I always carry water during my runs. The only exception could be my 4-5 km run around my running route which is close to Forest near by Wimbledon Commons. Staying hydrated during your runs is also critical. You need to have proper hydration to prevent illness like fatigue, headache, decreased coordination and of course muscle cramps. Heat Exhaustion and heatstroke are the second stage illnesses, when you suffer too much from dehydration.
General hydration rule says you should have 120 to 180ml of liquid in every 20 minutes of your run. If you are running faster than 8min/mile this should be around 180 to 240 ml in every twenty minutes. That means for an average runner, 500 ml of fluid will let you run obeying the rules of healthy hydration for an hour to an hour and half.
Salomon started to do research about hand held bottles in last 2-3 years. Their one and only hand bottle for a very long time was the one below. This was basically a simple idea to use their 3D shaped bottle and convert it to a handheld hydration equipment. I also do have this one and still using it as it is easy to fill and hold.
This is followed by the Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab Set which Kilian Jornet used in his second Western States race. He struggled with correct hydration and hot weather and this resulted a 3rd place in Western States race in 2010. He then used the Salomon soft Flask bottles with the glove type equipment and won the race in 2011.
Now they have launched their third hand held bottle holder an hydration system called, Salomon Park Hydro Hand Free Set. In short they call it Park Hydro. I have been using it for a while and It is one of the most comfortable handheld bottles I have used.
The bottle holder is made from mesh and fast wicking fabrics. It is light. The weight of the bottle holder is approximately 80 grams including the 500ml soft flask. It fits comfortably in your hand, with a stretch carrying system and 500ml flask that compresses as you drink.
You can hold the Salomon Park Hydro in two ways. The first is the usual right or left hand grabbing. The second is unique to Salomon design. You need to slide your fingers through the designated mesh and wrap the Velcro elastic cord to balance. This way makes you to hold the bottle 180 degrees to your arm and seemed to me, let me describe a more balanced way of carrying. One Size Fits All design with adjustable strap makes it easy to choose the best size to get fit and stability. There are three small elastic hooks mentioning S, M and L. You can slide the wrist cord from one of these regarding to your hand size and make it fit comfortably to your hand.
The bottle holder has a generous external zipped pocket that can fit car key, cell phone, MP3 player, or gels. It has a zipped pocket. I managed to put two keys with ring, 4 Overstims Gel, a bank and travel card and 2 banknotes. There was still plenty of room to hold a mid size smartphone too. On the front, there is also a trash pocket. You can squeeze your used gel thrash here.
The valve of the Soft Flasks are improved from the previous ones. The previous ones had a slight leakage problem after a long time of usage. Park Hydro has a new engineered valve that blast water for quick and non-fatigue hydration. Higher flow, softer feeling in mouth, no leaking.
The good bit of using a soft flask is, it eliminates the fluid bouncing sound when you are running. You can take the air out of the flask and this makes easy access to water and quiet running. It also helps you to store the empty bottle easily.
You can order this bottle from Castleberg Outdoors. Castleberg Outdoors are one of only a handful of Salomon S-Lab shop in the UK.
Other Hand Held Bottle and Hydration System Reviews