So with all the cross training I’ve done lately, I have been spending a lot more time in the gym and a lot less time on the road than I am accustomed to. A side result of this is that my ability to review running related items has been hampered, but this product is still particularly applicable, and it’s actually forced me to look at things through a slightly different perspective, which I believe is a good thing.
The next product review I have on deck for you is actually a nutrition solution from Hydrapak. I have reviewed one of their hydration backpacks previously HERE, and I am a big fan of it, so I was going into this hopeful that that same quality/ functionality will carry over into this new product.
While the backpack is ideal for long runs and bike rides, if I’m going out for a 3-6 mile run, I just don’t need a half gallon of water. I’m the poster boy for proper hydration and have a higher tolerance than most for gear and what is acceptable for any given circumstance, but even for me some things are overkill. There needs to be a solution for the shorter runs where you should still be running with water (you should always be running with water) but you don’t need to be prepared to cross the sahara to rock out your local 5K or your regular wed morning tempo run.
With that in mind, hydrapak makes a full line of water bottles and accessories in addition to their hydration packs. I have been provided one such accessory in the Hydapak Soft Flask to use and review for you today.Short summary: This is a no frills silicone pouch made to hold energy gels with a bite nozzle. (but it’s never just the short summary with me, is it?)
Like I said above, this is a bare bones, no frills apparatus. Basically it’s a silicone bag with a nozzle on the end. There are thing I like and then some things that not as much. The basic premise of this is that it’s specially designed to hold your energy gels (I use GU and Hammer brand gels) while running or biking. I was provided a 5 oz Soft Flask which in theory can hold up to 4 gels with a little room to spare. The big idea here is that it works like a toothpaste tube with a bite valve, as you empty the bag it collapses on itself and there is no mess/ waste.
This is actually a huge positive for me, as there is no fumbling (or thinking) involved in the process, no fighting with the foil gel packets while on the move, just stick the nozzle in your mouth, bite down, and you’re good to go. Another huge plus is that there is no resulting used foil packet with residual gel to be thrown aside (littered), or jammed in your pocket to inevitably leak the remaining contents and get the inside of whatever pocket you jam it into all covered in sticky nastiness. The Softflask collapses on itself and becomes smaller as you empty it out. And then can be stuffed in a pocket, with a sticky nastiness free level of confidence. It’s substantial in size, but small enough to fit into a sport belt or pocket without being too much of a distraction.
As for negatives, there are 2 things that I have found while using it that may be problematic to some. The first is the advantage to the foil packets is that they are pre-measured and ready to go. You just tear it open and don’t have to worry about if you are taking too much/ not enough, you just suck it down and keep going. Not so with the SoftFlask. Since it is designed to hold multiple gels, you have to be cognizant of how much you are taking, or you risk sucking down the equivalent of a double gel dose accidentally (like I did the first time I used it) Not terrible, just something to be aware of. The other drawback is what I perceive as being the biggie. I have tried this flask with both GU Brand and Hammer Brand energy Gels, and both were too thick to get through the nozzle as is. I actually had to dilute them to the point of putting 2-3 gels into the flask and then filling the rest with water to get them to the point where I could use it without issue. So while the flask could technically hold up to 4 gels and be a complete solution for an entire Half Marathons worth of fuel, it is now relegated to hold 2-3 watered down/ diluted gels. This does make the “portion size” issue I mentioned a moment ago much more manageable, and while I don’t mind it at all, if you don’t like the thinned out gels then this is a deal breaker. I tried it with 2 Peanut Butter GU gels and while definitely thinner in consistency, the flavor and texture were still good. Not a deterrent for me at all, and I do kind of like that it’s not as thick as I’m eating it. (Drinking it? Whatever you do with gels) The same with Raspberry Hammer Gel. Thinner by design so it flows through the nozzle easily, but it is still decidedly “gel” and retains the flavor and consistency very well. This can also be a big money saver for me, as I know that Hammer Gel comes in bulk sizes so I can just buy myself a big jug of it and then use the flask as opposed to the individual packets (which are 1.40 each –when a 26 serving jug will run you $20, per the company’s website) It’s totally a personal preference thing and like I said, for me it’s a great solution. And seriously, for under $10 it’s worth a shot to see if you like it.
**You can check out the promo video for the Soft Flask HERE.
I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.
One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.
**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**
Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.
**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**