Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Water Bottle Color Vs. Sun?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Water Bottle Color Vs. Sun?

Old 07-08-19, 01:33 AM
  #1  
3speed
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 3,443
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 355 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 16 Posts
Water Bottle Color Vs. Sun?

I've wondered for a while now if bottle color would affect water temperature on a sunny day. Has anyone looked into this? Would a white bottle stay cooler since it reflects the light rather than absorbing it, black the hottest, etc? What about the stainless bottles? Should they be the coolest if you had a mirrored surface to reflect all of the light? Though metal slides always get scorching hot in the summer, so maybe those bottles would be the hottest?
3speed is offline  
Old 07-08-19, 05:44 AM
  #2  
DCwom
Senior Member
 
DCwom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central New Jersey
Posts: 409

Bikes: Burley Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
I've wondered for a while now if bottle color would affect water temperature on a sunny day. Has anyone looked into this? Would a white bottle stay cooler since it reflects the light rather than absorbing it, black the hottest, etc? What about the stainless bottles? Should they be the coolest if you had a mirrored surface to reflect all of the light? Though metal slides always get scorching hot in the summer, so maybe those bottles would be the hottest?
There are at least two things to consider, absorption and conduction. Darker colors will absorb more solar energy (heat) and metal will conduct heat better than say plastic or wood.

Polar bottles help with their limited insulation but they aren't much of a match for a hot sunny summer day. One trick if you want cool water when you stop is to fill a Polar bottle with just ice, no water, or even better yet freeze a half filled bottle overnight. This will limit the amount of contact between the fluid (ice) and the inside surface of the bottle, hence reducing heat transfer, then add water to the ice at a rest stop. The down side of course is that you have to carry an extra bottle.

Last edited by DCwom; 07-08-19 at 05:52 AM.
DCwom is offline  
Old 07-08-19, 05:50 AM
  #3  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 2,195

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 470 Post(s)
Liked 222 Times in 164 Posts
Theoretically of course color would make a difference. If you have two water bottle cages and feel like carrying a thermometer, you can run a side-by-side test, and see if the difference is measurable.

All of my current bottles are semi-transparent or light colored. Maybe that's why.

My Arizona friends have insulated bottles with a foil wrapper under a clear plastic outer layer. The drawbacks are reduced quantity and increased weight and cost. I wouldn't carry a stainless bottle for those reasons.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 07-08-19, 06:33 AM
  #4  
riceowls
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 118

Bikes: Trek FX 7.2, Diamondback Century 2, Trek T2000 tandem, K2 Enemy cyclocross, Bike Friday tandem

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
As someone who trains in Houston, I've tested a fair share of the bottles. Not with the thermometer but with side by side comparison of the two or three bottles we carry. Camelback Podium Chil series is my winner and I now own 4 of these. Steel insulated work slightly better but harder to drink from and heavy.
riceowls is offline  
Old 07-08-19, 08:16 AM
  #5  
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,709

Bikes: Downtube 8H, Surly Troll

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 302 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 21 Posts
Generally if it's hot outside, and you're riding all day, your water will get to air temperature fairly early on and stay that way. Maybe a darker color will absorb more light and get a little warmer, but I doubt it will be enough to make a difference. I did have a steel, double-walled, vacuum-sealed water bottle. It stayed cold for a long time. Multiple times I started out on a hot day with ice water, and later in the day, long after I had forgotten about my ice water, I'd make myself crazy trying to track down the clinking sound I was hearing from my bike. Eventually I'd see the water bottle and remember that the last time this had happened, it had been the sound of ice in my water bottle, and sure enough, that was the "problem" again.

