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Hands-on Gear Review
Contigo Thermalock Glacier Review
Cons: Lid design is confusing, mouthpiece in center of lid is difficult to drink from
Bottom line: The Thermalock Glacier is a insulated bottle designed specifically for keeping drinks cold, and thus has a wide mouth to make filling with ice easier.
The Contigo Thermalock Glacier lies somewhere between an insulated thermos and a daily water bottle. Contigo markets this product to keep heat out and cool drinks in, but the bottle can be used the other way as well — keeping hot drinks warm for long periods of time. Much like the Avex Brazos Autoseal, the Contigo is easy to clean and does not retain flavors, making it a great vessel for sports drinks or iced tea. Similar to the Avex, the lid is overly complicated and has many plastic parts that seemed excessive and prone to failure.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
New Colors for 2017
We contacted Contigo directly about the new look, and they confirmed that these were purely cosmetic changes. You can still expect the same functionality that we detail below, now available in either Monaco Blue or Radiant Orchid Pink, seen below. We've updated the photo above, as well, but the black pictured in our hands-on testing photos is no longer available.
The Thermalock Glacier is designed for hot summer days where you want you cold drinks to last longer than five minutes in the sun. The lid is meant to be removed to put ice in or fill easily and the bottle itself is vacuum insulated.
Ease of Use
There is a trend in water bottle design to solve a few long-standing problems that occur when drinking out of a bottle. Water bottle companies have been working to eliminate the issue of spillage when drinking out of widemouth bottles and they are also trying to figure out how to make one-handed drinking (think driving or walking) easier.
The Glacier's answer to these issues is a push button that opens the lid, with a large hole in the center of the lid to drink from. The issue here is that the hole is in the middle of the lid, instead of on the side, making it awkward to actually drink out of. The carrying handle is another component of this lid that is not ideally placed. It flips out of the outside of the lid when the lid is opened but is not an ergonomic shape for carrying with one hand. The Avex Brazos Autoseal also has a plastic cap, but it is smaller and sleeker, making it a preferred version of the Thermalock Glacier. Another solution to the drink-on-the-go question is the Yeti Rambler which has an extra wide mouth, ensuring easy sipping.
Like most of the insulated contenders we tested, such as the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Insulated or the Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated, the Glacier's body is quite durable and did well in our drop tests - earning a 7 out of 10. There was little damage done to the body when dropped from a height onto concrete. The lid however, has a number of hinges and plastic parts that are susceptible to breakage. The bottles with fewer moving parts, like the Hydro Flask or Klean Kanteen Classic and Klean Kanteen Insulated, did better overall in durability because they had fewer weak points where breaks could occur.
Ease of Cleaning
The Thermalock is easy to clean, only taking a few minutes with a bottle brush to clean out the inside. The lid is also relatively easy to clean, considering the complexity of its design. The wide mouth on the spout is easier to clean than the narrow sipping feature on the Avex Brazos and the Glacier took home a 7 out of 10 in this metric. Bottles like the Hydro Flash and Nalgene Wide-Mouth had a wider mouth and thus, were easier to clean.
At 12 oz, the Thermalock Glacier is comparable in weight to the Klean Kanteen Stainless models. All of these bottles are proving that just because it's made of metal, it doesn't mean it has to be bulky and cumbersome; all of these competitors are sleek and lightweight. They are also relatively small, so they though they are light, they do not have a very large carrying capacity. The lightest bottle in our test was the Platypus Softbottle, followed by the Nalgene Wide-Mouth and Klean Kanteen Classic, with the Nalgene Wide-Mouth being the lightest and highest performing of the three.
Of all the metric ratings, the Thermalock performed best in the taste category. The bottle took on different flavored beverages and was able to shed their tastes with one quick wash between uses, earning an 8 out of 10. The plastic of the lid is simple, so flavors don't get stuck in nooks and crannies, like they did with the Avex Autoseal. For a natural taste experience, the Hydro Flask, Lifefactory, bkr glass, and Soma bottle offered up the best results.
With its vacuum insulated design, the Thermalock Glacier can hold both hot and cold liquids. On their website, Contigo sells this model as a bottle that is specifically designed for keeping drinks cold rather than hot. We did find that the large, central spout on the lid makes drinking water with ice easier, because the ice doesn't come rushing up toward your mouth when you lift the bottle. For hot drinks, the bottle also works well as the mouth of the bottle is plastic and does not hold heat like the Klean Kanteen models do. This is a good bottle for tea or a cold drink, but since it is so small, it is not ideal as your only hydration source for the day.
At $30, this competitor is fairly expensive for the features it provides. Though it is insulated, the lid design is complicated and has many features that are subject to wearing out quickly. Also, because it is only designed for cold drinks, it is not as versatile as a Klean Kanteen or Hydro Flask - if you are looking for an insulated bottle.
Because of its many parts, (mainly the push button flip lid, with multiple hinges) the Thermalock Glacier received low scores in the ease-of-use and durability metrics. The bottle itself is durable and works very well to keep liquids cold or hot, but the lid lacked functionality.
— Jane Jackson
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