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
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.
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!
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.
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