I fell in love with the idea of the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Packs long before I had one. I watched other runners with them and, thought they look just a little odd at first, the more I heard the more I knew I needed one. Just like the founder of Orange Mud, I went through a lot of different water carrying options and none seemed to work for me. My shoulders are already bad, so handhelds for more than a couple miles were out of the question. The belts I tried bounced and rode up and I spent more time walking and fidgeting trying to get them right than I spent actually running....which to me pretty much defeats the purpose. I got an off brand backpack bladder style system that I liked, but I didn't like not being able to see how much water I had left. Having run out of water on a run a couple times before I get very nervous about it, especially when the Florida heat index seems to climb unbelievably high. The nail in that coffin was the fact that I am not always a responsible adult and sometimes forgot to empty out the water bladder in a timely fashion which can be pretty much impossible to clean.
So, while I had fallen in love with the idea of the HydraQuiver, I was nervous that using it wouldn't be as magical as I hoped and that I would be back to square one. I have never ever been more happy to be wrong!
I tested out the VestPack1. There is also a VestPack2, a Hydraquiver, and a Hydraquiver Double Barrel.
The VestPack options have an additional strap in the front and two additional pockets on the front. I loved the added pockets for all my goodies and the strap fit me well. They do recommend that women with larger busts might be more comfortable in the Hydraquiver series as they strap may not fit as well. I certainly didn't notice an issues!
I love when shopping is made easy and it's a one size actually does fit pretty much all kind of deal. The Hydradquiver VP1 fit me, fit Charlie, and fit Hank (sorta).
What It Holds
Obviously the amount of water you carry depends on whether you choose the single or double barrel model. I am already saving up to get the double barrel version for the next time I take on ultra training, but for most purposes the single bottle is more than sufficient. I just used it for a 7 mile trail run with a friend. It was 80 degrees, humid and we were both drinking from the one bottle and it lasted us until the end of the run. Being able to see how much water you are drinking and how much you have left does also help you to plan ahead and ration your water!
The pockets are also phenomenal. For that 7 mile run I was carrying two phones, two sets of car keys, two granola bars, almonds, tissues, and four pack of fruit snacks with plenty of room to spare.
As I make the transition to eating more "real" food while running (rather than GUs and such), the pockets have been indispensable.
OK now for the kicker. Everything can seem just right with a system until you actually put it all on and try to run with it. Things can fall apart pretty quickly from that point. Is it hot? Does it bounce? Can I reach my water? Is it heavy and awkward? Does it chafe? The list goes on and on. After the first mile in this pack I was ecstatic and just got more pleased from there. It doesn't bounce, chafe, heat up your whole back, weigh you down or leak all over. And I was able to reach the bottle and put it back on the first try. I intentionally did my first test of the taking the bottle out and replacing it maneuver when nobody was around but I was shocked that I never fumbled around for it and was able to grab it and put it back on the first try! And if you have met me you know coordination is not high on my list of skills.
The fact that the pack sits up high between your shoulder blades also means that it doesn't throw of your balance or make you feel like you are carrying a lot of weight. I love taking it out on trails because I know it isn't going to get in my way.
During my 50k it also kept my hands free for other things....like eating at aid stations ;)
As far as fit is concerned, if you want something that you can adjust once and pretty much forget you are carrying, this is the pack for you!
To start with, the Orange Mud packs are made in California, USA. Any business that keeps their production local is a winner in my book! The creator of the pack is also a runner so they are made to hold up to the things runners do. All of the parts of my pack have performed beautifully so far and I have not had any issues with the construction of the pack. It is, however, reassuring that Orange Mud stands behind their products and will work with you to replace or repair anything that goes wrong! Be sure to check out their "About Us" page to see more about how the packs are made and their guarantee!
I absolutely 100% recommend the Hydraquiver VP1! I am madly in love with mine and can't believe how much simpler it makes carrying water and fuel on my runs!
Have questions I didn't answer? Let me know!
Want to try one for yourself? Use the code 'BIBRAVE' to save 15%!