A couple of weeks ago at the Running Awards do those of us at the blogger’s get together were given a doozey of a goody bag. It included everything from hydration products to kinesio tape to some very snazzy running lights which I am looking forward to trying the next time it’s dark when I run (a few months to go then!).
Unfortunately it being the Thursday before the marathon (nothing new on race day) and with most of the products being useful for decent length runs (give me a couple of weeks!) I haven’t been able to try most of them out just yet.
The one I have tried is this rather snazzy looking Quick Stow Flask from Camelback.
I’m a big fan of Camelbak products in general. They’re always good quality and if you’ve ever suffered the unpleasant sensation of a leaking hydration pack slowly soaking through your tights for the duration of a long run, you’ll know how much quality counts for this sort of kit. I’ve used a small 1.5l hydration pack and backpack for my last two rounds of marathon training and I wouldn’t be without it – it’s awesome.
However I was a little bit confused by this particular product because at first glance I couldn’t tell if it was for use during runs or not. At 500ml it’s a sensible enough size but there was no obvious way to stow the Stow Flask on the go.
The blurb on the actual Camelbak website reads as follows:
Stash it in your running vest, belt, or even in the palm of your hand. This lightweight, collapsible flask features our classic one-piece silicone bite valve for rapid hydration on race day, and packs down easily once it’s empty. We designed the Quick Stow to fit easily in the front compartments of all of our running vests. Once it’s empty, it folds down small enough to fit in your pocket. The Quick Stow conveniently holds 500 ml (17 oz) of water.
So that answers that. It is intended to work with Camelbak running vests, but since I don’t have one of those and it wouldn’t fit with any of my own hydration belts I can’t really say how it works on the run. (Update: Camelbak have since told me that it is designed for use with their 2017 Circuit Vest, Ultra Pro Vest and Ultra Belt)
The rest of the claims hold true.
On the morning of the London Marathon I had decided I was going to take just a small bottle of water to avoid the temptation of drinking too much. When I was packing my race bag on the Saturday I thought it would be more environmentally friendly of me to part fill the Quick Stow Flask and take that instead. The one thing I didn’t factor in was that since I wanted to keep the flask I had to hand it in with my kit bag…and therefore had no water in the start pen when I had my little hayfever related choking fit…but that’s not Camelbak’s fault!
Anyway I liked taking it along for pre-race hydration – it stopped me drinking too much, it’s less bulky than a plastic water bottle and it’s super, super leak resistant. I’ve tried several times now to get it to leak and no can do. It made it from Greenwich to the Mall with all my other kit, and there were no soggy spare socks to be seen. The lack of leakage seems to be partly because of the bite valve and partly because it has a really strong off and on twizzley bit (NB – it’s possible that’s not the technical term).
On the other hand, you do have to either hold it up or really give it a good squeeze to drink from it. I find drinking on the run easy but I know lots of people don’t, and I think it might be just a bit tricky to use on the go.
Other features I like are the fact that it packs down so beautifully when empty – it really squishes down to a very small size and is very light, and the fact it breaks down into sensible parts for cleaning it properly.
It’s also dishwasher safe. There’s a certain satisfaction to be had with cleaning out the tube of your large hydration pack with one of those really long bottle brushes and seeing how much ick and single cell lifeforms have built up, but on the whole I really hate doing the washing up so dishwasher safety is a big plus.
Something else that’s a really good feature is the size of the bottle neck. It’s large enough to add ice to it for a hot day, or to include your preferred electrolyte sachet or tab. You’ll have to hold it up while it fizzes away though, or do what I do and make it in a glass first and pour it in – the neck is plenty wide enough to pour into without faffing about with a funnel.
Does What it Claims? Yes for general use and pre-race hydration, but I don’t think I’ll take it on the run. I’m sure it will work with a Camelbak vest if you have one though. 8/10
Update: Camelbak have since told me that it is designed for use with their 2017 Circuit Vest, Ultra Pro Vest and Ultra Belt and at least two fellow bloggers (Roger at irunoffroad and Carl at BigCarlRunning) have said they’ve used it on the run and loved it.
Useful for Runners? Yes. Really good for avoiding wasting plastic bottles and packs down nicely in your kit bag when it’s empty. 8/10
Value for Money? Not bad at all. It’s online in various places for around the £17 – £20 mark. If you think a new bottle of water would be over a quid a go each time and this is less wasteful for Camelbak quality, that’s fair. 8/10
Will I keep Using It? Yes, I’ll use it for pre-race, spectating, and chucking in my bag for riding the Tube in the summer.