American CamelBak is nothing less than a household name, and basically synonymous with high-quality drinkware and hydration systems for outdoor activities. We were therefore thrilled when we were contacted by CamelBak in late fall and offered to test three of their products in return for unbiased reviews. In the end of November, we received the CamelBak Chute Mag Vacuum bottle, Rim Runner 22 hydration pack and Circuit hydration vest. We have been using the bottle for both hikes and everyday life for the past two months now, and can thus safely say that the CamelBak Chute Mag bottle is suitable for:
- Everyday use
The Concept and Materials
The CamelBak Chute Mag Vacuum is, as the name suggests, a vacuum flask which means that it keeps your tea, soup or coffee steaming hot in cold weather and your water or soda icy cold in the heat of summer. Vacuum flasks consist of two bottles – a smaller within a larger, and the air between them is extracted to create vacuum which works as an insulator. I will not go deeper into the physics but if you are interested in the concept of vacuum flasks do read this article on explainthatstuff.com. The body of the Camelbak Chute Mag is made of stainless steel and thus you can use it for whichever beverage you want. Unlike plastic bottles, stainless steel bottles don’t retain flavors.
The cap is made of robust plastic and has some very nice features, but more about this in the section below. Stainless steel bottles are very durable and last for many years. However, they do have one downside. They are relatively heavy in comparison to their plastic counterparts. The CamelBak Chute Mag with the capacity of 32 oz. (1 liter) which we tested weighs just around one pound (454 g). While this might sound a lot, I haven’t found many vacuum flasks with the same capacity that are lighter.
Features and Functionality
I started using the Camelbak Chute Vacuum bottle in the end of November when we received it and quickly spotted a few nice features. The body of the bottle is coated which doesn’t make the bottle only look good, but also less slippery and easier to handle than a completely smooth steel surface. However, the biggest advantage of the bottle is its Chute Mag Cap. The Chute Mag Cap has a magnetic lid and thus it is not necessary to unscrew the big cap when you want to drink. You simply unscrew the small lid. The lid is attached to the cap so you can’t accidently lose it. As it’s magnetic, it’s also super easy to close the bottle – the lid more or less automatically jumps on the bottle. Should you manage to lose the whole cap or damage it irreversibly you can actually buy a new Chute Mag Cap separately – which is awesome as the cap, even with careful use, might not be as ever-lasting as the steel bottle.
The Chute Mag Vacuum bottle is also compatible with other caps from CamelBak. For cold drinks you can use the Eddy+ (cap and straw) and for warm drinks you can use the Hot Cap. The Chute Mag cap also has a robust handle which allows you to attach the bottle to your backpack or other gear with a carabiner or similar attachment device like the HeroClip. I found the 32 oz. Chute Mag a bit too bulky to be attached in this way, but Camelbak does also make the bottle in a 16 oz. version. Nevertheless, I’m really happy with the 32 oz. version as it holds just the right amount of beverage for our family of three when we go on day hikes. Although the bottle is quite big, it fits into the side pockets of my Osprey Talon 44 backpack and my girlfriend’s CamelBak Rim Runner 22 daypack.
One thing that does bother me about the CamelBak Chute Mag Vacuum bottle is that it doesn’t have an integrated cup. A surprising amount of insulated vacuum bottles for outdoor sports don’t include an integrated cup to drink from – unlike the conventional “granny” thermos. I don’t know if it is to keep the weight down or maintain a more sporty look, but unless the hot liquid you are carrying is just the right temperature for drinking (or going tepid), chances are that you will burn your mouth while attempting to drink directly from the bottle. It would be cool if CamelBak and other insulated bottle manufacturers would start to include a cup in their designs, at least as an option that one could choose to screw on or off the actual bottle before venturing out. Nevertheless, I’m considering getting an X-Cup from Sea to Summit which collapses into a flat disk and is thus super easy to pack.
So far, I’ve been using the bottle only in cold temperatures for hot beverages and I was satisfied with the insulation. The beverage always stayed hot throughout the hike. Nevertheless, I did notice that some heat is lost through the cap. The cap does become warm when you pour hot beverage into the bottle. Therefore, I decided to do an experiment. I poured boiling water into the bottle and left it outside in the morning of a day where the temperatures moved between -2 ⁰C and -5 ⁰C (23-30 ⁰F). After three hours the water was still boiling hot; after five-six hours it was just right to drink directly from the bottle; after nine hours it was still a decent temperature to be considered warm, and after 24 hours the water had merely reached room temperature. That is indeed a satisfactory result, so maybe the insulation of the cap is alright although some heat is obviously lost.
Only the Chute Mag cap is dishwasher safe – which is great, if you get the feeling that the plastic has taken a bit of flavor from a soup or other strongly flavored liquid you have transported recently. The vessel itself should be handwashed, but the bottle opening is wide enough that you can get a regular dish brush through it and scrub it clean when needed.
The CamelBak Chute bottle is a great addition to my hiking gear. The bottle is made of high-quality materials and has some very nice features such as magnetic lid, carrying handle and coated body for easier handling. The only thing I miss is an integrated cup. The bottle is suitable for both warm beverages and cold drinks. As it’s made of stainless steel it also doesn’t retain flavors, and has just the right capacity for day hikes with my family.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.