Generally I just get used to drinking warm water. Makes those gas station Gatorade stops have extra appeal. But recently when touring with a small cooler, I stopped and bought a bag of ice that was far more than what I could fit in the cooler. For the next 10 miles or so, I was carrying a half a bag of ice on my handlebars and using it to refresh my water bottle at every stop. Having constant access to cold water on a hot day was bliss. Makes me think I need to replace that steel water bottle I used to have.
Rob_E is offline  
Likes For Rob_E:
Old 07-08-19, 08:45 AM
  #6  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 24,276

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4274 Post(s)
Liked 1,788 Times in 1,086 Posts
Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Generally if it's hot outside, and you're riding all day, your water will get to air temperature fairly early on and stay that way. Maybe a darker color will absorb more light and get a little warmer, but I doubt it will be enough to make a difference.
Bingo! Even “insulated” plastic bottles aren’t going to remain cold for that long. There is simply too little insulation to do much more than keep the liquid cold for just a little longer. There is also just too little thermal mass as well.

Generally I just get used to drinking warm water. Makes those gas station Gatorade stops have extra appeal. But recently when touring with a small cooler, I stopped and bought a bag of ice that was far more than what I could fit in the cooler. For the next 10 miles or so, I was carrying a half a bag of ice on my handlebars and using it to refresh my water bottle at every stop. Having constant access to cold water on a hot day was bliss. Makes me think I need to replace that steel water bottle I used to have.
What if someone made a bag of some sort? And then put a cover around it? And then put some kind of straps on the bag so that it was a little easier to carry? And then made the cover out of some kind of thick material that find of serves as insulation?

Oh, wait, someone already does that. Lots of someones in fact. I agree that cold water is wonderful on a hot day. I regularly buy a bag of ice in the morning, pack most of it into a Camelbak (5 to 6 lbs), fill the rest with water and enjoy cold water for 3 to 6 hours depending on heat and humidity. The bag even feels cold on my back which provides an added bit of comfort.

And, for those are going to bring up the “sweaty back” problem, the ice takes care of that.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 07-08-19, 10:56 AM
  #7  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,957
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1485 Post(s)
Liked 183 Times in 123 Posts
I use white bottles for the most part, but never gave any thought as to temperature. You can always keep water in a pannier which should help a bit. On a really hot day, I don’t want cold water, because much of it goes on my head and jersey to keep cool.
alan s is offline  
Old 07-08-19, 11:23 AM
  #8  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,322 Times in 832 Posts
you Want a wet cotton tube sock over your water bottle to cool it .. by evaporation ..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-08-19, 05:33 PM
  #9  
Dingman 
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 22
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
you Want a wet cotton tube sock over your water bottle to cool it .. by evaporation ..
Yup, this will bring the bottle down to wetbulb temp.
Meaning, if it's 100° dry bulb day, you put a wet sock on most anything, and if it's got a good breeze across it, then the sock will cool down to wet bulb temp (78-82 on a hot, humid day in Iowa).
But I'm not even going to guess if that's enough to actually cool the water (alot of mass there) to where we mere hoo-mans could feel it.

EDIT: I don't know weather conditions in dry states - it's possible that with 100° dry bulb and low humidity, that wet bulb could be around 60? 65? That might make a difference you could feel!
Dingman is offline  
Old 07-10-19, 04:01 PM
  #10  
berner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bristol, R. I.
Posts: 4,340

Bikes: Specialized Secteur, old Peugeot

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 661 Post(s)
Liked 490 Times in 296 Posts
Most of the heating effect on water bottles I believe is from constant warm air flowing over it. I had some wind-block fleece left over from another project and made two bottle "parkas" to keep warm air from the surface. I also freeze half the contents the night before and find I have cold drinks midsummer for an all day ride.
berner is offline  
Old 07-10-19, 09:10 PM
  #11  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,644

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3016 Post(s)
Liked 933 Times in 707 Posts
Clear, just because I like to keep track of the level. That's the only thing that really matters.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:
Old 07-11-19, 04:22 PM
  #12  
Miele Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,397

Bikes: iele Latina, Miele Suprema, Miele Uno LS, Miele Miele Beta, MMTB, Bianchi Model Unknown, Fiori Venezia, Fiori Napoli, VeloSport Adamas AX

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1209 Post(s)
Liked 773 Times in 543 Posts
When I'm doing a long ride on a hot humid day day I use Tim Horton's stainless steel thermos bottles mounted onto the main triangle of the frame. They keep the water refreshingly COLD for many, many hours. On this bicycle I have a regular water bottle mounted on the handlebar and I decant about one cup of water from the stainless steel thermos into that regular water bottle and sip from the water bottle as I ride.



