Published on April 2, 2014
Once in a while a product comes along that actually seems to be radically different to everything else on the market; the FitSip, a wearable, hands-free hydration solution certainly falls into this category…
Getting adequate water on the run throws up several options; there’s the inexpensive hand-held bottle – if you’ve entered a few races you’re likely to already have dozens of these filling cupboards – or there’s the full-on hydration pack. The former are frankly a pain to carry and even the niftier versions with integrated handles make for tired arms and have the potential to throw the running gait decidedly lopsided, whilst the latter bring their own biomechanical issues and even bargain options like the Bala Performance will set you back £25.
Okay, so the FitSip – at £21.99 – only just creeps in under the price point of the cheapest of traditional hydration packs but in all other respects has much to recommend it. Basically it’s a neoprene (technically Airprene) armband that wraps around the forearm with two Velcro straps and into which slips a small ‘Waterpod’ bladder capable of comfortably holding 200ml of water.
Only 220ml? The FitSip certainly isn’t intended to be – or marketed as – a long-haul hydration solution (so perhaps price comparisons to full packs is a little unfair?) But what it does provide is short burst support; an hour’s run in warm weather might not be enough to warrant the drag of taking a bottle or strapping on a CamelBak but the option to sip a little from the FitSip makes sense to us. There’s scope here too to use it in conjunction with other hydration options: if you dislike rehydration tablets (but recognise their importance, as you should) then stock plain water in a bottle/pack and use the FitSip for a little electrolyte or energy drink. It’s useful too for that little slug of water that most energy gels require to wash down.
In terms of quality the FitSip really impressed RunningMonkey. All too often we see new products from start-ups and entrepreneurial-types who have potentially good ideas but either rush to market or cut corners with cheap manufacturing. The FitSip has been carefully thought through – the construction balances looks and ruggedness, the Waterpod is free from both BPA and phthalate and contains an antibacterial agent, the bit valve is soft and responsive and there is plenty of hi-viz detailing too.
The only downside – and this is something the makers acknowledge and so are no doubt working to address – is that the Fitsip needs to be unzipped and the Waterpod removed in order to be refilled. This means that it isn’t, to any practical degree, capable of being refilled easily at checkpoints or event water stations. If that can be resolved then the FitSip could be a serious contender for seeing many runners through shorter distance races.
Further details and online purchase of FitSip at fitsip.com