TEST SERIES BY GREG MCDONALD
October 09, 2008
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
gdm320 AT yahoo DOT com
Boynton Beach, Florida
6' 0" (1.83 m)
225 lb (102.00 kg)
I have been camping for 15 years, 11 of them have been spent hiking in the backcountry. My hikes are almost exclusively in Florida and generally range between one and three nights. My all-time favorite hike was a 10 day expedition in the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, New Mexico. I consider myself a lightweight but comfortably equipped hiker, with a pack averaging between 25 and 30 lb (11 and 14 kg).
Product Information and Specifications
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: www.humangear.com
MSRP: US $5.95
Materials: #5 Polypropylene (100% Polycarbonate and BPA free)
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Overall Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
Designed in the USA
Made in China
The humangear website gave me quite a few upfront expectations about the capCAP. The website is very well designed, easy to navigate, and thorough. Probably the most important detail included on the humangear site is the list of bottles compatible with the capCAP: Nalgene 1L, Nalgene Everyday/OTG, CamelBak, Nalgene and Guyot Stainless Steel, and Stansport bottles.
The website pitches the capCAP as the solution to the typical nuisances with wide-mouth bottles. Wide mouth bottles are difficult to drink from, and narrow-mouth bottles are a bear to clean. The website lists what humangear considers to be the defining features of the capCAP which are the small spout for drinking, the removable large cap for cleaning, the rubberized cap for a sure and easy grip, and the "wider, rounded strap" for comfortable carrying.
It's fair to say that from a thorough study of the website I expected a luxury item, an upgrade from a standard bottle cap.
There are 3 parts that come together to form the capCAP. The first is the gray "base cap" (pictured at left, Fig. IR-1) that screws directly onto the bottle. It is circular (no real surprise there) in shape and is approximately 2.5 in (6 cm) in diameter and .75 in (2 cm) tall There are a total of 6 indentations running along the edge, presumably for grip. The texture is quite smooth without being too slippery, at least not when dry. Overall, the cap does not feel brittle but is still rigid. As much as I pressed and squeezed both the base and the spout with my fingers and hands the capCAP never flexed much or buckled. As seen in the photo, the base cap includes the drinking spout. The threads on the drinking spout are kept well near the base of the spout, providing a smooth drinking surface for my lips to rest on. The spout is roughly 1.25 in (3 cm) in diameter and is also .75 in (2 cm) tall. The base cap portion accounts for about half of the total weight of the capCAP at 0.7 oz (21 g).
The second component is the spout cap (pictured at right, Fig. IR-2). It has a similar design to the base cap with its 6 indentations running around the cap. It is bright green in color, and is soft yet firm in texture. It is difficult to describe how the cap actually feels, in that it grips very easily as it is almost tacky or sticky to the touch. The threads on the spout cap match with the threads on the base cap, in that it is only threaded at the base. The spout cap adds .5 oz (13 g) to the total weight of the capCAP.
The final piece of the capCAP puzzle is the connecting strap (pictured at left, Fig. IR-3). The connecting strap, as one might imagine, connects the base cap to the spout cap on all of the compatible bottles except for the 1L Nalgene (more on this later). There are grooves at the base of both the spout cap and the base cap for the coordinating loops in the connecting strap to hook into. The capCAP strap is black in color and soft to the touch with thicker, rounded edges. The strap is flexible and easy to manipulate, but initially appears strong enough to avoid stretching under reasonable tension. Overall the strap is roughly 4.0 in (10 cm) long and tips the scales at right around 0.2 oz (5 g).
It all comes together to form the 1.4 oz (40 g) capCAP, which initially meets the expectation that I entered this test with as an upgraded version of a standard bottle cap.
Initial Thoughts and Experiences
The product arrived in excellent condition, neatly assembled with the spout through a hole in a cardboard backing as seen in the picture of the product at the start of this report. The front is mostly just product placement information similar to what I found on the website, but the back side of the packaging had a few pieces of important information. First, it provides another list of bottles for which the capCAP is compatible. Second, it lists the installation steps - which I will get to next. Lastly, it lists the all important care instructions. humangear recommends that the capCAP be hand washed in warm water, so I think I will be avoiding my urge to take the easy way out and throw it in the dishwasher when it needs a cleaning.
