We first discovered the Gel-Bot while researching products for our Hydration Guide – BTA. While the Gel-Bot definitely piqued our interest, we couldn’t fit it into our review schedule at the time. So when we came across the bottle a few weeks later, we knew it was time to give it a closer look.
What makes the Gel-Bot so unique is that it houses a small flask capable of holding 2.3 oz. of gel (or any other liquid) inside of the bottle. Both the flask and main bottle chamber use the same spout, which is essential to making this bottle work. When the spout is in the open position, liquids from the main bottle chamber are dispensed just as you would expect from a normal, everyday bottle. However, when the spout is in the closed position, squeezing the bottle actually forces the gel through the closed spout. There’s no gooey mess, no fussing with empty gel wrappers—it’s a simply brilliant design.
Runners may be especially attracted to this bottle because they can skip carrying a bulky fuelbelt or even shorts with pockets. The Gel-Bot will allow them to carry just a single bottle to handle both their hydration and fueling needs.
AeroGeeks’ initial attraction to the Gel-Bot however, was not to use it to carry gels. Instead, we were drawn to its ability to hold a few extra ounces of a liquid that is not our primary fuel. For example, we often we see riders carrying a can of Coke around just to have a small drink mid-way through their ride. Mike often made mention of how he liked having a little water on his long rides, but hated having to take up a spot on his bike for an entire bottle of water when he only wanted a few sips. The Gel-Bot has the potential to solve this problem.
Using the Bottle
We tested the bottle over a series of rides to get a feel for how it worked as a normal bottle, carrying gel, and carrying an additional liquid. Unfortunately, our initial test sample had a manufacturing flaw that prevented the bottle’s top from fully sealing. Upon contacting Hydrapak, they told us they had recently switched to a new bottle design, which featured a tighter cap, and rushed a replacement to us. The new design completely eliminated the leaking problem.
The bottle performed remarkably well though all of our tests. We were able to carry various kinds of gels and additional liquids with ease. The spout, which seems complex at first, worked perfectly. It actually surprised us how well the bottle’s design worked. When the spout was closed, you got gel. When the spout was open, you got liquid. It’s a simple but effective concept.
We also thought this bottle would be a great way for people new to consuming gels to get over any issues such as texture and consistency. For example, you can squeeze a bit of gel into your mouth and immediately follow it with the liquid contained in the Gel-Bot. This is a nice option for gel-newbies that need to quickly chase their fuel with liquid. What’s more, since gels are best absorbed when consumed with liquids, the Gel-Bot takes the thought process out of hydrating in conjunction with taking a gel. The liquid and gel are right there in the same place.
We also loved being able to carry an additional beverage on long rides without using one of our cages. Sometimes you just want a sip of water, coke, or a simply a different flavor of sports drink. The Gel-Bot gives you that option.
This is a very cool product with many uses. We recognize it’s not for everyone, as many athletes are perfectly happy carrying separate gels or using a single liquid through the entirety of the workout. But for those who are new to endurance sports, in need of a few extra ounces of an alternative liquid, or simply looking for an easier way to consume gels, the Gel-Bot is worth considering.