Skimo Co

Ski Trab Gara Bottle


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With good reason soft flasks have been increasing in popularity. If you haven’t already tasted the Kool-Aid, let us enlighten you. When fully loaded with water, soft flasks maintain their shape just like a hard bottle. After a few sips, however, the contents won’t slosh around; instead it’s a quiet and air-tight blob that conforms to your body and moves with you. When it’s empty, the soft flask takes up less room in your pack, allowing you to rotate bottles or free up space in your pack for souvenirs. Offered in two sizes, 350ml and 600ml, the Ski Trab Gara Bottle (aka race flask) is ready for short and medium-term action. The 350ml bottle is perfect for a backup bottle, quick missions, or for holding diluted gel pouches during a longer outing. The 600ml bottle is designed to be your primary water source. Both sizes include a basic cap and a cap with a straw. The strawed version really helps in some bottle holders if the flask receeds further into the holder after each drink. Once again, Ski Trab has thought of everything.

Questions & Reviews

Kurt K (used product regularly)
I love the concept and have moved away from hydration bladders and regular water bottles for all my ski tours and hikes to this bottle. I used the 350 ml size, which is plenty. If I need more water for an outing, it's of a length where I'll have enough time to refill from a bigger water bottle when necessary. So why not 5 stars? While I don't expect these to be as bombproof as hard plastic nalgenes, I thought it would last a little longer before leaking. It leaks from where the threads connect to the lid. I think the material used for the threads is simply too flexible for it to hold up to much use at all. From when I first got it, it had to be threaded carefully, but now after a few dozen outings it is extremely difficult to get on without leaking, and even then leaks if turned in a certain orientation or when pressure is applied.
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Question from max
How it is work in cold weather ? Bite freeze ? Water freeze ?
Answer from Trace Leches
Hey Max! As with any soft flask, the bottle itself tends to stay liquid for quite a long time, especially if it's against your body inside a jacket pocket or skinsuit, but you have to pay close attention to taking care of the bite valve and hose in cold weather. If it's getting cold I usually blow a bit of air back into the bite valve so the water doesn't stop it up completely. They're sweet though, the structure is definitely really nice!
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Jonathan S (hasn't used product)
Five Stars for a great product, and another for affirming my sense of self-worth, plus yet another for company modesty, plus still one more star for enhancing my vocabulary, minus one for a personal conundrum, equals a maxed-out Five Star rating regardless.

I’ve been a big fan for a few years now of carrying water in a soft flask inside a race suit pocket. The only drawback though was that when the flask was anything but almost entirely full, it would slide down inside my pocket thereby wasting a valuable second or so per drink to reach down to access the bite valve. All these years, I thought this was a personal shortcoming on my part. Yet now, with this innovative Trab insulated tube/straw of just the right length and flexibility, now only has my technical problem been solved, but I realize that I was not all alone during these years!

And Trab is so modest that it can’t even be bothered to include a picture of the actual product, modesty showing merely yet another soft flask like every other company already has had on the market.

Trab nicely includes an additional bite valve, which it describes as a “pipette” thereby enhancing my vocabulary.

The personal conundrum is related to how I haven’t yet used the product, nor do I even own it. Instead, I received it as a donation from Skimo Co for the skimo race series I organize. In prior years, I would just create a new results category for me to win. But now that USSMA sanctioning guidelines specify the prize categories, I’m not sure whether I should train harder to enhance the chances of my placing on the podium at my own races, or instead work harder at “real” work so that I have more money to buy a Trab flask or two.
Reply from Jonathan S
I couldn't wait for the first race of the season to try to award the donated one to myself as a prize, so instead I bought one, specifically the 600ml version.
I've been liking it so much tucked in my race suit that I've now starting using it for touring, attached in a carrier on my pack shoulder strap: no more traditional bladders with long hydration tubes!
Reply from Jonathan S
Loving the 600ml version so much that I've stopped using all my hydration bladders!
For tours when I need more capacity, I just bring a reserve collapsible bottle in my pack.
A few issues to be aware of though:
- The thread closure for the cap could be improved. Even once you've correctly tightened it (and not started to cross thread it), tighten it again, then invert, so as to ensure it really is tight enough with no leaks. (For unscrewing a very tight cap after the tour, I've found blowing back some air into the bottle helps.)
- Pop the top back down before transitions so as to close off the water flow.
- This might be just me, but if the bite valve freezes on you, don't try to break up the ice by chewing on it (a successful technique I've used with the bite valve on traditional hydration bladders), since that can break the pipette (which fortunately I realized just in time was not ice and hence did not swallow it!).
- The included replacement pipette (white) fell off during a race when I grabbed the bottle by it, but fortunately I found many compatible pipettes from my spare parts bin, and I haven't had any problems with it falling off since then.
Just to reiterate, despite all that lengthy advice, this is now my exclusive hydration source during the winter.
Reply from Jonathan S
Updating this old review since I noticed a reference to durability in a more recent review. I have been using the 600ml version since, hmm, well, looks like the 2017-18 season. I average over 600,000' vertical each season, and use this design for all training, racing, and touring except in the late spring and summer (when I use a bike-style bottle for easier refills at water sources). I have two of these in the quiver, but both are still like new, no durability problems, with the exception of the squishy bite valves, which of course get torn over time from my teeth.
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Model: Gara Bottle

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