Hydration Review: Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus
Okay, so I bought a new handheld running water bottle from Ultimate Direction. They are my favorite brand for hydration gear thus far (yes, topping Camelbak) and I must give them props.
Initial Thoughts: I’m used to running with a hydration pack (the UD Wink) so running with something attached to my hand was weird initially. The extra weight of the bottle meant that I swung that arm less, but my body compensated through extra hip motion. The sloshing of my remaining water by the end of the run was tiring (and kinda made me wanna pee), but I could jam my ipod in the carrying pocket and tune out the noise. I’d tried running with a recyclable water bottle before, and my hand got very tired clutching the top. Here, I could move my hand a myriad of ways with the strap tight over it and a) not drop the damn thing b) not tire out my hand. My forearm got a good workout from carrying this, much more than my upper arm muscles or shoulder. If you’re concerned about running with something strapped to your hand—try it out with a regular bottle. If the weight doesn’t hinder your gait too much, then definitely try one!
So.. What’s It Good For?: Do you want extra carrying space if your lady shorts don’t have pockets? Check. Are you running for over an hour and need water, but not too much? Check. I don’t think I’d bring it for runs under 8 miles, the extra effort of strapping it on there would not be worth my time for the very small amount I’d end up drinking. However, if I’m going 10 on a trail with no fountains, it ends up being quite handy.
What About Other Brands?: I like UD for their unique “nipples,” actually. I’m just going to enjoy saying that.
This bottle has the unique feature where you pull up the nipple to drink, and either suck or squeeze (TWSS?). You don’t even have to fiddle with it popping back into place, because hitting the nipple from any angle will cause it to re-collapse into a leak-proof position. The nipple is firm enough that it only collapses when you are intending it to, which is very convenient. Furthermore, there are some nice hand-dynamic grooves on the sides that help with your grip. I don’t have a particularly large hand (even for my height) so I would suggest that the size would be comfortable for smaller women and men alike.
This bottle surely has a lot of plus features, which is why I enjoyed it (it is the fastdraw plus). With a pricepoint of $20 US I was ecstatic. Packs can run for much more ($40-70) and leave you carrying more stuff than you needed for a run that doesn’t need a whole gallon of water strapped to you. This provides me with enough water to get through a “short” run on a hot summer day without feeling dehydrated, ever.
FitSugar wrote a review of other water bottles, some of them have specific containers to load gu into so you can shoot it into your mouth—I thought that was neat, but would probably be the worst thing ever to try and clean. I have not been impressed with Nike running gear beyond apparel and some shoe types thus far, but feel free to try it. If you don’t like UD, I’d recommend the Nathan brand. Their waist-packs with the little water hand grenades are very popular.
Holding something while running is less annoying than previously thought.
Sloshing can be annoying, but also a good metronome for pace.. or just wear your ipod.
Price: $20 US, not bad. About the same for other brands with similar features.
Extras: Nice big pocket can hold gu, ipod, keys, and my IDs. Verrry nice. Hand grooves where you need them for easy gripping; easy time returning the drinking nipple to leak-proof position; and the hand-strap was comfortable and did not dig or loosen spontaneously.
Good for medium runs over an hour, or very hot summer runs.