Monday, April 21, 2014

NATHAN™s Tri Series GEAR UP AND GO Hydration, Nutrition, Transport- Solutions Cool Spring Gear Part 2

AP Pro Aerobar Hydration System, Hyper SpeedFeed Nutrition Box,  QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask, Haul-It All Bag, Lock Laces REVIEW

Triathlon training-like golf-are athletic endeavors we spend a lot of time (and $) on…and are also activities where the amateurs can compete on the same courses as professional athletes (neat!).
... Or even with the pros -at some competitions.

So we understand why many amateur athletes identify with the competitors who earn cash from races-and have to have the 'stuff'' the pros wear-from the performance apparel--- to the gear they swim, bike, run- or swing with. The entire endorsement industry is bulging with athletes contracted as brand representatives.

However, we barely pay attention to what the professionals are wearing/using-because we are not professionals even though in our minds anyway-we're skilled amateurs at the aforementioned sports.

Point being-we don't care who endorses it----"it"-preferably priced in our budget, something we don't need to pay someone to install/figure out…and of course- has to work for us.

We summarized NATHAN™Sports reflective portable hydration solutions- a few months back but this week actually got to review some affordable selections from their Tri Series for hydration, and eating on the go.

Even judging by the pictures on the website-we could tell that a lot of thought went into every product… and immensely practical designs popped off the screen-no matter where we clicked.

AND when we got the AP Pro Aerobar Hydration System, the Hyper SpeedFeed Nutrition Box, and the QuickShot Plus Insulated Flask to try out in real life-we knew straight away-that all three were superior to what we have been using instead, and that clearly there was serious athletic input into these highly engineered products…in this case-pro triathlete Andy Potts ---a guy we actually have heard of.

First off, the easy to install AP PRO AEROBAR HYDRATION SYSTEM.

Efficient and easy…24oz size (710 mL)-positioning is ideal-no rattling at all…and the streamlined shaped bottle sits  a tiny bit-slightly lower in aero bars than what we have used before-probably more aero.
There are multiple reasons why this easy to sip, clean, fill on the go, BPA free- turbo shaped hydration system is superior to every other way to carry water---enabling triathletes to "stay tucked, stay fast, stay hydrated."

These circular clips click easily onto aero bars-can be angled too--- four attachments-the patent pending "Articulation Arms"-made of durable plastic-swivel to fit. We snapped on in seconds-with the curved part up top-though even that swivels around. Our aero bars do not have a lot of leg (length) room---it fit perfectly though---even where our bars angled up...-and for longer bars of bigger humans-more ability to adjust where the hydration unit sits. Molded black cage holds the bottle securely.

fits width just right

the clear hydration straw-gets firmly caged in a flexible Straw Mast-that gets inserted into the bottle first (tabs at the ends-squish in and securely adjust)-no wiggling once placed in. The plastic straw (two enclosed)…then securely inserts-  angled end first…hitting the bottom for good to the last drop sipping.  The angle is customizable. What we really noticed and major bonus points here...  the straw opening-and the straw- are placed further back on the bottle than what we had been using-which is great-because now we don't feel like the straw will jam into our Adam's Apple-when we are supremely crouched over the aero bar and get even more aggressive with our tuck. Nathan's hydration system's nifty design-adjust for one's height and position----not a one fits all approach-good thing. 

More bonus points…as noted before-the bottle sits super securely in a black cage holster. Why this matters to us big time---we hit a bump at the Nationals last season…and our aero water bottle from Pro Design popped right out-at mile 5ish. UGH. The Nathan™ bottle- can be-with a bit of effort- snapped out and then entirely opened by easily twisting apart-in half -for cleaning...
easy to follow instructions, two plastic drink tubes+two white caps...

the whitish cap snaps on with pressure applied- insures liquids stays inside when transporting---it is attached by a velcro orange tab-remove it for training+ races…leaving the orange splash guard Quick Fill Port protected cap (that also can be snapped out to fill the bottle from a pitcher). This design feature is great for long races with bottle exchanges…and the orange clip where the cap's orange tab is inserted=Deck Ring…can clip down on inspirational picture-or in our case, slide a gel pack tab instead.

