Nathan Sports Pure Bottle

Despite being a leader in and advocate of hydration packs and belts, Nathan Sports has jumped into the competitive bottle fray with its Pure Bottle, a Lexan polycarbonate bottle featuring a flip straw bite valve.

Despite being a leader in and advocate of hydration packs and belts, Nathan Sports has jumped into the competitive bottle fray with its Pure Bottle, a Lexan polycarbonate bottle featuring a flip straw bite valve.

The concept allows drinking without unscrewing a top, splashing on yourself, or tipping your head, like with some other sport and Lexan bottles, and has been a growing area recently. Mostly, it seems appealing to the traveler or person-on-the-go who wants fluids without splash in a bottle that fits in most cup-holders and more easily in hands.

The Nathan bottle is like others of the 1-liter size -- it fits in the cup-holder, but only sort of. (For the metrically challenged, a liter is just over a quart.) It doesn't sit all the way down and can be a bit wobbly if your car cup-holder isn't a roomy or adjustable one. The smaller 700 ml bottle (a bit more than 24 ounces) is designed for bike cages and car holders.

We like the plastic Lexan because it is odorless and tasteless, and this bottle has a slightly concave center, making it a nicer fit in the hand than some others. We also like the finger loop that is a clip (much like on Nathan's sports bottles) because you can hold it easily and attach it to belts or bags.

Still, this bottle has a few drawbacks that could use some improvement before we're quite ready to rave:

• The flipping mechanism is easily pushed downward to open the straw, but not as easily flipped back closed to return the valve into a protected position by some people unless using two hands.

• Because the valve/straw then sits exactly vertical, it's not as easy to access and drink from as others can be.

• In contrast to others that close tightly and don't leak when a valve is flipped down, this one can and does dribble.

• When we found we had to bite the valve hard and also suck pretty hard, we analyzed the straw and found it was engineered too long, putting it too close to the bottom of the bottle and creating an anti-flow suction. Once we snipped off a tiny strip, the delivery was much smoother. But a consumer shouldn't have to analyze and clip straws.

Like others out there of this genre, the Nathan bottle is also available in a rainbow of attractive colors so you match your socks, your car, your screensaver or your pack. It comes with two extra straws (clipping to length required unless the company catches that flaw) and extra nozzles will be available soon too. The current nozzle can be easily flipped off for easy cleaning.

SNEWS® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)

Suggested Retail: $12 (1 liter), $10 (700 ml)

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