Not every sports gear manufacturer has the best interests of athletes in mind when they design new products. Some are focused on making money. Others are obsessed with building brand awareness. But I’ve found a company as eager to keep athletes healthy as it is about its corporate consciousness: HydraPak.
I’ve given up using bulky, uncomfortable, environmentally-damaging hydration accessories and abandoned wasteful bottled water in favour of three HydraPak products that are so discreet, I hardly know I’m carrying them when I run. Why is this matter important to me? If you’re concerned about staving off sports-related dehydration, read my story!
I Nearly Ruined My Own Health
I’m not the only runner who became obsessed with hydration after my carelessness landed me in hospital less than half way through a 21km on a sultry Singapore day. Instead of stopping for water or carrying it with me, I thought my pre-race preparation adequate; that I had taken in enough fluid to keep me going so I could skip porta-john queues and make the PB I had set for myself.
Besides, I don’t run very well with sloshing, bulky bottled water, canteens and other gear supposedly made to quench my thirst on the go. I figured I could push through the heat—even as my mouth got dry, my head started to spin and my heart raced.
Next thing I knew, I was looking into the face of a medic. Did I learn my lesson? What do you think?
A Company That Prides Itself on Being “All Wet”!
Given my newfound concern about hydrating my body, I wanted to take responsibility for my well-being and plan for the extreme: events where either water isn’t available (on the trail, for example) or marathon hydration stations that run out of water before my arrival.
While browsing the Internet, I found HydraPak, a company also obsessed with “creating better hydration solutions for performance-driven people.”
Their commitment appealed to me, and since HydraPak has been around for almost 20 years, I figured that my kidneys and I had found a friend, so I immediately purchased the three items I’m about to describe to you.
HydraPak Speed Cup
Will it get you to the finish line faster than another vessel? Probably not, but this collapsible cup is light, has a secure grip and it’s re-useable, so if you happen to choose “cupless” racing events or seek a super stashable fold-down, get yourself a HydraPak Speed Cup and tuck it into any port your running ensemble offers.
The Speed Cup can be personalised, so if you’re a member of a running club, training team or if the office mates with whom you run like the idea of 100-percent BPA and PVC-free matching fold-down cups, it won’t cost much to have names, a logo or anything else you desire embellished on them to build team spirit.
HydraPak 1.5L Elite Reservoir
Love magicians? Then you will agree with me that the ability to “turn any pack into a hydration machine” qualifies as gear you want to own — especially if you’re a trail runner who must always prepare for the long haul.
Narrow, flexible and sturdy, the Elite Reservoir never met a running vest it couldn’t snuggle up to, and since the slide top opening is wide, you won’t stand around waiting for it to fill up so you can get going again.
What makes the Elite — well, elite? It’s the only fully-reversible reservoir on the market. Hands-free hydration changed for me the day I adopted this unit with its proprietary features that include a Slide-seal Top, Blaster Valve (just twist to shut it off), Plug-N-Play Connector and magnetic Quantum Clip fastener.
Stow warm or freezing water with no worries about adverse material issues since this unit is reversible for fast drying and the material repels bacteria and mould. The reservoir’s lifetime guarantee means you may grow too old to run long before this hydration aid gives out!
HydraPak UltraFlask XL
Carry it or tuck it into a pocket. Just don’t leave home without it! I love the way this 20-ounce vessel conforms to any pocket and no worries about annoying sloshing because this flask literally shrinks every time I sip from the mouth bite valve. I freeze water and allow it to melt away as I undertake long runs.
Despite the fact that I’ve dropped my UltraFlask XL and abused it, it shows no sign of wear, and I like knowing that it’s 100-percent BPA and PVC-free. I put it into my dishwasher’s top rack when it needs a good wash.
I Agree with the Critics
When “Women’s Health” magazine bestowed its 2015 Fitness Awards Best Water Bottle honours upon the precursor of the Ultra Flask XL (called the SoftFlask), it was only a matter of time before a second generation came along to try and outrun the SoftFlask. The UltraFlask XL does just that. It’s bigger. Better.
I tried hard to find negative things to write about it and the other two HydraPak accessories profiled here, but I’m afraid I failed. These three items can mean the difference between passing on and passing out. I know. I’ve been there and done that.
Have you ever put your health in jeopardy by refusing to take proper hydration precautions when undertaking a long run or marathon? Tell us your story so we can share your wisdom.