Now don't get me wrong, I really don't have an issue with my Nathan Hydration vest. What I have a problem with is the bladder... I know it sounds incredibly lazy, but I put diluted Nuun in my pack and I have to actually wash it out and make sure it dries properly so it doesn't get moldy or gross. I've had the pack for two years, and it has served me well, but I was looking for something "easier."
From the first time I saw someone wearing an Orange Mud pack, I was intrigued. Smaller pack style and water bottles on the back...
Initially, I tried the HydraQuiver Double Barrel. The whole point of having a hydration system of ANY kind is to have enough fluid for me to get through an ultra or a 4-5 hour training run. The price point was just right at $109.95. I tried it out on a 10 mile training run... and hated it. The fit was "off," I was adjusting it the entire run and I chafed under my arms. Now, I am prone to chafing under my arms anyway. I think it just moved around on me too much. I was super bummed about sending it back. (PS - one of the best things about Orange Mud is their awesome customer service. They are responsive to emails and process and ship orders practically immediately. They also allow you to TRY the pack, and if it doesn't work you can send it back for a full refund. Yep.)
Lucky for ME, they just released a VEST pack. I was super excited to try a different variation of the bottle hydration.
|Pic from Orange Mud website (I don't have a picture of me wearing it on my back...)|
First, the specs:
- Food/accessory pockets on the shoulders for quick access. (I use one of these pockets for chapstick, and the other for a small bottle of sunscreen).
- Front chest pockets for access to nutrition on the fly. (These pockets are much larger than they look. I can put a TON of stuff in them. In one, I put a map if I have one and my iPhone. In the other, I put all my nutrition and car keys - if I don't have a pocket somewhere else).
- Bottle based hydration for easy fill, easy clean-up. (Now, the pack comes with two Orange Mud bottles, but really, any sports bottle will work. I fill one with Nuun and one with plain water).
- Medical grade mesh for maximum breathability. (It is so small compared to my hydration vest, I don't feel nearly as "confined" and sweaty as I used to).
- Adjustable bottle capacity from 21 to 26 oz. (Comes with two 24 oz bottles, so 48 oz of fluid total. Less than what my vest capacity is, that held up to 70 oz. I feel that I'll rarely need more than 48 oz., so for now, this is not an issue).
- Dual side macro adjust, front micro adjust. (The chest strap makes a HUGE difference for me. I only find myself needing to readjust if I am adding another layer of clothing).
- Sturdy under a sprint or slow and steady. (No issues with this, although I don't ever actually "sprint").
- Glove like design for a comfy fit. (This pack DOES, in fact, fit me quite well).
- Bungee on the back, in between the bottles. (I used this feature when I went hiking last weekend and I was easily able to bungee a long sleeve shirt, and did not notice a difference in the fit after doing so).
- And... my favorite of all? MADE IN THE USA!!!
Like anything else I review, I really wanted to use this a few times under varying circumstances to get a real feel for it. I really like that it is so small and compact, and SO easy to clean. Even if my Orange Mud bottles are dirty, I of course have a billion other bottles that I could use in their place. It seems much more sanitary to me than a vest, and honestly, I was starting to have a hard time opening and closing the nozzle on mine, especially if my hands were cold. NO ISSUES WITH THAT!
If I had to make a complaint about this product, it would only be the elimination of the back pocket from the Hydra Quiver Double Barrel. There are some items I rarely, if ever, use on a run and want to store away out of the way of stuff I do use. (Tissue, batteries for a headlamp, first aid). However, Orange Mud (of course) has already addressed this, and I spied on Instagram recently that there will be an additional purchase option of a zippered "small pack" that would fit in between the bottles. When that becomes available, I may look into it.
Overall thoughts on this product:
- I love, love, love it. It perfectly suits my needs. I can carry BOTH water and Nuun, and the cleaning process is the easiest ever. Perfect for me since I have NO time to to be washing out a bladder every time I do a run longer than an hour.
- The vest does not bounce or move on me at all. With the adjustable straps on both sides AND the front, it really does fit like a glove.
- The water in the bottles obviously makes noise, but every run I have done in this pack (I tested the pack out on four different hikes/runs totaling over 10 hours of wear time) I ran without music and did not find it annoying.
- Related - my need for this product will almost always be during the summer months. Since I overheat very easily, I wanted to be sure that the pack itself would not chafe or aggravate my skin on my shoulders or back. Every time I wore this pack I was wearing a tank top or camisole (thin strap) top. NO rubbing or chafing on shoulders, back, OR, most importantly, under my arms.
- There is a TON of space in those front chest pockets. If needed, I bet I could carry a cheeseburger in one. (Hey, you never know. I get hungry).
Ready to get one of your own?? You can buy one HERE.