Hydrate Mate water monitor, runner checking data

UK based ultra runner and product designer Andrew Saville likes to run with hydration packs, but all too often found himself far from home and surprisingly low on water. Currently there are no hydration packs that indicate their water levels or your consumption (without looking inside), so Saville invented the Hydrate Mate to conveniently provide this crucial data.

The Hydrate Mate is a small device that attaches to any hydration pack and measures how much water you’ve drank, and how much you have left. Your Bluetooth-linked smartphone displays your water level so you can check your supply by reaching into your pocket instead of removing your backpack.

For cyclists, the big question is: Where do you put your smartphone when you ride? If it stays in your pocket, the Hydrate Mate would make checking your water reserves a little bit easier. However, if you empty your pockets into your hydration pack this device provides a pointless and overcomplicated redundancy. The Hydrate Mate is seeking funds through Indiegogo, and their campaign is open until Feb. 24th. If your phone lives at your hip pr at your bar, gulp down the details below…

Hydrate Mate water monitor, diagram

The Hydrate Mate is a compact device that connects to any hydration pack where the straw meets the bladder. Using a sensor it measures the amount of pressure inside the bladder to determine how much liquid is inside it. The sensor also contains a tilt-sensitive accelerometer, which ensures you get an accurate reading with the pack sitting at any angle.

The collected data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to your smartphone. While the app is still in development, we can see in the promo video that a graphic display indicates your water level in several stages, and it appears voice notifications will be a feature as well (which would make the system completely hands free, and even more convenient). Unfortunately there are few details given about the voice notifications, but audible messages like ‘you have 50% remaining’ and ‘consider refilling soon’ as heard in the video would be extremely handy.

Hydrate Mate water monitor, device on bladder

The device weighs 79g and works with any hydration pack (some brands will require an adapter, which is included). The internal battery is non replaceable but has a lifespan of 3888 hours, which should last over six years under regular use (12 hours a week). The Hydrate Mate’s battery life is displayed within the iOS and Android compatible smartphone app, which will be available as a free download by the time the first units ship out.

Hydrate Mate water monitor, mountain bikers
*Photos and video courtesy of Hydrate Mate

To sum it up, there are some functional advantages to this device- You can check your water level without removing your pack, you can constantly monitor your water consumption, and serious athletes could use this data to study their consumption vs. output for training purposes. However, for cyclists it all rides on one condition- The Hydrate Mate is completely redundant if you carry your phone in your hydration pack – either open the pack to check your phone to check your water, or open your pack to check your water.

Early Indiegogo supporters can buy a Hydrate Mate for $28.50 USD plus shipping, but the retail price will eventually rise to $57. The device is available to customers worldwide and is expected to ship out by July 2016. The Hydrate Mate comes with a one year warranty, and you can check out the campaign here.

18 COMMENTS

  1. My toilet paper roll needs a Bluetooth device to let me know when it runs out, or when I’m using it.

    It should even tweet when I’m using toilet paper, and how many RPM the toilet paper spindle is spinning at.

    FML

    • There have been one or two “smart” water bottles on Kickstart error recently that do these things. I fume and quietly rage when I see them… then go and ride my bike during lunch to a further taco joint than usual to relieve stress.

  2. Maybe I’m not “extreme” enough, but if I am ever on a very lengthy outing, I ensure that I have enough water or enough to get me safely to another water supply. Shorter rides – worst case I go thirsty for 20-30 min. Doesn’t really hurt you.
    Its a neat device, I am just not sure the real application needs for this. Not to mention, it is typically better and recommended to drink when thirsty and go thirsty for said 30 min (even an hour+, should one run out) than to conserve water and set oneself up for dehydration because one isn’t drinking enough (sounds weird, but that’s how the body works).

  3. one of the shortfalls of using a hydration pack is that you can’t easily monitor the amount of fluid you’re consuming. I typically use bottles for xcm but occasionally the course will warrant a pack and I tend to underconsume. n = 1, ymmv… …etc. Perhaps this could help?

  4. It’s not that I want to be a retrogrouch, but if this isn’t the embodiment of “peak smart” then it’s a nudge over the brink into stupidity.

  5. For anyone with an ounce of common sense and a shred of dignity this device is a solution looking for a problem.

    But if this thing could display notifications on a garmin/suunto (direct integration without having to go via a smartphone) then obsessive XC marathon racers or endurance running types could be interested as it could help them decide whether they need to fill at this stream or have enough to make it to the next, without having to pause. [it goes without saying that if you are doing an XC marathon or endurance run then you have no common sense, and that if you haven’t the time to pause and jiggle your hydration pack to see how much is left, you have no dignity either;-P]

    @Jbikes, ‘drink before you’re thirsty’ is undoubtedly best when access to fluid isn’t restricted. When your supply is limited however, you do need to manage your consumption so that your kidneys aren’t simply dumping excess water which you have no way of replacing later. I.e. you need to drink what you need to maintain electrolyte balance, but drinking any more is wasted.

    FWIW, speaking of lacking common sense…the first time I ever used a hydration pack (hiking up a steep hill, on a 38°C day) I thoughtlessly drank the whole 1.5L before the rest of the party even stopped to pull out their water bottles; and of course promptly peed it all back out. I was very thirsty before we got to the first stream where I could refill. That was long before smart phones existed, and of course I haven’t been silly enough to make the same mistake since. But if you’re already thinking enough about your water consumption to bother with one of these gizmos, you _don’t need the gizmo_.

    • Some of the latest studies show drinking before one is thirsty isn’t great advice and in long events can set one up for hyponatremia and water toxicity. But those are usually on very long events (i.e. marathon), and usually for people with lower levels of training/endurance background that don’t fully research/understand their needs for fluid and electrolyte replacement for their level of exertion and environmental factors (ironically, people tend to get hyponatremia more when its hot). A trained athlete will typically know how much water they need to consume, but again, drinking before one is thirsty is now a debated science.

  6. If I could direct link to my Fitbit letting me know how much was left then maybe just maybe if think about it, but there’s no way I’m stopping to check my phone…
    And as said above, camel back already have a solution to this

  7. Can the hydration data be uploaded to Strava? That would be awesome! I can show off how I did a 4000ft climb on a 100 degree day with only 4 ounces of water! Sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂

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