Friday, July 1, 2011

Product Review: Hydrapak Gel-Bot

I had just enough time yesterday to squeeze in a 10mi tempo run close to home.  It was seriously hot outside, and if it hadn't been for a blessing of a breeze I would have opted for a night run.  I actually like the heat, but I get a claustrophobic feeling when I'm hot and things are sticking to my body, so I go minimalist.   I had no interest in putting on a hydration backpack, and no place to secure my gels, so it was the perfect day to take my new Gel-Bot on its maiden voyage.

The Hydrapak Gel-Bot is a clever way to carry your water and your gel together.  No stashing, no sticking, no trash, nada.  Genious.

This is how it works.  There is an inner chamber (orange in this picture) that holds the gel.  I fit exactly two GU packets in there.  The inner gel chamber then attaches to the lid, and you fill the bottle with water as you normally would (leaving a little room for the displacement when the gel chamber and lid are put back on).  Voila, you're out the door with all you need in one hand.

When the nozzle is pulled open, you get water only.  To get the gel, just leave the nozzle closed, and give the bottle a squeeze while you suck. 

While not readily apparent in the picture, I should also note that the neck of the bottle has two deep notches making it comfortable to grip for extended periods, even for small (female) hands. 

When I first saw this product, I had two areas of skepticism.  (This is where you can tell I'm a mom).  
1)  I thought that I would put two gels in, and actually only be able to get about 1.5 out, due to chamber inefficiency.  In other words, waste. 
2)  I assumed it would be a hassle to clean properly. 

Hydrapak clearly thought through these issues in their design process, because neither issue proved problematic.  You can see to the left there is a (green) pressure plunger that moves up the chamber as you suck out the gel (much like deodorant, except it is happening automatically).  So when you have eaten all of your gel, the plunger is at the top, you have consumed every last drop of it, and it is a piece of cake to wash up from both sides.   Hallelujah.
The Hydrapak Gel-Bot is available in two sizes:  20oz for $13.99, and 24oz for $14.99.

Lori Lyons

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