Can squeeze a handed out water bottle-or one caged somewhere else on the bike- accessibly replacing consumed fluids-in seconds through the orange Quick Fill Port. Removes the entire need to replace a bottle somewhere tricky-(like behind our seat) - sliding it back in---losing the bottle and or seconds…and worse, focus…!
No splash-mouthpiece-Soft Sip Bite Valve-pushes onto straw after heating up in hot water for 30-60 secs. We tried-water easily flowed through for "controlled access"---but it's optional…we preferred not using it…guess it is more what we are used to.


Hyper SpeedFeed-attaches by three velcro tabs…longer in length that most aero boxes we've seen-secure tightly right up against the front vertical bar---so knees don't rub against sides of the box when peddling…though the shape is slightly more tapered at the end and taller people won't even have to deal with this. Two velcro straps secure on the horizontal bars. Those 3M™ stripes are reflective too!

ANOTHER winner that is so much better than what we had--- from the Nathan™Sports Tri series= the lightweight aero nutrition box Hyper SpeedFeed-that bravo-closes/opens by one hand via a magnetic -embedded snap-for easy access-without a need to look down…though the clear top enables seeing what's inside…if you do.
Can fit a lot in here-really exceptional for those doing long courses in particular…the interior can be easily cleaned. Depending on the training distance or race length-we fit in four gel packs,  five gel blocs, keys, and for racing-with no keys carried- a few crackers that are always needed after a swim to settle stomach churn. Also we can stash the used gel packs in here a lot easier than the tinier one we had…for a litter free ride. Great!!!!

AVAILABLE NOW=we found online from about $25- depending---on retailer + the fine print….

logo 3M™ reflective pops-multiple colors available too
The QuickShot Plus Insulated-Fire&Ice™flask -a Nathan™ hydration handheld...
fits different hand sizes including ours-which are small-adjustable hand strap

Very cool-no drip yet squeeze just a tad-the liquid evenly flows…high flow Race Cap. Strap is mesh-lets the sweat wick out-back of hand...
The QuickShot Plus Insulated flask is the first double wall flask on the market-meaning it keeps icy cold water seriously icy cold for hours… in an ergonomic hand held shape---inside an easy to clean holster.

The reflective details cover the surface from all angles…including the entire bottle…that stands out when the headlights hit- even when partially covered up by our fingers.

Widely available now-$30
No need to to do anything but squeeze the bottle -get the water out. Cap twists off for ez cleaning. The zipper compartment held two gels, keys-ez---could fit more in there too if need be…like a Metro card in the side mesh stretchy slip..and more gels...

The flask attachment straps will not stretch out-unlike the one we had used prior!!! In daylight-the bottle is pink/grey…can see as the light hits-it reflects…as pictured below...fits palm of our hand just right too...

The double wall flask weighs like nothing-holds 8oz liquids. We're not big on body heat but get the humid temps above 85Fº or so---even we start to wilt. Keeping icy cold water immediately cools our core down-helps us keep the pace….fit in ice chips to 'sip' when needed -in hot hot weather. What a difference.

The HAUL-IT-ALL BAG from Nathan™ Sports Tri series-is a portable solution for those that carry their gear around---where ever-including those that bike with their stuff. It weighs like nothing---has serious reflective details at the bottom (as seen above)---and importantly -is mostly mesh-thereby see through…which we hope is good enough for races that now require clear bags to carry all our gear. At least-lets the wet swimsuit/towels breath.

Drawstring closure, adjustable, lightly padded backstraps, internal zippered compartment---and a reinforced durable nylon bottom…a cleanly clearly -thought out hauler---it is available now in other colors.

We think-they could make an even bigger one with side pockets/compartments (this one carries 35L)---kinda like the Flight Control bag---

But out of the same mostly mesh material---it could work for hauling all our tri race gear to a race (we hope) instead of a clear plastic bag that rarely is big enough…and double as our gym bag ---cause we travel with way more hair/beauty products-to and fro-than most guys.

compressive laces---stretch (tiny bit) as foot expands w/pounding-adjusts on the go 
Speed laces are not just for racing---we have them on every pair of running shoes we own because stopping our stride to adjust the fit - is really annoying.

NATHAN™ Sports delivers a smart version-the patented Lock Laces™ that are fast and intuitive--- to install…just remove laces you have…lace in the stretch compressive ones provided (multiple color options)…put shoes on for the fit…slide laces through the round lock----trim excess laces..and shove in the lock part, snap shut. DONE.

Widely available --- $7.95---and of course-re-usable too. A not big investment that pays off after the first run...