Monday, August 8, 2016

Two for One Special

Ryley with his Columbia Hydroflask waterbottle.
Summer camp sure presented an opportunity to test out some new gear. Unfortunately I didn't get to fully test out the bug bivy, but as luck would have it we did get a chance to test out several Columbia Sportswear items. Thanks to a quick trip to the Columbia outlet Ryley and I scored ourselves some Omnifreezel bandannas and Watertight rain jackets. While at the store Ryley also grabbed a Columbia branded 21 ounce Hydroflask water bottle .

Ryley with the Omnifreeze banadanna.

Ryley used his bandanna the first two days in camp but as the week rolled along the heat and humidity were less of a factor. Towards the end of the week we got to test out the rain jackets a few times. They kept us dry. In both cases there isn't much to say about how the items performed. They did their job of either keeping us cool or keeping us dry.

Ryley and his Hydroflask made it through the night unharmed.

What I would like to concentrate on though is the 21 ounce Columbia Branded Hydroflask water bottle. Because of sports Ryley has gone through several types and brands of water bottles. Some have fared better than others. We have used insulated and uninsulated water bottles and prefer the type that are insulated to keep his water cold.

A dented Columbia Hydroflask didn't stop Ryley.
The Skinny: Ryley is pretty hard on his water bottles. One of the insulated ones we have at home it missing a few pieces. The other has been beaten to death because of baseball practice where teammates literally beat it with baseballs. Ryley's week of testing was no different. I wouldn't expect anything less from a 9 yr old scout. He was constantly filling his bottle up with fresh cold water. When he wasn't filling the water bottle up, he was dropping in the dirt on the concrete and down the hill or leaving it sit out in the sun for hours on end.

Hits: As an insulated water bottle I already have expectations of what this product was going to be capable of. I must say it did not disappoint me in the least. It did a great job in keeping cold icy water cold and icy for long periods of time. It was left out in 100 degree weather, in full sun, and still managed to have ice sloshing around inside. But most days, honestly, were spent going from water cooler to water cooler filling it up with cold water. During the intervening moments the bottle was dropped on concrete, rolled through the dirt and mud, kicked across the field and generally abused every chance we got. It's dented, for sure, but I wasn't expecting it to be bomb proof. Despite being dented though it did hold up. The inner vacuum chamber was not compromised in any way. The paint chipped off a bit but not too much. I think we spent less that $25 all together (got it at a Columbia Outlet store) and it was the best $25 I have spent on a water bottle for my son. It is going to hold up for a while longer and we will definitely get out money's worth out of it.

Misses: There was only one major issue we had with the water bottle. We purchased the sport cap to make it easier for Ryley to drink his water, What I did find was that if the spout was open and you dropped the bottle in the dirt (happened more than I care to admit) it was difficult to remove the dirt from inside the nozzle. And when I say difficult it is keeping in mind we were camping with limited access to a place to wash his bottle out thoroughly. A very minor issue, but honestly that was the only negative thing I could come up with.

I honestly can say I have overlooked Columbia Sportswear all these years for more "high end" name brand equipment. I will not be making that mistake again. Not only do they provide quality gear it is at an affordable price, especially for a growing young scout. I plan on having Ryley test out some Columbia PFG gear in the near future. I'll definitely report back on how that went. Until then keep taking your kids outdoors...


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