Nathan Sports (Link) has been producing some of the best endurance athlete products for years. They were among the first to espouse the “vest” hydration systems and leading the field in getting athlete feedback regarding their products. The Quickdraw bottle has been a favorite of many runners for years and the 2013 has some updates.
-22 oz Nathal TruFlex Bottle (BPA Free)
-Zipper 4.75″ x 2.75″ as gel pocket / or smart phone pocket
-Adjustable mesh hand strap
-design allows for alternative hand positioning
I ran a few times with the bottle on runs ranging from 5-8 miles and it held up fine. For American River 50 I would be using one handheld between aid stations and rotating them, I knew that using the bottle for the race would give me a real sense of its ability and put it through its paces.
First of all the nozzle portion of the bottle is stellar. It is easy to use, can be operated one handed and you do not run the risk of knocking your teeth out. I like the oversize-ness of it so operation is not a delicate procedure but rather a functional one. However, I did realize I was needing to tighten the hand strap more often. The bottle would loosen up on the run. The reason for this may be the reflective tape, a mix os sweat and pressure may have simply been too much; should not be but it is.
|Sprint EVO 4G LTE fit nicely inside the pocket|
|Note the reflective tape which may be the cause of the slipping|
Additionally the plastic bottle itself was smooth which felt odd with sweaty palms. I know that it is being nit picky, but the sliding feeling was unwelcome, especially coupled with the fact the handheld loosened up meaning I had to now grip this sweaty bottle that had no grooves and was too slick for my liking.
The pocket is as advertised, “huge.” The pocket easily fit 4-5 gels (depending on brand). However the bottom portion of the pocket, which is what will take the load of whatever you are carrying is a very thin mesh. I understand the need for this material since the pocket needs to expand, but the location of it baffles me. As you can see in the picture below it is not hard to imagine a gel cutting right through this thing and ruining it. The mesh expands all around the base, so sowing it when it rips may prove to be a awkward and maybe just impossible.
|thin mesh and gel dangerously close to ripping through it|
TruFlex Bottle’s nozzle – delivers a ton of fluid quickly and is soft enough to use one handed, i.e. you can open it with your teeth and not worry about knocking yourself out.
Hand positioning is great, allows the thumb a place rest and allowing for a natural feel
The mesh bottom of the pocket feels cheap, and would rip quickly with too much pressure
The bottle loosens up while running, forcing you to adjust
Bottle is slippery and uncomfortable when coupled with the looseness of the handheld
I like the concept and I really wanted to like the bottle, but the cons outweigh the use. If it were simply a slipping issue or a bottle issue I could deal. Those problems along with the red flags of possibly tearing the mesh from the pocket (i.e. the purpose of the bottle itself) are just not worth it. Therefore I am returning them and getting something else.