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Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Kenmark Sports Armband Water Bottle > Test Report by Andrea Murland

Kenmark Sports Armband Water Bottle
Test Series by Andrea Murland

Initial Report - December 22, 2012
Long Term Report - May 23, 2013

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 27
Location: Kimberley & Elkford, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Initial Report – December 22, 2012

Product Information

Manufacturer: Kenmark Sports
Manufacturer's URL: www.kenmarksports.com
Model: Armband Water Bottle
Year of Manufacture: 2012
MSRP: US $29.99
Colour Tested: Blue (the bottle)
Other Colours Available: Black, Red
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: everything – 248 g (8.7 oz), bottle only – 125 g (4.4 oz)
Listed Capacity: 16 oz (0.47 L)
Measured Dimensions (approximate): 21 cm (8.3 in) x 11 cm (4.3 in) x 9 cm (3.5 in)

Description & Initial Impressions

The Kenmark Sports Armband Water Bottle is a water bottle holder that can strap to my arm for carrying during activities.

The bottle itself is aluminum with a threaded cap. The cap has a finger hole in it. The opening of the bottle measures 2.7 cm (1.1 in) across. I filled the bottle up to the brim and measured 18.6 oz (0.55 L), so the bottle definitely holds the advertised 16 oz (0.47 L).

The water bottle holder is made of neoprene with sewn seams. The top of the holder has a flap with a hole in it for going over the neck of the water bottle and fastening over the top of the bottle to hold it in place. The flap is stretchy enough to stretch over the top of the cap. The front of the flap has the Kenmark Sports logo on it. The flap stays in place using a hook-and-loop closure onto the front of the holder or pocket (more on that...). The manufacturer also suggests that the flap can be folded behind the bottle for quick access.

The back of the holder (facing my arm) has a sewn piece of fabric holding the two arm straps. Both straps are the same and are made of a stretchy material covered in hook-and-loop closure. The straps are adjustable in length using a sliding buckle and fasten by looping back on themselves.

The front of the holder (the side facing away from my arm) is covered in the loop side of a hook-and-loop fastening. To this covering is attached a pocket that the manufacturer advertises as being for things like electronics. The pocket measures 12.5 cm (4.9 in) x 8.5 cm (3.3 in) and has a clear plastic front. The back of the pocket is covered in the loop side of the hook-and-loop fastening. Also on the front of the pocket is a strip of loops at the top, so that the flap can attach if the pocket is on the holder.

The bottle came with a small set of instructions, which can be summarized as: wash by hand (before use and not with bleach), don't put in the microwave, and be careful with hot liquids.

Armband Water Bottle

Trying It Out

The water bottle holder is surprisingly comfortable. Although it feels a bit bulky and with only one on I feel a bit off balance, I think I'll get used to it. 'Tis the season of lots of clothes where I live, so I have no idea how it feels against bare skin...maybe by the end of the test period I'll be able to shed some layers. I thought it would be difficult to get the bottle in and out of the holder with one hand but the holder has enough structure that it keeps its shape and opening. I suspect I'll use it a lot of the time in “quick access” mode, but time will tell.

The pocket is just deep enough that I can squash my flip phone (without case) into it, or my ID and key, but probably not all of them. I definitely can't get my GPS in there (the item I most commonly carry – more often than a phone, ID, or key). I don't own anything with a touch screen so I won't be able to test whether it works through the plastic on the pocket. I almost never run or cross-country ski with music, preferring to listen for approaching bears or other wildlife (or dogs & humans), but I might have to try it for this test, since my mp3 player will fit in the pocket.

I am curious to see whether the holder offers any insulating properties in winter for both hot or cold liquids and how the bottle performs in those situations.

Summary

I am pretty excited about testing the Armband Water Bottle. It seems like it will allow me to carry water while trail running and cross-country skiing, as well as day hiking and backpacking. I am especially interested in how it will fare during the cold winter weather.

Long Term Report – May 23, 2013

Field Conditions

I have used the Kenmark Sport Armband Water Bottle for running, cross-country skiing, hiking, and ski touring since my initial report, as summarized here:

Skate skiing: 16 times, duration of up to 2 hours, temperatures between -20 C (-4 F) and 5 C (41 F). Clothing was one to three layers of moderate insulation.

