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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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Hydrapak Softflask SmallGoing out for an adventure while on the road is a given when a need to sweat calls, but in warmer climes especially, that means carrying a bit of water is a must. Drinking fountains aren’t as easy to come by in other countries and strolling into a restaurant dripping sweat to ask for a drink isn’t necessarily looked upon so kindly in all cultures. Enter the Hydrapak SoftFlask.

If you are a fan of traveling light, as HI Travel Tales is, packing that extra hydration belt or pack makes you hesitate (unless of course you’re headed out a trip that includes lots of activity much more frequently, then a lightweight pack is a must).

We have found the Hydrapak SoftFlask to be nearly a divine intervention. The SoftFlasks are made of a soft, flexible BPA/PVC-free material that compresses as you empty them, allowing them to be stuffed into a pocket or tiny waist belt of most any size when empty. And the smaller ones (5 to 8 ounces, $12.99-$13.99) are small enough to carry in your hand, or in pockets and tiny belts even when full, giving you just the sip you’ll need for shorter adventures or in humid climates. One caution is to be careful about pressing on the tube-shaped smaller flasks too hard since the bite valve may leak a bit. The newer models profess to have fixed that issue and the company offers a “no-leak” warranty.

FYI, the small ones can also be used for gels or to mix gels and water, too.) We’ve also used these as an extra water carrier for longer adventures.

Hydrapak SoftflaskThe larger, bottle-shaped Hydrapak SoftFlasks (350, 550 and 750 ml or about 12, 17 and 25 ozs, $18.99-$20.99) and are great to carry in packs or bags for longer adventures – or even just around town on a hot day — allowing you to be environmentally smart and bring your own bottles without taking up valuable luggage space or buying plastic. The on-off twist nozzle is a bit tricky, though; we find we sometimes twist the wrong way and start to screw off the top. We did try the bottle-shaped flasks in a bottle-carrier waist pack and found it a bit floppy as it emptied; plus, it was then hard to retrieve for a drink while on the move after it started to flop.

HI Travel Tales Approved Official StampOne other caveat: The Hydrapak Softflasks don’t dry really quickly so you may find yourself packing them back up wet. They are anti-fungal, per the company, and admittedly we have yet to find unwanted growth in our flasks. And that’s a good thing – good enough for our HITT Seal of Approval.

All in all: One or two of these little feather light flasks is a no-brainer to toss into the suitcase.

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