After seeing several of my Instagram "friends" post runfies with these water bottle backpacks, I decided to do a little research to see exactly what it is they were wearing and if it would be worth a shot. I discovered that these backpacks were actually hydration vests made by The Orange Mud company. I had a little bit of a sticker shock at first, and wondered if it was worth the price. Like I said above, all the other belts and packs I have tried over the years were rather uncomfortable and/or did not hold enough water for my longer runs. And since I have wasted quite a bit of money on said apparatuses, I was pretty leery to purchase yet another item that could potentially be equally disappointing.
I read through the product descriptions, skimmed through the reviews asked a couple of friends who use them their opinion, and I was sold. With my training for the Chicago Marathon in full swing, I was desperate to find a product that would keep me well hydrated during this hot Florida summer and this seemed to be the answer. Before I knew it, I had the credit card out and ordered the HydraQuiver Vest Pack.
From the second I placed the order, the communication from the company was top notch. I received a confirmation email as well as a Facebook direct message from Orange Mud. The very next day, I received messages letting me know my item was ready to be shipped, along with a tracking number and when I could expect my vest. I also received an email with information and an instructional video on caring for and how to use the pack.
In just a matter of days, my package arrived and, as I always am when running stuff comes in the mail, was as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning! As soon as I opened the packaging and removed the vest, I could told why the higher cost, it was really high quality. Very durable, but lightweight, great padding where it needed it most, plenty of pockets, multiple adjustable straps to get a good fit, and a nice big water bottle. I couldn't wait to test this puppy out and see if it lived up to the hype, but I had a feeling it would!
I had a 14 miler scheduled for this week and I figured that would be the perfect time to take it for a test run. I cleaned the bottle the night before and filled it up with my Nuun hydration tablets and water in the morning. I put a couple of Honeystinger gels in one of the large front pockets and my GoPro (gotta get that runfie) in the other. In one of the shoulder pockets I put my key. I made a couple of quick adjustments to the straps and was off for my run.
About a mile or so in, I had to readjust the side straps, but the chest strap was a great fit. After that, I was good to go. Unlike many of the other belts and packs the ride up my hips, bounce and rotate around my waist and slosh around on my back, the snug vest stayed right in place. Despite wearing a vest I was not used to wearing in insanely hot temps and high humidity, the breathable material and great fit had me forgetting all about it at times. Well at least until I needed something.
I was able to reach back whenever need be, grab my bottle and take a few sips of much needed Nuun water. When I needed my gel, it was right there in my chest pocket. And when it was time to snap a photo of it all, my GoPro was easily accessible!
So to sum it all up. here is a quick little recap of the vest...
Great fit, easily adjustable
Good sized water bottle (I purchased single barrel but they also offer a double)
Very easy to clean
Plenty of pockets for gels, phone, keys, etc.
High quality materials and stitching, very durable
Free and fast shipping
Plenty of communication and helpful information from the company
I did hit the back of my head a couple of times on the top of the water bottle while looking up
Forgot to put some glide on my chest so I experienced a little bit of chaffing (lesson learned)
It was a little pricey, but it is totally worth it
Wish it had more color options (only comes in Orange and Black or Grey)
No local retailer, had to be ordered online, but again, free and fast delivery so can't complain
All in all it was a great purchase that will certainly get much use. I am so very grateful for this product and know it is going to help me during these hot summer training runs as I prepare for Chicago. If you are in the market for a new hydration belt or back, I highly recommend checking out an Orange Mud hydration vest!
Oh, and I almost forgot. About my run... Well, it was a little slower than I would have liked but I am grateful to have pushed through and gotten the miles in. I have been battling a bit of an Achilles issuesfrom an injury last fall and also decided to pull back a little bit because of the heat. But despite those two concerns, it actually went fairly well. It's definitely going to be a loooooong hot summer of training, but thankfully I have a new hydration vest to help with that!