Gear Check – Nathan Handheld

This is the first of my ‘Gear Check’ series – testing out running gear as well as letting you know about some of my favorites!

First up is something I’ve really grown to love – my Nathan Thermal Quickdraw handheld.

When I first started running longer distances, I used a hydration belt. However, it hit my stomach in a high location, and caused pain – which isn’t good for the girl who has enough stomach issues on my own. I did get a Camelbak last Christmas, and still love it during the cooler months. (In the summer, it causes a lot of chafing/rubbing as I wear tank tops.)

So, I needed to try something new. Although I didn’t like running with something in my hand, I figured I would give a handheld a try. I did some research, asked Dorothy (Mile Posts) for her advice, and chose a Nathan handheld.

I decided on the one that fully covered the water bottle. I figured that may keep the water cooler in the summertime.

It also has a strap that goes all the way around your hand that can adjust to fit your hand.

 There is also a zipper pocket that can hold fuel, keys, ID, etc.

I will admit – it took some getting used to. Running with something in your hand is not easy! The strap does allow you to not have to ‘grip’ the bottle, however it isn’t exactly light when full of water!

At first I switched between hands and just couldn’t get the hang of it. Then on a super humid long run, I finally figured it out. I kept it in my right hand (opposite the arm my phone in the armband is on). I lightly held the top of the bottle and let the strap do the rest of the work. And I fell in love with it.

I ran with it at the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon and couldn’t have been happier! The volunteers would even fill up my water bottle at the stations. I loved having water with me at all times, whether to drink or pour on my head.

One drawback is it’s size. During the longer runs I do need to refill it – however I can’t imagine running with a larger bottle!

Now, I run with it for every run – especially in the summer heat. I think I have found a new hydration tool and plan on using it for the marathon!

How do you stay hydrated during your long workouts? 

About Megan

Megan is a runner, author, travelista and dreamer from Michigan. She is the co-author of Magical Miles: The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World. You can follow her journey at as well as Twitter and Instagram.


  1. I have a Nathan as well and can’t imagine going without it during long summer runs. It’s also fairly inexpensive as far as gear goes, so that’s a plus! :)

  2. I love my Nathan handheld! I didn’t know there was a thermal version available – I’ll have to look for that. I have a fuel belt that holds 4 bottles but it’s just too heavy for me. At most I can carry two of the bottles filled and even then it’s uncomfortable for my waist and low back. I’ve thought about a CamelBak for longer runs (my husband likes his) but for now the handheld works well for me.

  3. i have the same one in pink! it is a must on long runs and I put a GU and a tissue in the zipper pouch!

  4. I have a smaller handheld and love it! I agree – definitely took getting used to but I much prefer it to my hydration belt.

  5. Nathan Handheld fan here! Couldn’t live without it.

  6. I’ve tried many different things for having fluid with me; this spring I bought a Nathan’s handheld and love it. It’s a perfect size without being too bulky. As for needing to refill it, I’ve plotted out a few good runs to stop at a park to top it off.

Speak Your Mind