Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ultimate Direction: The Body Bottle (Review)

I've been running with a Scott Jurek Endure (REVIEW) hydration belt for the last couple of years. It comes with two 10oz bottles and a pocket with enough storage capacity for about four Hammer Gels (REVIEW). This belt is perfect for 25k runs like the Hyner Challenge (RACE REPORT) or Green Monster (RACE REPORT), as well as longer supported or looped training runs with access to aid every hour or two. I even wore it last October for a 50k trail run (RACE REPORT). The Scott Jurek Endure has been a trusty, comfortable partner on the trails for me, and will continue to be my go to hydration system for most runs. That said, as my runs and races stretch out over more miles with and or increased distance and time between aid, it has become apparent that the Endure just doesn’t have quite enough oomph to get the job done.

Enter the Ultimate Direction - AK Race Vest 2.0 (REVIEW PENDING).
 
I've been an admirer of Anton Krupicka's no-frills, minimalist philosophy for several years, but not so much a fan of running packs in general. Just a few years ago all back packs relied on bladders, which not only take up storage space, but require the wearer to remove the pack in order to refill. The font bottle holsters, though not unique to Ultimate Direction products, just make better sense to me. The bottles are easier to reach, refill, and are positioned in a relatively stable part of the body.

So I got my Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0, but it was immediately clear that, while otherwise comfortable, the bottles that came with it from the factory were not going to cut it: difficult to get in and out of the holsters, pressed too hard against the chest when the pack is tightened, too stiff and difficult to squeeze water out of, too much sloshing when the bottles are not completely full.

So as an alternative to the 20 ounce factory bottles I ordered two Ultimate Direction: The Body Bottle soft flask bottles to replace them.

Features:


  • Clear - you can see how much fluid is left
  • Collapsible - is only as large as the liquid being carried
  • Pliable - conforms to any shape
  • Cleanable - can be placed in dishwasher
  • Hi-Flow Bite Valve

Weight:
1.08 oz / 30g

Fluid Capacity:
14.2 oz / 420 mL

Material:
BPA-Free TPU

Compared to the 20 ounce bottles that come in the AK Race Vest 2.0, the Body Bottles are 14.2 ounces, slide easily in and out of the holsters, feel comfortable against the chest area, and slosh considerably less.

Durability level remains to seen, but they appear to be made of the same, or similar material as a typical hydration bladder. The bottles have a tapered shape, larger at the top than bottom, and harder material near the top to make it easier to twist the cap on and off. Water is released from a bite valve, and because the entire bottle is a flexible material it is far easier to take a drink from than attempting to squeeze liquid out of a rigid hard bottle.


My only gripe is that I wish they were a little larger. 14.2 ounces is a step up from the 10 ounce bottles on my hydration belt, but smaller than the 20 ounce bottles the packs were designed to carry. Admittedly there are probably 20 ounce soft flask bottles available from other companies, and that’s something I’ll certainly be looking into. Still, 28.4 ounces isn’t bad and should be adequate for many situations, and its easy enough to throw another handheld in the pack if necessary.


1 comment:

  1. I realise this is a 2 yr old post, but will those soft bottles fit into the Endure?

    ReplyDelete