In the bicycle accessory world, nothing beats a water bottle when it comes to simplicity. They may vary slightly in color or appearance, but all bottles perform the same basic function. How do you improve something that’s remained essentially unchanged for the past half-century? By addressing the needs of mountain bikers and gravel riders, Colorado’s Polar Bottle does just that with their Muck series of bottles.
What is it that makes Polar’s Muck bottle suited to unpaved riding? Cleanliness. Anyone who’s cycled off-road knows just how dirty bottles can get. You’re riding along, reach for your bottle, and take a swig. But instead of clean, cool water, you get a mouthful of lukewarm, dirt-flavored mystery beverage.
Based on their popular insulated bottles, Polar’s Muck models feature the company’s aptly named Muckguard™ cap. The cap covers the high-flow Surge™ valve, leaving dirt and other nasties where they belong–on the trail. While it may seem relatively basic, this simple, easy-to-use cap proved extremely effective at keeping contaminants at bay.
If you’re used to conventional water bottles, you may find the double-wall Polar bottles require a bit more effort to squeeze. That’s OK, though, because the Muck bottles really do keep their contents cooler. I would typically add 4-5 ounces of water, freeze them overnight, and still have ice after a couple of hours’ riding in 90+ temps.
Polar offers Muck bottles in 12-, 20- and 24-ounce sizes ($14, $15, $16 MSRP). My 20-ounce sample weighed 144 grams, making it 62 grams heavier than a Specialized Purist bottle of the same capacity. I tested the Polar’s Muck bottles with a variety of cages, but due to the bottles’ larger-diameter necks, entry and removal was easier on cages with flatter profiles (Arundel, Bontrager, X-Lab).
Whether you ride on- or off-road, the Polar Muck bottle delivers clean, cool liquids in a leakproof, easy-to-clean package. And if you already own one of the company’s insulated bottles, the Muckguard dust cover is available separately for just $3.
Disclosure: Polar Bottle provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.