Sunday, July 15, 2007

Camelbak Catalyst

Although previously loathe to strap water around my waist, upcoming long runs away from water fountains and our trip to Michigan necessitated some sort of hydration device. A fuel belt seemed to jiggly and bouncy, so I decided to try a Camelbak Catalyst, which sits on the small of your back.

The Catalyst holds 28 oz. of water, held in a small pack strapped around your waist/hips. On Saturday's 14 mile run, I found it to be amazingly slosh- and bounce-free, only becoming unstable once empty. But, I think spending time tightening it when it was empty would have kept it in position; instead, it tended to slip to the side, which was just a minor annoyance.

The bite valve and delivery tube were easy to use, although a little difficult to stash when not in use. I know some people just clip it to their shirt and that works fine, but I chose to clip it on the belt. That system will take a little bit of practice to perfect, I think.

The "velvetex" lining on the pack and belt was, well, velvety. I have one tiny rub spot above my hip bone in the back, but it just feels like a dry spot and I didn't even notice it until Sunday. Not one of those skin-rubbed-raw burning chafes.

My biggest complaint is that I had a hard time filling the reservoir. I will chalk it up for now to my inexperience in filling a water bladder, but I kept sloshing it out. The literature that came with the pack says it is designed for "easy and convenient" filling, but that didn't hold true for me.

Recommendation: So far, so good. Comfortable, but harder to clean than fuel belt bottles. Limits your ability to carry several fluids (like water and gatorade) at once. Easy to drink from, but tricky to fill. Two small pockets on the belt are perfect for a gel/etc., keys or a small cell phone. Some storage space in pocket with bladder, but the bladder does condensate, so don't put your phone back there.

Capacity: 28 oz/0.8 liters
Dimensions: 7.5 in x 8.5 in x 1 in
Weight: .55 lbs (empty), 2.38 lbs (full)


mom said...

interesting to read after you told me about it; may be a decent alternative for my hydration needs when i'm finally up and running again...

Tracy Lightfoot said...

I wondered if you actually remembered me showing it to you; you were pretty much tanked at that point.

Anonymous said...

hey that's not nice to publish on the web!

Can you update your review now that you;ve had it for a while? It's marathon season and I'm thinking of this thingy for long runs. Currently I plan runs around water access but I'd like to change that!