Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Keeping Your Water Cozy

There are a few essential items you need if you're a runner, to keep you outside during the cold winter months.  Some good grips on your shoes so you don't slip on ice, appropriate running gear so you can stay as warm as possible, and a way to keep your hydration from freezing.  Oh yes, a real issue.

It dips below -10C and making sure you have hydration (& fuel!) for your longer runs becomes a real issue.  Tucking it inside your jacket, putting it inside your mitts (your gels and bars anyways), and even inside your bra (yes I've done this with my phone).

Last year to get around this, I sewed a cozy for my phone, and a cozy for my water bottle.  It was pre hydration pack days, and the days of my Iphone 5 battery that would die if it 0C.  I took some quilt batting, and some minky fabric left over from my sons baby quilt, and made little pockets.  Because my phone was so finicky, it was only taken out in dire conditions because as soon as it was exposed to the elements.  Zip it had no battery and turned itself off.  The comical part to this, is once it was warmed back up, turn it on, battery was back to where it had been.  Anyways, the water bottle cozy also worked well.  It fit into my waist pack, and between the cozy and flipping my bottle upside down, I was in business.

But I switched to a hydration vest last year, and the day before the Last Chance a couple weekends back, I called my brother in a mild panic.  How do you keep your hydration pack from freezing?  He wore it under his jacket.  I got off the phone and thought there HAD to be a better way.  So as a crafter and sewer, I set to work.

For the brief mockery I got, this hydration pack cozy was AMAZING.  My water folks was room temp until 16K, and it NEVER froze.  Nor did any of fuel.  I had the pack under my jacket, and my fuel inside the vest.  Not only did it keep my water warm, it also kept me warm!  The quilt batting on my back proved to be a nice source of warmth.

Here's how you too can make your own if you're crafty inclined:

You need to be able to have the cozy come off easily, so either a zipper needs to be put around, or in my case, I used a metal snap closure.

First, trace around the outside of your pack where your hydration pouch sits.  You need to cut this "pattern" out of both your quilt batting (twice), and once with a cover fabric (or twice if you also want to cover the back).  The back of mine is only the quilt batting.  For the purposes going forward I'll describe how I constructed it for my UltraSpire vest, as each pack will be slightly different.

First you need to attach your metal snap to both pieces of quilt batting.  Mine had prongs that flipped out, so I just needed to push the prongs through the batting, then push the prongs out sidways.  With that done, I sewed together my flannel with one of the quilt battings using a 1/4" seam, flipped inside out and pressed (piece A).  For tidiness purposes, I took the second piece of batting and sewed the edge in 1/4" (piece B).  I then sewed piece A to piece B, only along the BOTTOM until it hit the lower set of ties.  Hydration packs need to be washed, and I didn't want anything complicated to have to take apart on a weekly basis.

Side view so you can see that only the bottom of piece A and B are sewn together, leaving the side open.
So how does it actually stay on??  Along the top edge, both piece A, and piece B have a piece of velcro in the corner, sewed down on a diagonal to keep the velcro secure.

And voila!  One hydration pack cozy to keep you, and your water, nice and warm.  A fellow runner commented after the run that all of her gels were frozen as well as her water.  That was the point I was really glad I took the few (maybe half hour?) to sew this cozy together.

If you make one, I'd love to see how yours turns out.  Keep warm friends!

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