictures you see here are the normal cap — the fancy one is red, and has a self sealing valve designed for on-the-go drinking. That sounds a little like marketing speak to me (and it is), but it didn’t leak and I was able to get large mouthfuls of water on the go, exactly as claimed. The regular lid worked as well as every other sports bottle cap, and didn’t leak, either.
The lid screws off completely for ice, too.
This thing is designed for the road. It’s made of tough but flexible plastic so it’s virtually crush-proof. If you took a sharp knife to it you could destroy it (if I got a nickel for every time I said that…), but it won’t dent like a metal bottle.
I was impressed with the comfort and feel of the Polar insulated bottle. It has grooves in all the right places and conforms to the hand nicely. I tested the 24-ounce version and the capacity of water while on the move felt just right.
I like room temperature water when drinking from a standard water bottle, and the Polar Bottle is more like a normal bottle with a bit of insulation. In an effort to really test this bottle I filled it with ice cubes a few times, as well as boiling water once.
Cold: While the water stayed cold for about two hours, the ice melted in less than an hour. Polar uses a foil layer to insulate, and it’s specifically designed for cold. It generally claims to keep your cold water colder for “twice as long”, and I’d say that’s true. But don’t expect ice cubes the next day.
Hot: The water remained hot inside the bottle for two hours, and warm for another hour after that. The same foil technology works for insulating warm water, but Polar does not claim that this bottle is meant to insulate hot water. It can do it, but is not really meant for that.
Note: When you put boiling water in the Polar Bottle, the bottle itself may change shape a bit (not permanently). Don’t freak out when this happens, but also steer clear of extremely hot liquids in this thing.
No real grievances for a lightly insulated bottle that is easy to drink from and doesn’t leak — just some commentary.
I find this bottle a little heavy for backcountry activities. I generally like to use Gatorade bottles or regular plastic water bottles when I’m on walkabout, and to me the insulation isn’t worth the extra weight. I’m typically an Ultralight Backpacker, and have a small cup that is my pot and mug, so I drink hot liquids when at camp. I also don’t need my backcountry water to get any colder, and would never have access to ice.
So, I would say great bottle, but not my first choice if I’m going light in the backcountry. And only meant for backpackers that want a lightweight insulated bottle, rather than bringing a big stainless steel one. A day hike, trail run, or bike ride is where this bottle shines.
The Polar Bottle Insulated Sport is durable, comfortable to use, easy to carry, and refreshingly leak free, all with light insulation that works as claimed. Polar just does a bottle right.
Where to Buy Polar Bottle Insulated Sport
We tested the 24-ounce Polar Bottle Insulated Sport in the Artist Series color-way. Polar Bottle — that’s the full name of the company — offers these bottles in tons of different designs, but their construction and features are all roughly the same. You can get them in 12- or 20-ounce versions, but we like the 24-ounce version for full hydration.
The bottles come with the regular cap, but you can upgrade to the Zipstream High Flow cap for $3. If you really value your drinking speed, go for it, otherwise the regular cap works well.
Compare Polar Bottle Insulated Sport prices below.