HANDHELDS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL – It’s All About Choice by: Bryce Thatcher
For years, running in the Grand Tetons, I carried a glass Mason® or Kerr® jar in my hand. This activity inspired, or perhaps compelled me to invent both the hand held hydration pack and the first screw top cap on a squeezable sports bottle.
Virtually every hand held created since I invented them in the 1980’s, is a copy or reiteration of my original invention or subsequent innovation. As the founder of Ultimate Direction and designer at Nathan for many years, I have designed most hand helds on the market, and they may all look suitable for the job intended, but as an inventor and an athlete user, I know first hand, hand helds are not created equal!
Over the years, I have learned (mostly the hard way) a lot about physics, gravity, sway and other forces that coalesce to defeat the handheld experience. For example, placement of bottle attachments and tightening adjustment(s) on the same side as the hand insertion results in perpetual twisting and slippage. This is due to the fact that the point of attachment coincides with the point of greatest amount of motion and torque—where the hand meets the bottle. This is true whether the attachment is made of webbing, elastic or mesh.
Location over the top of the hand of the insertion tension will cause constant pressure and irritation to the back of the wearer’s hand that’s exacerbated by a buckle or other hardware that further prevents the wearer from using the back of the hand to wipe away moisture and sweat from the face.
Rivulets of sweat and drops of condensation rolling from the sides of the sports bottle combine to create a totally soaked, potentially cold, sticky, irritating environment. (Think of wet shorts rubbing on the inside of your legs only this time it’s around and between every finger). This environment also oozes into a pocket reducing stowed pills into a melted gooey mess.
If insulation is offered as relief from the sweaty palm, the result may be crinkly noisy, heavy, cumbersome or hot, non-soft, or non-breathable. Uncomfortable positioning over the hand or attachment angle of the bottle may effect circulation or create an awkward drinking angle. Almost all involve an exaggerated backward tilt of the head (such that the eyes are staring practically straight up) in order to drink. (This problem leads to additional problems during low vis hours, in crowds or at high speeds!)
UltrAspire products represent the culmination of all my years of design, testing, and experience. There isn’t much I haven’t thought about in bringing UltrAspire products to the market that meet these, and other, problems better than any other previous endeavor.
The Isomeric Pocket is the first hand held that has a mesh panel providing cushioning and separation between your hand and the bottle that bars moisture without being heavy. It also has an elasticized mesh pocket that is big enough for a cell phone or four or five packets of energy gel and the elasticized mesh prevents smaller items from bouncing around.
The “Ultra Viz Pocket” carries a 22 oz. bottle and gives you the same features as the “Isomeric Pocket” except it’s made with reflective materials and high visibility colors giving extra nighttime visibility.
The “Isomeric 16 oz.” and the “Isomeric 8 oz.” offering the palm pad feature and elastic mesh panels on either side for storing energy foods are quickly becoming favorites amongst athletes who prefer to carry less fluids.
For easy to access, sweat-free pills, the “Isomeric Magnon” has the same features as the “Isomeric Pocket”, but with an added sweat proof-pocket that features an instant snap back magnetic closure that reduces the chance of lost pills.
The “Isomeric Race” is the only minimal strap available on the market that doesn’t have an adjustment point coming across the back of the hand. It’s perfect for those who desire something that’s easy to carry, minimal, and versatile to use with a wide variety of bottles, and easy to throw into a washing machine. It is breathable, allowing moisture to evaporate quickly and soft, for wiping sweat off the face. When used with UltrAspire’s unique angled human bottle, minimal head-tilt is required to use.
All UltrAspire hand helds have a feature that no other hand helds out there have– and that is the placement of the straps that hold the bottle actually pull from the farthest side of the bottle and not the hand side. The strap cradling around the bottle is attached at the widest point, creating a more stable carry.
All UltrAspire hand held bottle packs are made out of a microfiber polyester mesh that is breathable and soft. There are purposefully no adjustable straps or buckles on the back of the hand for two reasons: To avoid pressure points across the hand and for the convenience of using the soft panel covering the hand, to wipe sweat off the face.
There are many shaped bottles out there marketed with special purposes such as improved flow (which is really the work of the nozzle or other flow control), or ease of holding in, on, or over the hand. These have diminished capacity, have added weight, or the special shape create problems for keeping them clean, often without any added benefit over the strap, which still functions to hold the bottle to the hand.
UltrAspire uses specially designed bottles shaped to add benefit, not redundancy or undesirable results. The bottles are ergo shaped, more stable, and easier to hold and to drink from. The shape of the bottles is not perfectly round so as to reduce the shifting and twisting of the strapping around the bottle, caused by motion and sway.
All bottles have a unique proprietary angle that allows you to avoiding tilting the head back to drink, and allowing your head to be straight and eyes ahead while drinking, alleviating worries about tripping up on an trail run or stepping into a side of the road pot-hole, while saving energy for things that count.