30 October 2014

gear review - Nathan quickdraw elite handheld hydration bottle

my preference is to be the least encumbered runner that i can possibly be.  that's why i don't run with music, and (to my friend trevor's great surprise when we first started training together) why i don't usually carry any water on my workouts.

however, having set my sights on tackling my first ultra this year i decided that perhaps it would be wise to invest in some kind of hydration system ... whether it be a packstyle bladder and tube or a belt and multiple bottles or a handheld container.  after some consultation with seasoned ultra and trail running competitors, i decided to give the Nathan quickdraw elite a go.

on the one hand:
the nathan quickdraw plus (QDE) is a well thought-through product.  from the multiple front pockets - including a zippered one large enough for most smartphones should you choose to carry one along - to the adjustable velcro sizing strap and the standard-ish sized 22oz sport water bottle, this piece of gear is designed with the runner's comfort and accessibility in mind.

some of the best features of the QDE are:
  • easy-to-open and close rubber nozzle - use your teeth to yank it open and slam it against one of your glutes to shut it again!  durable and leakproof.
  • quick-fill - no fiddling with bladders or trying to pour juice jugs into itty bitty bottle openings.  the wide mouth on the QDE makes aid station stops a snap.
  • open-hand fit - the webbing on the handhold has a thumbhole to secure the bottle to your hand and allows you to have a loose grasp on the QDE, meaning that you carry less tension in your upper body while running.
  • washability - the bottle can endure the dishwasher and the harness can go through the laundry cycle.
  • protective equipment!! - i'd read elsewhere that one of the upsides to using handheld hydration is that in the event of a trip and fall the bottles can help cushion the landing and save some abrasion.  and yes, i did unwittingly put my QDE to the test - and yes, it helped the tumble look a little more graceful!

on the other hand:
really, what's not to love?

ok, i guess that there are a couple of (minor) points that i could make here:
  • arm swing - whether using a single handheld or a pair in tandem, carrying bottles will affect your otherwise unencumbered arm swing.  it just takes a bit of getting used to - but i certainly didn't find it distracting or detrimental.
  • temperature - the few times that i've ventured out in cooler weather with the QDE i found that my hands were colder than normal if i'd filled the bottle with cold water.  i know that it stands to reason, but after a while the temperature of the water rose a couple of degrees (probably more from body heat than air temperature) and it wound up being comfortable enough.  there were just a few early kilometres of stinging palms.
you can check out my video review of the QDE here: 

the bottom line?  this is a great piece of equipment for any runner, but in particular those who enjoy trail/ultra running.  thumbs up (through the webbing)!


  1. Good job Patrick. The arm swing would be my biggest concern. I have a Nathan Speed 2 belt I use on my longer runs and its a great product as well.

    1. thanks for reading and for your comment jason! i thought the same about arm swing, but like anything else you can learn to adapt! :) now it feels almost like a security blanket of sorts when i take it on long runs ... and it keeps me alert, as i switch hands every 3km or so.