Cheers
Miele Man is online now  
Old 07-12-19, 09:21 AM
  #13  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 11,692
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2130 Post(s)
Liked 534 Times in 456 Posts
Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
I've wondered for a while now if bottle color would affect water temperature on a sunny day. Has anyone looked into this? Would a white bottle stay cooler since it reflects the light rather than absorbing it, black the hottest, etc? What about the stainless bottles? Should they be the coolest if you had a mirrored surface to reflect all of the light? Though metal slides always get scorching hot in the summer, so maybe those bottles would be the hottest?
My experience riding in hot weather has shown me that darker colours are not a good idea, so only use lighter colours. How much a difference I don't know, but using the polar type ones and lighter colours makes a difference, in my opinion anyway.
djb is offline  
Old 07-12-19, 09:50 AM
  #14  
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,709

Bikes: Downtube 8H, Surly Troll

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 302 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 21 Posts
Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
When I'm doing a long ride on a hot humid day day I use Tim Horton's stainless steel thermos bottles mounted onto the main triangle of the frame. They keep the water refreshingly COLD for many, many hours. On this bicycle I have a regular water bottle mounted on the handlebar and I decant about one cup of water from the stainless steel thermos into that regular water bottle and sip from the water bottle as I ride.



Cheers
I have a double-walled, insulated growler that I use the same way. Fits perfectly in my Anything Cage and gives me a nice source of ice water on a long, hot ride. And if that long, hot ride is to the brewery, than I can refill my other water bottles from the growler and bring it home full of something tastier.
Rob_E is offline  
Likes For Rob_E:
Old 07-13-19, 02:13 PM
  #15  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 8,814

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), Cilo Road Frame, Proteus frame, Ti 26 MTB

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2457 Post(s)
Liked 1,486 Times in 992 Posts
Camelbak Podium Chill works great, but the Podium Ice is even better. Aerogel for max insulation. I don't then have to worry about color of my bottle so I can go with whatever looks good.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 07-16-19, 03:05 PM
  #16  
Mr. Wiggles
Junior Member
 
Mr. Wiggles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Chapel Hill NC
Posts: 17

Bikes: Rans Stratus - Surly Disc Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
My bottles are black. Why? Cuz I ride a “hi-viz” black Surly Disc Trucker. You can’t put a price on looking good.
Mr. Wiggles is offline  
Old 07-16-19, 03:11 PM
  #17  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 11,692
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2130 Post(s)
Liked 534 Times in 456 Posts
Originally Posted by Mr. Wiggles View Post
My bottles are black. Why? Cuz I ride a “hi-viz” black Surly Disc Trucker. You can’t put a price on looking good.
or you can do what I do, go with white bottles, and silver fenders, makes a really nice contrast.
djb is offline  
Old 07-16-19, 04:50 PM
  #18  
chrisx
Senior Member
 
chrisx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 924
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 8 Posts
Stay away from plastic, it leaches into the water in the hot sun.
chrisx is offline  
Likes For chrisx:
Old 11-03-19, 03:11 PM
  #19  
magnascott
SB Touring
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 2

Bikes: Novara Safari, Surly Disc Trucker, Vodoo Wazoo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I finally got the Velo Orange Mojave water bottle cage and use a GSI Microlite insulated bottle for long rides in the Arizona heat. Before I found the Mojave I used 2 16oz Contigo commuter mugs on shorter tours where I knew it would be no more than 20 miles between services. On longer tours (especially out West), I went back to my 1 liter Zefal bottles. The good is that they carry a fair amount of water, the bad is that within an hour or so the water in them is the same temp as the outside air temp.

