Monday, May 28, 2012

CamelBak Gel Flask

When I race or go on more serious rides I find energy gel is a great way to keep me going.
 I've used the single serving packets, but they have a problem.  First, after eating one, my only option for disposing of the sticky packet is to put it in my pocket.  That's messy and sometimes they fall out of my pockets.  Secondly, while my CamelBak does have a sleeve on the strap to hold a packet, it can only hold one.  During a long ride I've had two or even three energy gels and have had to dismount and take my CamelBak off to access a gel in one of the back compartments.

Online I've found a few containers and holsters marketed to solve these problems.  You can buy energy gel in a large bottle and refill your multiple-serving container for each ride.  Some people even make their own energy gel.  It sounded good but I couldn't find a container and holster that made sense to me. So I made my own.

Actually I bought an Ultimate Direction bottle and holster because it looked like a good start.

It's designed to clip onto a belt, I guess for runners, and I thought it might clip onto my CamelBak strap.  Unfortunately the clips wouldn't close around the straps well, and the angle for the holster wouldn't have been right.  So I made some modifications.

The shape was a bit odd, I guess because of the orientation of the clips and how it is supposed to attach to a belt.  I used a stitch ripper to take the edging off and cut the unnecessary flap away.  I removed the clips and strap that held them on, and then sewed it back together by hand.

To attach it to my CamelBak I used snaps.  I wanted it to be removable because I don't always need it, like on smaller rides and for trail work.  I used a Dritz brand snap tool I bought at JoAnn Fabrics with a 50% coupon to install some heavy duty metal snaps.

It looked good but I was afraid the flask might pop out of the holster when I was riding, especially during a fall.  I don't think I've been to a mountain bike race yet where I didn't see at least one water bottle on the side of the trail.  That's gotta suck to lose your water during a race.  So I added a strap to it too.  Actually, my wife was kind enough to help me with that part.  A square of Velcro keeps the strap closed.

The container holds about 5 servings of energy gel.  I probably won't ever fill it with that much gel, but I can use the extra space to add some water to make it go down a bit smoother.  For now I'll try a big bottle of store bought gel, but at some point I might make my own.

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