Ultimate Directions Fastdraw Plus Review:
In all of my time running, I had never given much thought to carrying water with me on my runs. Most of the time, I was on a public trail that at a few locations along the path has a drinking fountain to stop at and grab a quick drink.
As my runs started to get longer, and my ventures took me off the beaten path, those drinking locations were no longer available to me, and I needed to find a way to stay hydrated when I needed. I had never before carried water with me to drink on my runs, so I decided that I was going to see what a handheld bottle would do for me on my runs.
I was able to get in contact with the great people at Ultimate Direction (@UDhydrates), and we were able to work out a deal to get me the Fastdraw Plus handheld bottle with the Kicker Valve and 20 oz. of fluid containment.
What arrived was very pleasing visually. I received the bottle with the Fiesta colored carrier. My 1st impressions was that the concept of the handheld bottle from UD was great. It fit very nice in my hand, and the carrier strap was easily adjustable to my hand for either a tight or loose fit with the pull of the strap on the carrier.
The bottle itself was very nice as well. It was heavy duty, and had a nice sturdy feel when being held. On the sides of the bottle are little notches for your fingers and thumb to rest while holding the bottle, and near the Kicker Valve (more later), there is a finger loop that does serve a useful purpose when running.
The drinking nozzle on the Fastdraw is very unique. It is not like your ordinary valve that you pull up and push down. UD calls this valve or nozzle their Kicker Valve. It is a soft rubber nozzle that is retracted into the cap. To get the valve out, you can either bite the valve and pull it out while on the run, or pull it out w/ your fingers. Once out, you bite the valve, and squeeze the bottle to get just about any amount of fluid you want out of the bottle from just a quick sip, to a nice big gulp. To get the Kicker Valve back to its retracted position takes a little time to get used to. It is not like conventional caps where you just push the valve back down (even though you can do so), but you actually flick, hit, or slap the valve to about a 45 degree angle, and it will automatically retract by itself. Again, it does take some time to master the technique, but once you have it, it is quick and easy.
Now, it was time for my 1st run with the UD Fastdraw. I headed out for a 14 mile run, complete with a full bottle, and keys stored in the carrier. If you’ve never run with a carrier before, it does take some time to get used to. 14 miles was a great run to see what the Fastdraw would do.
Here are my thoughts on the UD Fastdraw Plus after my 1st run. It is a great design. Again, having not run with a bottle and carrier before, it took some time to get adjusted to it. At 1st, it felt constrictive of the fluidity of running with nothing in your hands. After about 6 miles into the run, that did start to change as I was able to find a comfortable position to hold the bottle in my hands. It is very easy to switch from one hand to the other while on the run due to the simplicity of the strap design.
As for getting the liquid our of the bottle and into my mouth while on the run, that also took some getting used to. It was very easy while on the move to get the Kicker Valve pulled up to get a drink. Once out, it did take some time to get fluid moving out of the valve. You do not have to necessarily bite down on the valve to get it open slightly (it does make it easier to get fluid out), but you do have to be very forceful to get liquid to come out of the valve. The more forceful, the more liquid you get. Once you were done, it was very simple to just “Kick” the valve shut while on the run with not wasted movement.
Like all products, there were a few drawbacks. One was the size of the storage pouch in the carrier. It barely fit a set of keys in it, and there was no room for nothing else (gel packs). Also, the elastic top the holds the bottle in place is very rigid and make it difficult to get the bottle detached from the carrier for cleaning. Both are very minor issues and don’t take away from the satisfaction I had in the initial use of the product.
I will continue my use of the UD Fastdraw Plus on my long runs, and hope that over time, I will not even notice I am carrying a bottle.
Please check out the UD products on their website: http://ultimatedirection.com
Also, check out the Running4theMasses sponsored runner @DixonRunning. @DixonRunning will be using the UD products during his 3 marathons in 4 weeks.