Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Flexline Backpack Test

I got the box of goodies from Flexline Hydration and already had Dallin test out his Mountain Bike model. There is a backpack model available to fit common hydration systems. I prefer Platypus, so I got that size.
I pulled it out of the box, twisted the quick release end off my current hose, and put it on the end of the Flexline hose. I tested the joint for leaks in the sink with hot water, then fit it into my Columbia Treadlite 16 Backpack, the one I plan on using for my speed attempt on Elbrus if the weather is good.
I wiggled the flexible hose into a good position and tried drinking and blowing through the hose. Blowing because in my usage I’ll be at altitude in cold weather, so I have to be able to purge the hose of liquid to prevent it from freezing. So far so good. Also, since I normally have a couple extra bottles of miscellaneous sports drinks to support my endurance (climbing 6000′ in just a matter of a few hours is pretty intense) I tested to make sure I could still drink with the tube in position.
I got on the treadmill at 27% and 2.5 mph and managed to drink pretty easily. I also got on the Stairmaster Step Mill and that was pretty good too. It’s tough to drink on it without falling off – there’s no place to stand and it’s easier to trip while looking up with a bottle. Unlike a treadmill where you can just step to the side rails for a few seconds. I got the brilliant idea that maybe I could use it while ice and snow climbing, but I’d have to experiment with putting the tube more to the side, since it’s normal on steeper terrain to be right up against the surface.
To test that I re-positioned the tube to the side a bit, then got on the Jacob’s Ladder and got up to about 65 ft per minute, then drank, and blew. It took me a few tries to get the position right, but it worked good.
In another workout then I ran on the treadmill at a fairly slow 5.0 mph pace – about what I’d do on a ten mile trail run. The tube bounced a little bit until I got the position dialed in – about 2 minutes overall of messing around, but after that it worked out fine. The pics below are a bit blurry because I took my pics on a timer and the focus was set on the treadmill rails, but you get the idea I’m sure.
I like it so far, and might have the chance to train on Mount Rainier in the ice and snow, or on a Colorado Fourteener in the next couple weeks before my Elbrus trip. I will also do a few trail runs to test this on. Especially for steep hiking with trekking poles, especially if you use a Nordic Grip, it’s a lot easier to drink from this than to pull out a bottle with the pole in tight to your palms.
I’ll keep you in the loop with more pics and video.
Flexline Backpack Test