Zefal's Arctica is a water bottle that keeps your drink cooler than a standard bottle for a couple of hours or more, or warmer if you go for a hot drink.
The bottle is made from low-density polyethylene (polythene). It's double layered with an insulating bag between the inner and outer walls.
It holds 700ml of fluid and the opening is wide – 65mm – so it's easy to get energy drink powder inside. That makes for simple cleaning too. It's a screw top so the lid never comes off accidentally, and it fits all the bottle cages we could find to try it on.
How well does the bottle insulate? Well, we conducted a little experiment.
We filled the Arctica bottle and a standard single-walled bottle with cold tap water (14.5°C) and left them outside for 2:30hrs when the temperature was 23°C. We figured that most people are going to drink about a bottle of liquid an hour on the bike during hot weather and you'll maybe have two bottles on your bike, so you're unlikely to need to keep your drink cool for longer than 2:30hrs.
At the end of that time, the water in the normal bottle was 19°C while the water in the Arctica bottle was 17.9°C. It's not a massive difference, but the water from the Arctica bottle felt noticeably cooler when we drank it.
Used normally on the bike, the Arctica bottle does keep your drink just a bit cooler than would otherwise be the case. Even if it's just a degree's difference, it's welcome on a really hot day.
We tried it with a hot drink too. I don't take hot drinks out while riding, but I know that some people do in winter, so I put hot squash (89°C) in the two bottles and slung them in the fridge (4°C) for 2:30hrs.
After that time the squash in the standard bottle was 34.2°C while the squash in the Arctica was 46.2°C. That's the difference between having a drink that feels hot (just about) and having a drink that's tepid.
The Arctica bottle does its job in both hot and cold conditions although we felt that it made more of a difference for keeping hot drinks hot rather than for keeping cold drinks cold. It's not as effective as a vacuum flask, but it's cheaper and lighter – at 182g it's just under double the weight of a standard bottle of the same size.
Insulated bottle that helps keep a cold drink cold, or a hot drink hot.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Zefal Arctica 700ml insulated drinks bottle
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's for anyone who values a hot or cold drink, I guess.
Zefal say, "The Arctica is an essential accessory riding in hot or cold weather. In spite of its large capacity, 700ml (24oz), the Artica insulated bottle manages to keep your drink at an optimal temperature for over 2 hours and a half [hours]."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
It's made from low-density polyethylene with the inner tank having a food–safe coating.
It's about double the weight of a standard bottle, but lighter than a vacuum flask.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It makes more of a difference for keeping hot drinks hot rather than for keeping cold drinks cold, we found.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Much lighter than a vacuum flask.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was interesting rather than enjoyable!
Would you consider buying the product? It's best for keeping hot drinks hot, and I never have a hot drink on a bike, so not one for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.