No pun intended, okay, it is a pun… but I got my hands on these babies in 2012 at Transvulcania La Palma and Zegama. I was with the R&D guys from Salomon at Zegama and was provided with a couple of these beauties try while out on our run up to the top of the Zegama course.
The Salomon Sense Hydro S-LAB Set is an interesting concept. Many of us have struggled and played around with many different ways to carry fluid while out on a run. For many a bladder is too problematic; you don’t know how much you have drunk, awkward to refill, sometimes they hold a taste, potentially un-hygienic if you don’t clean them properly. Of course an option is a pack that takes bottles on the rear or on the front in chest pockets. For me, if I am doing a longer race or training run this is my preferred option. Bottles are user friendly, easy to refill and of course you can see how much you have drunk.
An issue can arise though when running lighter, faster or shorter. A pack may very well be just too much… bottle belts? Mmmm, well so many of them are just not comfortable. Way too much bottle bounce (that is until THIS came along, the S-Lab Skin Belt).
For me an option has always been hand bottles for my hydration and if required a light belt for carrying essentials (but not bottles).
Hand bottles, you either love them or hate them. Personally I love them… they help free up your body and make drinking easy and regular. However, they can have downsides. Start with a bottle that is too big and you will know about it in the arms, shoulders and neck after a first run of any length… so start light and small.
Another problem is, quite obviously, your hands are ‘full’. Now on a non-technical or easy terrain this may not be an issue but as soon as the trail becomes ‘technical’ your hands may well be required, or at least your fingers. Bottles then can be a problem…
Step in the Salomon Sense Hydro S-LAB Set.
On first look you may very well think that this is a simple drink method over engineered. I guess in some ways it is… BUT it works and it works like a dream.
It’s simple and comes in two parts - the glove and the flask.
Imagine a cycling glove that just slips onto your hand with all 4 fingers poking through a large opening and your thumb through a separate gap. The glove fits tight offering a secure comfortable fit with no seams to cause irritation.
Turn the hand over and you have two large elastic straps. Quite simply pull your soft flask through the securing straps and then pull the loose elastic cord that sits on top of the glove over the nozzle and pull to the required tension and there you have it. A bottle secured in your hand but with full hand movement.
Currently the soft flasks are available in limited sizes but apparently the range will be available from 150 ml to 1000 ml. Now I am not sure if a 1000 ml flask would sit comfortably in the hand but I do know a 500 ml flask does!
In use I found not only the freedom of my fingers a revelation over previous bottles I had used but I also found that when I slipped, stumbled or had to use my hands to move debris or trees I could do so without having to worry about what was going to happen to the bottle. In addition, opening gels or food wrappers was equally no problem. I had full hand and finger movement (admittedly not as free as if I had no bottle) but certainly I had more finger dexterity with the Salomon Sense Hydro S-LAB Set than any other bottle I have used.
The other plus? The back of the glove is soft towelling… get a runny nose or a sweaty brow, no problem. Just use the back of the glove and wipe away in comfort.
A perfect fit can be found as they come in an option of sizes S, M and L and I understand the standard bottle will be 250 ml. Just as a note, my size was medium but I also had a large so if I needed warm gloves I could then put the Sense Hydro S-LAB Set over the top and keep my hands warm.
This product has been tested in race environments by the Salomon Team and if you look back at Western States and say Transvulcania La Palma you will see this product being put through it’s paces by the likes of Kilian Jornet, Andy Symonds, Rickey Gates and so on…
In summary, it works, it’s comfortable and it provides added dexterity. Recommended.
Salomon Running can be viewed HERE