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November 10, 2008

Drinking Outside the Box (Body Bottle Review)

Before today's post, here's an example of how old and out of touch I'm getting: I didn't even know there were Cheetah Girls, so I couldn't be appropriately shocked when nude pictures of one surfaced this week. And, in a related question ... what the heck's going on over at Disney? First Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana), then Vanessa Hudgens (the girl from High School Musical), and now this; it seems that the Disney company has some serious issues with its attractive female stars' ability to keep their clothes on in public. Not to mention - wasn't Britney Spears once a Mouseketeer?

The whole scandal makes two points very clear: 1) Shocking as it may seem, I may be slipping a bit with my pop culture awareness, and 2) I totally need to watch the Disney Channel more often.

OK, enough nonsense - here's today's post:


At the beginning of October, I was contacted to do a review of a product called the Body Bottle, and readily agreed to try it out on a few runs. Unfortunately, that happened to be the week that I went out of commission due to injury – but I’ve finally been able to run consistently enough to get a feel for the product and put together a review.

Honestly, I’d never heard of the product before – and when I started asking around, I couldn’t find anyone else who had heard of it either. So let’s do this review in a question and answer format, starting with the very basics:

Q: What is it?

A: The Body Bottle is a 10-oz bottle that attaches to your arm with a strap, similar to the way many people wear iPods or mp3 players. It is “ambidextrous”, so you can wear it on either arm – or, if you have two bottles, on both arms.

The bottle sticks to the arm strap via Velcro, so when you want to take a drink, you rip the attachment loose. The Velcro is very secure; it took me more muscle than I thought I’d need to tear the bottle loose. This is good, though – the last thing you want is for the bottle to keep slipping off the arm strap.

The whole “bottle on the arm” concept is clearly a result of somebody thinking outside the box to address a specific need; the question is whether or not you really want to leave the box you’re in when it comes to hydration systems - as I’ll explain a bit later.

Q: Can I still wear my iPod?

A: The easy answer is to wear your iPod on the other arm. There’s also an additional Velcro attachment on the front side of the Body Bottle that allows you to stack your iPod on top of a bottle if necessary. However, since 1) I only had one Body Bottle, and 2) I never run with a music player, I didn’t try this out.

Q: Isn’t it awkward – or heavy - to carry water on your arm?

A: Yes – and no. Like everything else, it takes some getting used to, and different people’s preferences may vary. According to the website, the product was created as an alternative for runners who thought that backpack or waist-mounted fluid systems were uncomfortable, and don’t want to occupy their hands with a hand-held bottle.

Since the bottle only holds 10 ounces of fluid, it’s not as heavy as you might imagine. However, this is also a potential drawback if you need to carry a large volume of water on a long run. The Body Bottle does feel awkward in the same way that using a hand-held bottle for the first time does - but since I eventually became comfortable enough with a hand-held bottle to carry one for 100 miles, I’d say that getting used to the Body Bottle is just a matter of time as well.

The arm strap is one-size-fits-all, and stayed in place quite comfortably for a short run. I suspect that for multi-hour runs, chafing might become an issue - although this is just a hunch that I’ve been unable to verify (have I mentioned that I’ve been injured lately?).

Q: When would I use it?

A: So, let’s say the Body Bottle is not uncomfortable, and it’s not too awkward to use after a while. The most important question that remains is whether it’s better than what you’re currently using. In my case - since I’m primarily into long trail runs (that require more fluids) right now, and since I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve been using - the answer is no. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see the benefit of using one.

Here’s an example: this summer, as I was preparing for the Western States 100, my main concern was how to keep cool and hydrated during the fierce midday heat. The solution I planned on was to temporarily carry a third bottle to go along with the one on my waist and the one on my hand – I would fill this bottle with water, and squirt it over my face and head at regular intervals to lower my surface temperature a bit. However, I don’t like running with two hand-held bottles (like I said, comfort is an individual thing), and I was worried about remembering which bottle held water, and which held sports drink. The last thing I wanted was to squirt Gatorade in my face in 100 degree heat.

In that situation, wearing a Body Bottle for a few hours might be the perfect solution: it keeps one hand free, and is easily distinguishable from the 20-oz bottles. I imagine the bottle would also come in handy if you’re running a relatively short distance, and want to carry a small amount of fluid just to keep your mouth from getting dry. Or - in the most obvious case – if you’re in that target demographic of people who don’t like waist, back, or hand-mounted bottles, this is something you should definitely try.

Q: Anything else I should know?

A: Well … judging from a photo on the company website, apparently the Body Bottle is very patriotic. That must be worth something.

Also, if you’re interested in buying one, contact me first, because I have a handful of discount coupons that came with my bottle. I’ll gladly mail them out so someone can save a few bucks.

See other product reviews on right sidebar. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, e-mail me at info@runningandrambling.com.


Backofpack 11/10/08, 4:25 PM  

I got one of those for review last year, and since my review was negative, I ran it by the company first and offered to skip posting it. It wasn't that it was awful, it just wasn't great. Plus, for all of us women who tried it, the bottle would not stay on the arm, and we couldn't get it off the velcro to drink. Plus, the one I had, had a screw top cap. I see they fixed that. Anyhow, I agree, it's okay, not great.

robtherunner 11/10/08, 5:57 PM  

I am not sure about the body bottle, but thanks for the heads up on the photo scandal. Disney knows how to pick em.

olga 11/11/08, 8:01 AM  

I had same review as Michelle on it when got it to test, and also had a screw cup back then. Honestly, I wouldn't use it (not to mention, I am totally fine with 2 hand-helds), but could see potential for a short run - and for a guy who can "muscle" it. But then again, for a short run one can live without...

Annette 11/11/08, 10:20 AM  

Interesting concept. I hate carrying water in any way. I wish I just had a little water boy to run with me. :)

As for those Disney girls. . . let that be a lesson to parents everywhere. Don't let your kids be child stars!

triguyjt 11/11/08, 4:43 PM  

at first blush..it doesn't appeal to me...but..hey...as you said..you could get used to it

Dave 11/12/08, 11:38 AM  

Can't see using it....just don't know about Water on the Arm....My security blanket is my Ultimate Direction Wasp.

Vanilla 11/12/08, 2:41 PM  

Lately I've been doing my long runs in multiple loops, stopping at my home to hydrate just so I don't have to carry a hand held or wear the fuel belt. This might be a product that would actually work out well for me.

angie's pink fuzzy 11/13/08, 10:03 AM  

they asked me to review it, but i declined, knowing i wouldn't like it. i hate ANYTHING on my arms!

and i feel the same way about pop culture awareness slipping. cheetah what?!

Rainmaker 11/16/08, 8:19 PM  

Did you say something about a bottle? I got lost on some of the earlier links. Sorry.

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