Now with the Mojave I can carry 1 liter of water that will stay ice cold all day. For longer tours I use a Polar and the Microlight with a 3rd bottle just as backup (with the possibility of additional bottles in my trailer for long desert crossings). This has turned out to be a very good set up for me. I've even filled the Microlite with coffee heading into a campground and woken to still hot fresh coffee. After 20,000 miles of touring I am still dialing in my ride.
magnascott is offline  
Old 11-03-19, 03:18 PM
  #20  
DrIsotope
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 8,553

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn, Lakitu

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4900 Post(s)
Liked 1,707 Times in 949 Posts
Obviously, a white water bottle will stay cooler than a black one on any day where it's exposed to the sun. If you want the water to stay cold, insulate it. Color doesn't matter as much then.

Camelbak Podium Ice will keep water cold for 4+ hours in +100º heat, which is more than enough-- because that bottle will be empty in less than 2 hours anyway (often significantly less.)

On cooler, sub-90º days, I've still had ice in the bottom of the bottle after 6+ hours.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Old 11-03-19, 09:02 PM
  #21  
acantor
Macro Geek
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 1,360

Bikes: True North tourer (www.truenorthcycles.com), 2004; Miyata 1000, 1985

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
I've used insulated bottles, but I'm not sure they make a noticeable difference. Although it's refreshing to drink cool water on a sweltering day, my guess is that physiologically, the human body needs fluids, whether cold, cool, lukewarm, or air temperature.

Because I drink water frequently while touring, the two (or three) litres I carry usually only lasts two or three hours. Often I approach people I meet en route and ask them to refill my bottles. Most of the time, they ask whether I would like ice added, and I always say yes! After the water has warmed up, I drink it warm!
acantor is offline  
Old 11-03-19, 10:13 PM
  #22  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 13,128

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 104 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6070 Post(s)
Liked 3,226 Times in 1,864 Posts
Originally Posted by chrisx View Post
Stay away from plastic, it leaches into the water in the hot sun.
Leaches what and at what temp?
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 11-03-19, 10:38 PM
  #23  
jamawani 
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,694
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Liked 61 Times in 44 Posts
In the West you can have chilled water all day - - cheap, easily.
A wet sock not only provides evaporative cooling, but blocks the sun.
My experience is that water is up to 40 degrees cooler - i.e. chilled.
If you keep the sock wet. It's worth it.
Insulated bottles leave you about 10 ounces and cost a bundle.
Camelback water tastes like hot plastic.
I've toured with ice-cold water for 30+ years.
jamawani is offline  
Likes For jamawani:
Old 11-04-19, 05:34 AM
  #24  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 476
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 170 Post(s)
Liked 175 Times in 110 Posts
Just to muddy the waters, so to speak.

We drink to replenish water lost by sweating, so maybe drinking more is better.

Cool water is more refreshing, so one might drink less before feeling satiated.

Conversely, one might drink more, warm, unrefreshing water before feeling one had had enough.

But the coolness of the water cools us down, you say.

True enough, but the big heat absorption is in the evaporation of the water, not the tiny amount absorbed in warming up the water.

Colored bottles not only look neat, as Mr. Wiggles pointed out, they hide the mold growing in them, further contributing to aesthetic appearance.

Now we need threads on leakproofness and size of the nozzle
Pratt is offline  
Old 11-04-19, 05:17 PM
  #25  
Miele Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,397

Bikes: iele Latina, Miele Suprema, Miele Uno LS, Miele Miele Beta, MMTB, Bianchi Model Unknown, Fiori Venezia, Fiori Napoli, VeloSport Adamas AX

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1209 Post(s)
Liked 773 Times in 543 Posts
I think that perhaps the darker the colour of the water bottle the faster the water in it might heat up. I had a white water bottle that the water in it got so hot on a long hot ride that I was able to brew green ta in it. Now I use the silver stainless steel water holders I got from Tim Horton's a number of years ago. They keep my water very cold for an all day ride in summer even when it's hot and humid. They do NOT keep things hot for very many hours during my winter ides though.



Cheers
Miele Man is online now  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Tony_G
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
20
11-07-19 06:56 PM
Facanh
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
10
08-25-18 03:01 PM
wingless
Manufacturer, Retailer, Survey and Consumer Feedback
2
11-19-17 07:52 PM
mattgmann
Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg)
18
06-16-13 02:52 PM
ullearn
Touring
43
02-14-11 04:33 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.