Hydrapack debuted its new additions to the SoftFlask line at Interbike 2013 now offering 3 new sizes. These new sizes expand on its original two (5 & 8 oz) that were primarily used for gels to be more water specific. The three new sizes include the SF350 (12 oz), SF 500 (17 oz) and SF750 (25 oz). They have a wide cap for easy filling, a shut-off for storage, a newly designed high-flow silicone bite valve with cap and a carry strap. They are also BPA & PVC free, top-rack dishwasher safe and come with a No Leak Product Warranty.
I have had some time to test the SF 350 and SF 500 in warm and cold weather to see how they perform. I've taken them with me out on the gravel, singletrack, winter fatbiking and hiking filled with water and water with electrolyte enhanced drink tabs.
I really like the convenience of the SoftFlask over the standard stiff plastic water bottle. They are easy to fill and clean and don't leak when stored filled for later use. The bite valve provides a fast flow that doesn't leak, even when not twisted into the lock position. One of my favorite features of the SoftFlask is the way they collapse as you drink from them. As they are emptied they crumple up into a very small size that is easily stored in a pocket or bag.
For winter cycling, SoftFlasks work great when stored in the back pockets of a cycling jacket. The warmth of the perspiration vapor that passes through the jacket seems to be enough to keep them from freezing. I have biked for hours in all types of below freezing temperatures with filled SoftFlasks in my jacket pockets and have not had any of them begin to freeze up. In extreme cold, I have had the water in the bite valve freeze, but that was remedied by biting the valve crushing the ice thus restoring water flow.
I like the SoftFlask for warm weather riding, too. They fit easily in my jersey pocket and conform to my back for comfort unlike a hard plastic water bottle. This product works great year round and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a quality alternative to plastic water bottles and bulky hydration packs.
Hydrapak Softflasks are available exclusively at all REI stores nationwide now through May and from the Hydrapak online store.
Disclosure: Outside PR and Hydrapak provided the review sample for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.
Penn Cycle & Fitness