Product Review: Ultimate Direction EDC “Every Day Carry”

Cory Soulliard is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. You can usually find him volunteering or running at almost all of our Runners Edge events! He is always a friendly face in the crowd usually sporting a big smile! You can follow his adventures with his pup on intagram @corysoulliard.

Growing up in Pennsylvania my high school running hobby was a pretty simple one. My running shoes were replaced when the outsole fell off, and my summer runs were either as the sun came up, or after it went down. The morning runs were before work but the evening runs were to allow the summer temperatures to drop from 90 degrees down to a brisk 88. Never did my running ever have the need for nutrition or water. The plan worked great until after college when I decided to train for my first marathon. On one of my first 20 milers I was so thirsty that I asked a
stranger to drink out of his garden hose. He was washing off his riding mower and told me “Sure. It’s too hot for me to ride this mower any longer so I am going inside.” I had six miles left.

Needless to say I still do not carry water on most of my runs unless it is long enough that I wear a pack. My experience with bottles was never terrible but also never really enjoyable. The Ultimate Direction EDC is by far the easiest one I have used. The soft flask and the simple design make it a no brainer. The 0.5L capacity is no joke either! Since my bicep strength training is similar to my high school nutrition plan I will warn you that 1+ lbs of weight at your hand does feel a little heavy after enough miles. Since that weight is almost entirely water it drops to a few grams by the time the run ends. Two side pockets can easily hold keys, ID, or credit card sized items. One almost hidden pocket in the bottom is probably best used to stash a Fizz or Nuun tablet if needed. The soft flask bottle has a large opening (for adding ice, energy mixes, or even quick fills). The bite nozzle pops up and down like a traditional sport top so it can be locked (down) to make sure you don’t drain the entire bottle on your shoes while driving to the trailhead. I am guessing at least a few of you have similar camelback stories. When the nozzle is open (up) the water was easy to drink, but it would not leak even when I squeezed the bottle and waved it around like I was trying to signal a passing plane.

Summary(seen with 2 gels, 1 bar, and full of water):
Pros

● 0.5L capacity
● Useful pockets
● Easy use design

Cons

● Water is heavy (No fault of EDC but try it before racing a 50k with it)
● Water gets warm in summer (Duh, but the opening is big enough to add
ice!)

Test Run Reports:
1. Since this is called an “every day carry” I decided my first use would be taking the dog to the river. There was a little running involved but mostly just holding a leash while running the roads and throwing some sticks. I was really happy with how functional my hand was even when holding the bottle. It does not impede my ability to hold a leash or treats or various other items.

2. I was just starting to build miles again after a tough spring so my long run was the next test at 8 miles on the road with moderate elevation. This is where I felt the weight a little but it was not enough to affect my pace at all. I threw in a few surges and climbed a couple hills and never felt impeded which was my concern. I did not have anything in the pockets of the carry which allowed me to pick up a small tool I found along the road during my run. I like bringing home free running loot but I also thought it would be a good test of the pockets since the small but solid metal piece could have slid right out when running. I forgot it was there until I got home and heard the thump on the counter as I set it down so I am pretty sure the pockets are solid. I also tried taking the bottle off my hand, switching hands, and adjusting the strap while running and found it to be a no-brainer, easy on-the-fly adjustments.

3. The next test was an 8-mile rocky run around Lake Como. This time to combat the warm water I added a few ice cubes before leaving. The ice did not last long in 90-degree weather but the water did remain cool much longer. The opening on the bottle was large enough that adding ice was no problem. During the run I took the carry off my hand, gave it to my wife and had her carry it for a few minutes, which she handed back. This was all done on the run which would not have happened with an old velcro strap and a hard bottle I had used in the past. She did like the feel and the design but the weight of a full bottle was more than she expected. She rarely carries a bottle and if she does it only holds about 5 ozs. Continuing around the lake I felt like I was able to maintain my pace and flail my arms when needed for a particularly fast and rocky descent.

4. The last true test was plogging during the Great American Running Store celebration at Runners Edge. Rubber glove on one hand and water bottle in the other…where do I carry the trash? Well the strap allows me to carry it in a few different configurations so during some of the plog I turned it so the bottle was on the back of my hand which left my fingers, thumb, and palm completely unobstructed. I would not recommend running this way at a fast pace with a full bottle but that is not the purpose of plogging. This gave me a gloved hand to pick up trash, a hand to carry the trash bag, and a bottle that stayed clear of contamination. I also carried a car key in one of the side pockets and had no real fear of losing it. There is supposed to be a “secure key pocket” but I think it is a little small for the modern, giant car keys.

5. Bonus Report- After a successful run many people like to sit down with a cold beverage. It is always wise to ensure you are hydrated to properly maintain your healthy lifestyle. Now if you happen to be well hydrated because you were able to easily carry 0.5L of water on your run then you might be interested in having alternative recovery beverages. I have heard that 16oz cans fit well! Maybe I need to skip the run and just bring this to my next BBQ!