At the beginning of the month Outside PR provided me with a Hydrapak Gel-Bot to test and review. This is similar to a standard squeeze bottle but has a tube inside to provide gel as well. Hydrpak provides that bottle in both 20 oz and 24oz options. Before I get into it, here is what Hydrapak has to say about it:
"Summary: The Gel-Bot delivers two performance essentials, fuel and hydration, in one easy to use sport bottle. This patent-pending design lets you fuel or hydrate with just one hand. Perfect for racing or total gel addicts. All the Gel-Bot components can be taken apart and easily cleaned.
1.Load the inner chamber with energy gel.
2.Fill the bottle with water/fluid.
3.When the nozzle is pulled open, you get water and water only.
4.With the nozzle pushed down, squeeze to get the gel out of the center valve."
When I first opened the package my first instinct was that it was one of the fancy filtering bottles that all of my partners carried in Guatemala. Once I picked it up and got a better look at it, I realized that it was a water bottle with an integrated gel flask inside. Since I carry both in sprint distance and shorter long runs I thought this would be a neat product.
To use you unscrew the lid like a normal squeeze bottle,
To disconnect you just grab both pieces firmly and it kind of snaps free. I found the Gel-Bot to be ornery during the connecting and disconnecting, taking a good bit of determination.
You then fill the tube with your choice of gel. It holds 3.2 ounces of gel, but if you are putting less in it you can just push the green plunger up. You then connect the tube, add water, and then screw the lid back on. To drink it works just like a regulate water bottle. For gel, push the lid down in the closed position and suck.
I tested the bottle four times, two run and two bike rides (one of which was my 60 mile distance PR!!!!) I used it as directed one time in each discipline. Since I am not a big fan of the consistency of gel, I usually add a few drops of water to thin it out.
As interesting as I found the product, I am not as impressed with the results. I found the assembly easy, but more tedious then I care for. When solely filled with Gel, I was unable to get the last 1/2 inch of gel out. I feel that it is a waste. When it is a water and gel mixture, it fed too fast. The first time I unknowingly consumed the entire tube in two sips. Another problem is that if you are like me and consume a preset amount of gel, there is no way to measure your intake. Despite the problems I see, it could be very good for short triathlons as one stop source for fuel and hydration and could easily be placed in a aero bottle holder. It would also be good for hiking.
I am not going to give a grade of this nature without giving my opinion of how it can be improved. Although a good product, I think it could be better if it attached to the top a little easier, if I could get all the gel out, and if had some type of marker lines to measure how much is left.