Product Review: Nathan ExoDraw Handheld

Rachel Brumfield can been seen racing anything from the Resolution Run to Eleven Miles to Paradise, but also likes to explore and recently spent some time in the mountains around Banff. You can follow her adventures on instagram @rachbrums. As a 2017/2018 RErun she tested the Nathan Exodraw Handheld water bottle and gave us her thoughts.

Confession: I hate carrying things when I run. I have resisted it for years, stuffing my pockets with snacks and planning long run routes around drinking fountains and friends’ homes. However, Missoula’s extensive trails have forced me to find a better hydration solution. There’s too much to explore to be limited by water stops!

My first hand-held water bottle was a Nathan ExoShot. I remember standing in Runner’s Edge trying to decide between the 12-oz Exoshot ($39.99) and the 18-oz ExoDraw ($49.99). The budget-conscious consumer in me eventually won out, and I ended up with the smaller version. Somehow, it was never enough water to justify carrying the bottle for a long run. Twelve ounces goes fast on a hot day!

The increased size is one of the factors that makes the ExoDraw my new favorite handheld hydration solutions. I’ll tell you about all the benefits, as well as a couple (very minor) “draw”-backs below. But first, the specs.

NATHAN EXODRAW SPECS

3.6oz   |    18 fl. oz. liquid capacity   |   BPA free plastic bottle   |   Neoprene sleeve

PROS

Liquid Carrying Capacity: The 4-oz upgrade from the ExoShot makes a surprising amount of difference. For me, it is the perfect size: holds enough water to merit carrying something while running, yet is small enough that it’s not obnoxious to hold.

Hot Tip: In order to get the full 18oz, remove the neoprene sleeve to fill the water bottle. Securely tighten the mouthpiece, then slide the bottle back into the sleeve. It takes a little shimmying, but you’ll get an extra 2 or 3-oz of water into the bottle.

Grip-Free Hand Strap: This is my absolute favorite feature. You don’t even have to think about carrying the ExoDraw! The strap slides over the hand, between the forefinger and thumb, and secures around the wrist. Essentially, you could not hold the bottle, and it would stay in your hand. It makes sense to grip it, but if you need your fingers to quickly tie your shoes or zip your jacket while running, you don’t lose your water.

Collapsibility: Unlike a hard-sided water bottle, as you drink from the ExoDraw, it shrinks. Once it’s empty, you’re not holding a useless 18-oz. container. What you’re holding is 3.6-oz – plus whatever you stashed in the pocket. The collapsibility also makes it easy to get every last drop – which really counts on a hot or steep run.

Stash Pocket: This handy water bottle not only serves as a hydration solution, it also has a spot for your gels, sports chews or keys! In testing, two packs of Clif Shot Blocks or keys/cards or a half pack of tissues tuck perfectly into the well-designed pocket.

CONS

Persnickety Cap: I’ve found the cap to be a little tricky for a couple reasons. First, if you don’t screw it on just right it can leak. Most people can probably nail this in the first attempt – for me it took a couple tries. Second, to drink from it, you must bite the mouthpiece (it does not have a cap). Again, that took me a few tries to figure out.

To be clear: when the cap is tightened correctly, this bottle does not leak at all – even when squeezed or jostled, which is amazing.

Not Suitable for All Distances: This is fairly obvious, but the ExoDraw has its limits. If you’re running longer trail runs or require lots of hydration/fuel, you may need to think about a hydration pack. (Or double ExoDraw? Never seen it done, but could work!)

Overall, the Nathan ExoDraw is a fantastic handheld bottle. Its collapsibility and grip-free hold make it an efficient item to add to your running ensemble. Even I think it’s worth carrying.