I recently purchased the Nathan SpeedMax Plus Handheld Flask (after searching the internet to see what handheld ultra running stud Jim Walmsley uses like a total fanboy). I needed a way to carry a significant amount of water without adding significant heft like a vest or backpack would, and this handheld system sounded like it would be up to the task.
22oz of water is proving to be an ideal amount for my 10-20 mile runs. Nathan makes a smaller but similar model, the SpeedDraw Plus Flask, but that has 4oz less capacity. The SpeedMax is the highest capacity handheld they make, which makes it their best option as an alternative to bigger, heftier hydration solutions. For shorter distances I like to go hands free with the Running Buddy H20 Magnetic Water Bottle Pouch (which I reviewed here), but for anything more than 10 or so miles, the Nathan SpeedMax has been doing the job.
Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of the SpeedMax Plus.
- 22oz capacity, enough for medium to long runs (depending on the individual).
- The mouth of the bottle is large enough to easily add ice.
- The shape of the bottle conforms to the hand comfortably.
- It’s easy to put on and take off, with a small strap you can tighten for extra snugness and security.
- It has a slot for your thumb for a comfortable, natural grip.
- The design of the nozzle is clever. You can have it closed (pushed in) to prevent water from escaping, but even if you have it open it does a pretty good job of keeping water in due to its special “push-pull blast valve cap”.
- Main pocket with zipper is just barely big enough to fit an iPhone 7 without a case. I have to take my case off before runs, a minor inconvenience but an inconvenience nonetheless. Would have loved for that pocket to be just a tad bigger.
- The small tightening strap seems pretty flimsy. It’s held up so far but I can see it easily snapping in the future.
- COLD HANDS. This is probably an issue for all non-insulated handhelds, but when I pack this thing with ice and water and head out for a run, my hand freezes and basically goes numb until it gets used to the cold surface of the bottle.
- Slippery when wet. On extra hot, steamy days, sweaty palms makes squeezing the bottle a bit of a problem.
- There is one main zipper pocket, but another smaller kangaroo-like pouch which is just big enough to fit a car key, but not really substantial enough for much fuel. A GU might fit in it, but nothing bigger than that.
- While I do like the fancy nozzle / valve, it makes getting a heavy flow of water more difficult than normal. As long as you drink with your mouth on the bottle and suck the water out it’s not much of an issue, but trying to squirt water into your mouth or onto yourself isn’t as easy as other water bottles.
So there you have it, a solid option for a handheld especially for someone who wants a lot of water but doesn’t want to wear something on their back, chest, or waist.