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On days when the mercury threatens to crack out of the thermometer, hydration becomes more important than ever. To keep the effects of high heat at bay, it is important to drink early and often. And it is also essential to keep your drink of choice refreshingly cold.
While we’ve been in the throes of a heatwave here at our Southern California headquarters, we’ve been testing the Elite Nanofly insulated bottle’s chops against some truly hot days that have broken into the 100 degrees Fahrenheit range. This is Elite’s top-level thermal bottle, which claims to keep liquids cold for an impressive four hours. Thanks to a material developed over several years with multiple Italian universities, this is also the brand’s lightest thermal bottle, weighing a claimed 109 grams—though our sample came in at 119 grams.
Where this bottle sets itself apart from other insulated bottles is its feel. The thermal material offers a soft touch and is less rigid than other thermal bottles, letting you better modulate how much water you drink with each swig. The bottle also features a great fit with most bottle cages, staying securely in place, especially in Elite’s own bottle cages.
The Nanofly is also slightly shorter than other thermal bottles in our arsenal, which is a plus for smaller riders who have less space in the front triangle for bottles. But to keep a smaller profile than other insulated bottles, the Nanofly sacrifices a little bit of volume, holding 500mL instead of the 550mL on the non-thermal Elite Fly bottle.
Elite calls the Nanofly the world’s lightest thermal bottle. While not onerously hefty, at 119 grams the Nanofly bottle still weighs in at approximately twice the non-thermal Fly bottle. After spending so much to shave grams elsewhere on your bike, you wouldn’t want to add an additional 120 grams to your bike with a couple of these bottles unless the weather forecast justifies it. But on those days where you really need to stay cool, it’s nice to be able to pull one or two of these bottles out of the cupboard.
To see exactly what this bottle can do, we put it through pretty extreme conditions. After filling it with cool water from a tap, we left it outside on concrete in direct sunlight in 102 degrees F. heat (it rose to 106 F by the conclusion of the test). After two hours, the water was still cool, nearly as cold as the start. By hour three, the water was getting warm but still drinkable. At about the three and a half hour mark, the water finally felt too warm, like a bottle that had been left in a hot car for hours.
Most likely, you won’t be riding directly in the sun for very long in that kind of heat, so that performance is easily on the extreme end. We repeated the test in more comfortable 86 degree F. conditions and found the water didn’t start to feel warm until the four-hour mark—which is in keeping with Elite’s claims. For comparison, an non-insulated Elite Fly bottle in the same conditions lasts about 90 minutes before starting to feel a little warm. And when compared with other insulated bottles, the Nanofly keeps drinks noticeably cooler after the two hour mark.
In the middle of a heatwave at our testing location, this bottle has been a lifesaver. Its performance has been very impressive, keeping water cooler for longer than we even want to be out in the heat, and outlasting other insulated bottles. But at $40, it is expensive. (For comparison the regular Elite Fly bottle is just $9). However, if you live in a perpetually warm location, it could be worth every penny.