Friday, December 6, 2013

Product Review: FitSip

A few months ago, I wrote about an innovative new hydration product that I discovered while reading Runner’s World online – The FitSip. I was lucky enough to have been contacted by the company to try out their product and do a review on it. My FitSip arrived in the mail a couple of days before Thanksgiving week (aka travel week) so while I was able to do a test run around my apartment, the first time I really tried it was at the Believe! 10K run last Saturday. I knew that it was risky trying something new on race day, but I felt something like this would be alright, but more on that in a moment.

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My review of the FitSip (Pro-Lite model)

The FitSip is a 100% hands-free hydration product that is worn on your forearm. There is an easy to use soft bite valve that allows for small sips of water while you run.

The Facts:
1. There are adjustable straps (one size fits all)
2. It can hold 220 mL of water (7.4 ounces)
3. It is BPA and Phthalate-Free
4. The armband is made from stretch-cool airprene
5. It features a hi-visibility safety strap in 6 different colors

Just below is a photo of the deconstructed FitSip. It holds your water/sports drink in what the company calls a ‘Waterpod,’ and it easily slides in and out of the armband.

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Now that you know a little more about the product itself, here are my thoughts and opinions.

Pros:

First, FitSip claims that their product is “so comfortable you might forget you’re wearing it, and impossible to drop, lose or leave behind while you’re out.” This is 100% true! I mentioned earlier that I was slightly worried about trying this out for the first time on a race day, and I have to say it did not bother me in the slightest. It stayed put exactly where I strapped it in, and the comfort level is great. The only time I ever noticed that it was there was when I wanted to roll up my sleeves. I wore a long-sleeved shirt and warmed up more than I expected to during the race. With the FitSip on my right arm, I could not roll the sleeve up as quick as usual, but it was an easy adjustment. I just loosened one strap at a time (there are two), and rolled up my sleeve a little at a time, and I was back to concentrating on my run after about a minute.

My absolute favorite thing about this product is the fact that I do not have to wear a hydration belt or carry a water bottle with me during a run. I do not enjoy carrying things while I run, and the weight of a hydration belt pulls the strap into my stomach and causes me discomfort. Because of these reasons, I rarely have water with me during a run. I always have to go to a trail with water fountains or depend on the water stops at a race for hydration. So, I love that I did not have to stop for anything while wearing the FitSip.

I also I want to give FitSip a shout out for the high visibility strap on the armband. I think this is a great addition to the product, especially for runner safety, and I love that you can choose from six different colors!

The last pro of this product that I want to mention is that it is super easy to use, and that it does exactly what it says it will. It helps you “keep your mouth moist.” If you are expecting to chug down water on this product, you will be disappointed. However, if you are like me and just need small sips of water every once in a while during a run, then this product is absolutely something you should try!

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Cons:

I have to admit there aren’t many, but there a couple of things on which I would like to comment. While this product is absolutely worth trying in my opinion, it is only available online for those outside the UK. This could definitely be an issue for someone who prefers to shop in stores and get an initial feel for a product before they purchase it.

Furthermore, it is sold in the British Pound currency, so you’ll need to pay the US dollar equivalent + international shipping, so the product will be more expensive than it looks online. Also note that the bite valve needs to be replaced approximately every 6 months, and the Waterpod every 12 months, so if you do purchase this product, I would order a few replacement items as well to help make the international shipping less of a burden in the future.

FitSip helps alleviate these issues with their returns and refunds policy. You can get a full refund if you ship your order back (at your own cost) within 15 days of receiving it.

My recommendation to help remedy these inconveniences even more would be to have a booth at some of the bigger race expos in the US so people can get a feel for and test out the product. The runDisney expos would be a great place to do this – there are always lots of runners, new and experienced, looking to try new products!

A Final Thought:

The last thing I want to mention about the FitSip is the amount of mileage for which you use it. This of course depends on how much water you generally drink during a run, as well as the temperature and humidity level. Since it holds 7.4 ounces of water, make sure you have enough water with you for the mileage you run, or that you run near a water fountain to refill it as needed. For myself, on a mild to cold weather day, I could probably use it for up to a 2 hour run. On a hot and humid day, I would need to have a backup source of hydration (or a nearby water fountain). Of course, everyone is different, and so always do what is best for you!

FitSip Pricing:

FitSip Pro-Lite: £23.99 or $39.17
Replacement Waterpod: £10.99 or $17.94
Replacement Bite Valves: £5.99 or $9.78
Cleaning Tablets: £4.99 or $8.15

Right now they also have the Christmas bundle, which includes a FitSip, a replacement Waterpod, 2 replacement bite valves, as well as a package of cleaning tablets!

Christmas Bundle: £35.99 or $58.80

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So, I know this was a long review, but I want to make sure everyone has any and all information they need before they choose to try FitSip or not. I hope you do, though, because it really is a fantastic product, and I am rooting for it to make its way to stores in the US soon!

QOTD: How do you stay hydrated on a run? Would you try a FitSip?

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me by FitSip. I did not receive compensation for this post and, of course, all opinions are my own.

4 comments

  1. Thank you for being so thorough in the review. I think this is a great idea, but to be honest, if I have to buy replacement parts for it, I probably wouldn't use it again after that. ( it just seems like a costly thing to do, maybe I'm just cheap...haha)

    Did you have to hold your arm to your mouth at an angle ( like you would holding a cup), our did you sip it out of the pouch like you would sip with a straw? Also, I wonder if other small water bottles would fit in the arm band? I do have a small hand held bottle, but I haven't even taken it on a run yet.

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    1. No, the idea of spending the money on international costs for a small replacement part is absolutely something to take into consideration. I think that once they come to the US it will be much better because of the easier access to everything!

      I just had to hold my arm up to bring the valve to my mouth - once you do that, you bite the valve and you can either suck like you would a straw or tilt it a tad higher to let the water come out a bit more. That is really only when the water gets low though - when it's full, all you need to do is bite down on the valve and the water comes out pretty easily.

      The armband would not fit any water bottle I have seen in stores. It was definitely made for the Waterpod.

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  2. Interesting! I've never heard of this product but I might just have to invest in one of these :) I have to carry water with me but HATE carrying a water bottle as it causes my shoulder to cramp. I don't like the hydration belts either for the same reason you don't like them - they're really uncomfortable. I may just have to send a little note to Santa...

    Thanks for the review!

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    1. Yuck, shoulder cramps are such a horrible pain!! Stomach discomfort vs shoulder cramps... 1st world runner problems? lol That is why this product is so great, no discomfort!! Let me know if you end up getting one, and how you like it!

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