Running: 6 times, duration of up to 2 hours, temperatures between -15 C (5 F) and 25 C (77 F). Clothing was zero to 3 layers on my arm.

Hiking & Ski Touring: 9 times, duration of up to 2 days, temperatures between -15 C (5 F) and 10 C (50 F). Clothing was one to 3 layers thick.

Skiing

Observations

Ice on Bottle & Holder
Ice
General Use:
My very first use of the water bottle was on a cross-country ski at about -18 C (0 F). I was about 3 km (1.9 mi) into my ski, and I’d used the bottle once, when it seemed like my arm was feeling cold underneath the band. After some more skiing in denial, I determined that the bottle was leaking. I tried several times to re-screw on the lid with no luck. When I finished my ski and got home I had a very soggy arm, frozen clothes, and the water bottle and holder had a layer of ice on them. Thankfully, that is the only leak I’ve had over the course of the test.

I have found that the lid of the bottle is easily put on crooked and not threaded properly. I frequently have to try a couple of times to get the lid on properly. I suspect that my leak event was caused by this, followed by being iced up and unable to be screwed down properly.

I used the holder in quick access mode almost exclusively. I found that, even with the bouncing movement of running, the bottle was secure in that position. It was much easier to get the bottle out of the holder one-handed, with gloves on, and without taking my ski poles off.

Although the holder did a good job of holding the bottle and giving me quick access to my water, I found that it was a bit of a pain when hiking or ski touring. During those activities, I often access my backpack to change layers, get out food, etc. With the holder on my arm, getting my pack shoulder straps on and off was a challenge, and I had to modify the order that I usually put on my shoulder straps. In addition, if I was changing layers, I had to take off the Armband Water Bottle in addition to my pack and my clothing. This wasn’t really a concern while running or cross-country skiing, as I don’t carry a pack and rarely remove layers during these activities.

The pocket I usually used for my cross-country skiing pass. When running I put my ID and occasionally my phone in the pocket. I did try it with my mp3 player once while ski touring, but found that it made it even harder to take my pack on and off because of the headphones getting caught on things. Since I don’t generally take music with me outside, it was easy to give that up as a feature.

Other than the ice on the outside of the bottle while it was leaking, I never experienced any freezing in the bottle during day trips. On my overnight trip the bottle did freeze while in the tent overnight, at about -15 C (5 F).

Comfort & Fit:
Shattered Pocket
Pocket
I found the armband to be generally comfortable when worn over clothes. On bare skin, the straps are a bit scratchy and after 30 minutes or so start to get noticeably uncomfortable. When running with bare arms and wearing the armband, there were red marks and light indentations on my arm. I did find that I had to tighten up the straps a lot or the holder would slip down my arm towards my elbow as I moved, which rapidly became extremely irritating and would necessitate stopping to fix the issue. There seemed to be a small window between being tight enough and too tight and constricting. It seemed that over the course of the test I had to tighten the straps more and more, but I have no real data to support my theory that the straps may have stretched. I will note that I was generally wearing fewer layers as the test progressed, so that may have contributed.

I found that the Armband Water Bottle was comfortable while cross-country skiing, ski touring, and hiking – low impact activities. While running, it bounced a fair bit and was less comfortable, but manageable. I think I still prefer it to any other water carriers I’ve tried for running.

Durability:
The water bottle has a few scratches on it where the blue colour has come off, but otherwise the bottle looks good. Unfortunately, the plastic on the front of the holder is broken. It shattered when I touched it the morning of my overnight ski tour, after spending the night at about -15 C (5 F). As I mentioned above, I think the straps might be stretching, but they still work.

Summary

The Armband Water Bottle has been a good addition to my kit. It was especially useful while cross-country skiing for carrying water, and is comfortable enough that I will carry it while running, which is better than my usual practice of not carrying any water at all! However, I will probably continue using my existing hydration setups for hiking with a backpack.

Thumbs Up:
Easy access to water
Bottle was secure in the “quick access” configuration
Able to use it with gloves and ski poles on
Pocket for small items

Thumbs Down:
Pocket front shattered
Straps may be stretching
Complicates taking a backpack on or off

Thanks to Kenmark Sports and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test this product!



Read more reviews of Kemark Sports gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Hydration Systems > Bottles > Kenmark Sports Armband Water Bottle > Test Report by Andrea Murland



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