As far as actually trying it out, first came the installation which was a breeze to say the least. For my Nalgene, there was really nothing to it - unscrew the old cap and remove the connection strap then reverse the process to attach the capCAP. Done. The first time I did it, it took me about 10 seconds. It doesn't get much easier than that. As I mentioned earlier, the capCAP attaches to my Nalgene different than the rest of the bottles the capCAP is compatible with. For all other models, I would simply leave the connecting strap in the groove on the base cap instead of slipping it onto the bottle itself as the Nalgene caps do. I would think there would be even less to it if I was connecting the capCAP to a different model bottle, which is something I may have to head down to a local sporting goods store to test for my long term report.
So far, I have been very pleased with my new found comfort drinking from my Nalgene under any situation. I submit that the chief purpose of this product is to improve my ability to drink easily from my bottles, and I have found this to be very true. The smooth spout is comfortable against my lips, and the diameter of the spout is very comfortable for me to drink from. In my experience thus far, I have had no issues with the bottle "burping" when I drink nor have I ended up wearing any of what I'm trying to drink whether I'm in stride hiking or moving about the office - which is more than I can say for my experiences without the capCAP.
Another brownie point for the capCAP is how easy both the base cap and the spout cap are to grip, and therefore to screw and unscrew. The green spout cap provides a very sure grip even on such a small surface, and I have been able to very easily tighten and loosen the cap even when it is wet. The base cap doesn't have the same tacky grip as the spout cap but the size, texture, and indented ridges still provide a comfortable grip when wet or dry, and I will monitor whether this pattern continues throughout the test period as more wear is put on the capCAP.
In addition to all of that, I'm one of those people that carry their water bottle by the strap. I must admit that I have grumbled to myself while carrying my full Nalgene for longer distances that the edges dig into my fingers and cause some discomfort. The rounded edges of the capCAP seem to alleviate this aggravation, but I will be paying close attention to whether the strap wears and tears more than the Nalgene strap. When I climb, for example, I hook a Nalgene into a carabiner on my climbing harness so I always have water handy and I need a strap that can handle the punishment and support the weight.
I have only bumped into one hiccup during my initial use with the capCAP. Part of the design of the capCAP is the threading on the spout being low towards the base, forming the smooth surface for my lips to rest on that I noted previously. What I've run into is the need to retrain my brain to ensure that I press down slightly on the spout cap when screwing it back onto the base cap to ensure that the threads catch properly. I'll admit, I absent mindedly sat at my desk screwing the cap for something like 15 seconds while focusing on something else before I realized that I wasn't getting anywhere. To call this a design flaw wouldn't be fair, since as I mentioned before the benefit is a comfortable drinking surface. For my long term report I will be paying attention to how long it takes my subconscious to catch up and the proper technique becomes my habit.
For the purposes of this test series, I will primarily be conducting testing of the humangear capCAP with one of my two standard 1L Nalgene bottles. In an effort to stay hydrated, I carry a Nalgene with me everyday and the capCAP will be joining us. I intend to subject the humangear capCAP to rigorous and constant usage, and I feel pretty confident saying that it will take some punishment along the way.
The standard Nalgene cap that I replaced the capCAP with weighs 0.7 oz (18 g), and even though I am entering this test with full knowledge that what I'm looking at here is a luxury item the capCAP must still perform up to par to earn its keep. So far I have been impressed with the intuitive and comfortable design, the drastic improvement in my ability to drink from my Nalgene while moving about, and the excellent grip of both the spout cap and the base cap. I haven't found any real dislikes thus far but I will be monitoring the capCAP's durability, the performance of the connecting strap, and how long it takes me to wrap my head around the threading system that joins the base cap to the spout cap.
This concludes my Initial Report on the humangear capCAP. Many thanks go out to BackpackGearTest.org and humangear for the opportunity to test this clever little product.
Field Conditions and Locations
The South Florida summer has been a hot and wet one. We have been seeing temperatures ranging between approximately 80 F (27 C) in the evening through 92 F (33 C) in the afternoons (the "feels like" temperatures in the daytime was routinely in the high 90s F (37+ C) up to the low 100s F (39+ C) and daily relative humidity has ranged between approximately 60% and 90%.
