HydraPak's new pocket-friendly SoftFlask collapsible water bottle
The SoftFlask is a collapsible, reusable water bottle that won an ISPO Award
While water bottles are great for staying hydrated, they aren't so great once you're hydrated and they're empty. Lugging an empty bottle around is rarely convenient, especially if you're doing something athletic like running – and there isn't always a recycling bin or garbage can around to ditch it in. HydraPak's new SoftFlask helps get the empty water bottle out of your way by collapsing into a tiny package.
Hydrapak's older generation of SoftFlask bottles was designed for energy gels, with the soft-sided construction acting like a tube of toothpaste in squeezing the gel out. The latest iteration of the SoftFlask applies that soft-sided construction to a hard-bottomed water bottle.
The soft body collapses into a package that could fit in a standard pants pocket (though not the tiny key pockets on some running shorts). So when you're finished drinking, you can collapse the bottle and get it out of your way. If you don't have a pocket, you can also carry it with the included hand straps, which sound similar to Salomon's.
The design is similar to the Bubi bottle that hit the market recently, but it comes in a sport-specific design, as well as a lifestyle version. The Sport 0.35- and 0.5-liter (12- and 17-ounce) models include a large-diameter cap with shut-off valve and hand straps.
The bottles do look easier to carry than average water bottles, but it's strange how they use such a large bottom for a design meant to collapse. The design could also benefit from a depressing drink valve, similar to the blow valves used on some inflatables. If you're going to collapse, why not make it as flat as possible?
HydraPak won an ISPO Award for its design and plans to get the 0.35 and 0.5-liter bottles to market by the Northern Hemisphere summer. They'll retail for US$24 and $26, respectively.
About the Author
Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
All articles by C.C. Weiss
I use old pop bottles. It doesn't take much of a string to hold an empty over my shoulder.
Where are you going to put this empty blob while running? Fanny Pack, pocket, on a string?
All these "solutions" suck. They don't solve the problem of having to carry something that isn't going to bug the crap out of you as your pushing over the hump.
I get it - there's no magic that will make water appear and disappear at your command so you have to carry unless you've got a well planned route of laden with water fountains, etc. - Just don't tell me that carrying a lumpy collapsed blob is any different than carrying any other empty bottle. There's no difference at all.
I hiked the Grand Canyon with something like this hanging from my belt filled with lemon lime Gatorade. I told my Registered Nurse hiking companion that I was gonna chose a different flavor next time. "Yeah", she said "It looks like a leg bag."
I hope it works better than the Eddie Bauer version.
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