Sunday, July 10, 2011
Gear Review: Nathan 22oz. QuickDraw Plus handheld
Ever since I began running competitively a couple of years ago, I've experimented with many different hydration solutions. With the vast array of options that are in the marketplace now, there is a solution to most any hydration need. Since your choice of hydration solution will primarily depend upon the distance you will be covering on the run, planning is key here.
For this review, I'm going to cover one of my true "go-to" handheld systems.
The Nathan 22oz. QuickDraw Plus:
In general, most handhelds will allow you to carry anywhere from 10 - 22oz of fluid. The 10oz bottle varieties typically go on a hydration belt in either two or four-bottle configurations. I've used a four bottle config for a few years now, but I just don't like the weight around my hips that this type of pack embodies.
I think the nicest thing about the Nathan QuickDraw handheld is that it has a nice cinch-strap that allows you to really lock it down around your hand so that holding it doesn't require active effort. It literally "holds" onto your hand. Also, the small pocket is pretty nice for storing your car key, a debit card and small cell phone (no iPhones or Droid X's in here).
As I have been training for my upcoming 50 miler in October, I've really been trying to reach a decision on what type of hydration system I'm going to use on race day. I had originally decided that a Camelbak-type bladder system would be the way I would go, primarily because of the abundance of fluid I could carry on the run. Hydration is key in any race, but an ultramarathon takes it to a new level.
The problem with the back-mounted bladder systems is one of weight. The unit I will be using during April's 100 miler carries approximately 2 liters of fluid. Over the course of a marathon or even 50k, that weight is not insignificant. Over the course of 50 or 100 miles, it's massive. However, the benefit of having fluids at all times during the race is paramount, so the weight is just part of playing in the game.
All in all, the QuickDraw Plus is perfect for your runs (road or trail) in which you need to carry your own fluid or when the weather is hot and/or humid. I have two of the QuickDraw handhelds, and they are adequate to get me through a 2-3 hour training run in the southern 95 degree summertime. They're also reasonably priced at around $15-$20 each.