The trail locations where I have been testing the humangear capCAP include Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the rim trail of Lake Okeechobee, and the Ocala National Forest. I have used the capCAP attached to my Nalgene bottle over approximately 60 trail miles on 2 overnight hikes, 1 multi-night hike and 1 full-day day hike. Rounding out the trail miles I have used the capCAP on several shorter day hikes.
As stated in my Initial Report, I carry a Nalgene bottle every day to stay hydrated. I would estimate that I have used the capCAP on a "day to day" basis approximately 65 times over the course of the testing period at work, at the gym, and pretty much anywhere else I need to stay hydrated. Normally I would not find information like this particularly relevant, but I include them in my data because these uses have reinforced my experiences in the backcountry.
Frankly, I love this thing. I've spent most of the last 3 months sweating like a dog in a Chinese restaurant and the need to stay hydrated is critical. Sure the capCAP is a luxury item, but the added comfort and functionality, to me, is well worth the minuscule increase of 0.7 oz (20 g).
Just as I originally noted in my first report, the capCAP is very comfortable to drink from. The biggest problem with wide mouthed bottles is how often I end up covered in whatever I am trying to drink. This is a problem that I face when on the trail because I am one of those hikers that does not break stride to take a drink. The capCAP has completely solved this problem for me. I have not had any issues with spilling or burping from the mouth of the capCAP whether I am stationary or moving. I really like how the spout is designed with the threads isolated at the base and the large smooth drinking surface for my lips to rest on. The fact that I have access to the wide mouth so I can stuff my Nalgene with ice and still have the small spout to drink from is priceless. I couldn't be more pleased with how comfortable the capCAP is to use.
The capCAP is easy to use in every way. Originally, I had a concern about the learning curve I'd have to suffer through before I got used to the threading system on the spout. I am happy to report that I got over that in about a week and haven't had problems leaving the cap off or unscrewed. Both the spout cap and base cap have proven to be easy to grip and tighten or loosen under any of the conditions I have faced, including when faced with sweaty palms or wearing work gloves. I have become a pro in swapping the Nalgene caps for the capCAP as well. When I'm on the trail and finish off a water bottle, I can easily swap the Nalgene cap for the capCAP in less than 10 seconds and be back on my way.
The connecting strap is certainly an upgrade to what comes standard on most water bottles. The strap is relatively comfortable to hold and has proved very durable. It has performed in a manner in which I am confident in how sturdy it is and it is fully capable of supporting the weight of a full Nalgene bottle. On several occasions I have carried my Nalgene by the capCAP's strap hooked into a carabiner attached to my climbing harness. This is especially useful because it keeps my water handy and easily accessible and is pretty much the only way I could take water up a climbing wall with me.
The capCAP is easy to clean both at home and in the field with a little soap and water and some elbow grease. I have only hand cleaned it because I'm not willing to risk warping in the dishwasher but a thorough cleaning only takes a minute or so. It is easy to get into all the nooks and crannies so I never dread having to clean it.
The durability of the capCAP has also impressed me. It is strong and sturdy and has shown just how well built it really is. Even with the considerable use I've put on it in the last 3 months, I can find very little wear and tear. The threads are not chewed up or bent at all like I tend to see with regular plastic caps. Cosmetically, there aren't even really any scratches and there has been no discoloration. As I mentioned above, even the strap is in almost perfect condition.
No product is perfect, but I had some trouble figuring out if there was anything bad to report. So I thought I'd report the only negative thing I've noticed, which is the foul smell that eventually creeps in after several days of consecutive use without being washed or rinsed. I would think this is caused by saliva that stays on the spout and in the spout cap threads and it builds up over time. I've noticed this is something that has happened with any water bottle I've ever used. I don't really fault the capCAP for it, I look at it as an inherent design flaw in any water bottle. With regular washing after each trip and rinsing between uses I have been able to minimize this problem.
I think I've made it clear that I think very highly of this product. Anytime I struggle to find anything wrong with an item I will find a permanent place for it on my gear list, and the humangear capCAP fits the bill. It is comfortable, intuitive to use, functional, durable, and I haven't found a luxury item with such a minute increase in my pack weight. humangear has an excellent little product here and I will certainly continue to use it for the foreseeable future.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
This concludes my test series on the humangear capCAP. I want to thank BackpackGearTest.org and humangear for the opportunity to participate in this test - it has been my pleasure. Remember to stay hydrated and...
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