Review: Hydro Flask (Nov. 2016)

I have been using my Hydro Flask for about three months now, and so, I believe I can give a full and honest review of the product at this point.

Some background: I purchased the Hydro Flask late July, early August because my previous water bottle was just not getting the job done. I was also excited for the promise of keeping my beverage cold within the bottle for up to 24 hours, as claimed by the company. While the idea of storing hot beverages in the bottle was something I thought I would never use, the added benefit was appreciated.

The first thing I noticed about my Hydro Flask was how bulky it was. I have had 32oz water bottles before, but all of them have had a smaller form and have weighed significantly less. In fact, even when putting the bottle in my bag when I go to class, there is a noticeable change in weight to the bag. However, the bottle is crafted out of 1hydro-flask-still18/8 “Pro Grade” stainless steel, which is where the added weight comes from. The bottle also comes with a powder coat finish that makes it sweat proof and increases the durability of the stainless steel. However, after a few months of abuse some portions of the powder coating seem to be wearing off, or have become chipped.

The inside of the bottle is not too exciting. It is made of the same stainless steel as the outside of the bottle, in nearly the same shape. The bottom of the bottle is raised in the center slightly, meaning that, because I put my daily creatine in this bottle, sometimes powder gets left behind in the bottom. Noticing this, I found it to also be difficult to clean at times, as the brush I use for my other bottles can have trouble fitting into the opening of the bottle, despite the claim of being wide mouth.

All of this so far has been pretty minor things, and do not really attest to the real value of the claims made by the company. The real value lies in the claim of keeping beverages cold for 24 hours, and hot for 6. I purchased this bottle in the heat of the Michigan summer. 90 degree days were common for the first few weeks of use. During these first few weeks, I attended ultimate practice quite often, and the bottle went with me. It was always stocked with cold water when I left home, and despite sitting in the hot sun, the water inside remained cold at the end of the 2 hour practice every time. However, the claim is that it remains cold for 24 hours. To test this, I placed a few ice cubes in the bottle, and filled the rest with water and let it sit outside for 24 hours. When I opened it back up, the water was cool, but it was not cold. I would say, slightly above the ambient temperature.

As for the hot beverage claim of six hours, I have only ever put coffee in the bottle, and it did not remain hot for that long. Based on this, I did not test if it would keep hot water hot for six hours, but I have my doubts.

Also up for discussion is the price tag on this bottle. I purchased this bottle from the manufacturer in the Pacific Blue color with the ‘Flex Cap’ for a price of $39.95 excluding shipping. The closest product I could find to the Hydro Flask is theĀ Yeti Rambler 36oz Bottle, which retails for $49.99. Comparatively, the Hydro Flask is cheaper, for a product that is similar enough to make a close comparison.

Overall, I believe this bottle is worth the price point. I have taken this bottle to practice,hydro-flask-still2 hiking trips, camping, and daily use at home and in class. It has been beaten up significantly, without many noticeable dents or scratches in the bottle. The ease of using the bottle is relatively good, but there are a few features that I can get frustrated with. The claims of it keeping liquids cold for up to 24 hours seems to be slightly stretched, but for the most part it should not be a problem. In keeping it hot, I cannot conclusively say that it does the job, but it could simply be my bottle.

Many bottles I have used have only lasted a month or two, before they become too much trouble for their worth, the Hydro Flask is not one of these cases. I believe that it is a worthwhile investment for anyone who spends considerable time outdoors; from sports and hiking to use in the classroom, it has served me well and I believe will continue to for at least the next year.


Winter is Coming: Time to Move Inside

In Michigan, once the first week of November hits, it generally means the outdoor season of ultimate is over. It gets cold, wet, and dark, quickly. If your team is so lucky to have access to an indoor field complete with turf, then not much changes. However, if you do not have access to this luxury, your team is left playing on some recreation center’s basketball court when it is available; not the most ideal situation.

If you find yourself in this situation, it can be difficult to find a situation in which you can play actual games, if you can, great. If you cannot, you need to refocus the purpose of your practices. Instead of playing games and working on real game situations, the focus of practice should become improving on the individual weaknesses of how your team works together. If your team cannot play tight defense, work on it; if you need work on accurate throws, do it. To many in the north, winter is the time to improve their skills in a way that they simply cannot during the regular season.

Of course, this is not to say that your team should not make an effort to play actual games. Because, at the end of the day, you can practice your skills in a predefined play over and over, but how they translate into the game is what is important.

So, even though you have to move inside this winter, it is important to not lose site of the progress that has been made, and to work further to increase the progress of your team. It may be an annoyance, but it only lasts “three” months.