For the past two weeks, we’ve been testing an interesting looking bottle from Hydrapak called the Gel-Bot. The Gel-Bot is a bottle with an additional internal reservoir for energy gel. This is the only review for the Gel-Bot, as there’s not really two reviews worth of information to be had.
Hydrapak is, not surprisingly, a hydration company. They make a number of different packs and bottles for a variety of applications, including running, ultra-running, cycling, mountain biking and hiking. In the coming weeks, you can also look forward to an initial review of one of their hydration packs designed for runners.
About the Gel-Bot:
The Gel-Bot is a pretty simple solution to carrying a water bottle and a gel flask or pouch. Gel-Bot is simple: Fill with gel, fill with water, go running, pull open valve for water, close valve and squeeze for gel.
Gel-Bot comes in a 20 and a 24 oz version and holds 3.2oz of gel.
Well, basically, it works as designed and advertised. We tested the Gel-Bot a number of times and generally found that it works as designed. We thought the gel might leak or seep out of the top, but that never happened in our tests.
One problem we did have with the gel was viscosity. We used a few different gels in the test, including Roctane from GU, Regular GU, and Hammer. At room temperature, the gel flowed pretty smoothly, though the Roctane seemed a bit harder to get out than regular GU or Hammer, though that could have been a fluke. The problem arose when we plunged the gel into ice cold water in the bottle. Gel still flowed ok, but getting it to flow required serious squeezing.
For longer rides or runs, this isn’t a serious problem, as your water and gel will warm up pretty quickly, but for shorter runs, or if you’re one that loves a lot of ice in the bottle, this is going to make the gel very thick. Our simple solution was to add a little water to our gel and mix it up, thereby reducing the thickness and making it easier to squeeze. Even when we diluted the gel, we didn’t have any problems with leaks or seeping.
The Gel-Bot is top rack safe and we’ve washed our test model a few times since we received it, without any damage. After each run, honestly, it’s more like before the next run, we wash the bottle, gel pack, and bottle top and try to remove most or all of the previous run’s gel. With a little hot water, the gel cleans up easily.
We are yet to find a problem using the Gel-Bot. It functions exactly as it claims, it delivers water and gel with no mess and no switching hands, and it cleans up easily. The Gel-Bot isn’t for everyone, but it’s a very simple and very effective bottle. Although this tester normally uses the REI Double Shot on medium to long distance runs, this bottle will probably become part of my normal running kit. Even with the Double Shot, getting a gel requires a bit of work and slowing down, so this is a much more graceful solution.