Fit Friday: Hydration Showdown

As any runner knows staying hydrated on a run is critical. However, like anything else we have preferences when it comes to what we consume. Along with what we consume, there are various ways to hold those liquids while on the run. Some prefer the hydration packs with bladders and others prefer the handheld bottles. I was a fan of the hydration pack until the friendly folks at Orange Mud introduced me to their Hydra Quiver, sending it to me to try out.

The hydration pack which I was using previously was the Nathan HPL #20 Hydration Vest, which I picked up at REI a while ago for $100. Even with one pack being purchased (Nathan Hydration Vest) and one being provided for free (Orange Mud Hydra Quiver), the following review is not influenced by either company but strictly based on the preferences I have for one over the other based on style and functionality.

Orange Mud HydraQuiver

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When I first received this bottle and pack I was a bit doubtful of how comfortable and quickly it would be to get a bottle in and out of the holster. After taking it out on a couple runs and races, I found it was very quick to load and unload the 24 oz bottle into the pack. The pack retails online for $84.95 and features several pockets and a zip up storage to store away anything important away from gels or other snacks that you might want to take on the run.

The pack also has several reflective areas to keep you safe while on the road. Perhaps the biggest benefit of the bottle system vs. the bladder is the ability to quickly refill the bottle at an aid station during a race or training run without ever having to take the pack off.

The downside of this particular pack is that the bottle that comes with it is limited to 24 oz, so if you are going out on a training run with few water stops, this product may not be something that can hold you over. However, Orange Mud does offer a double bottle version on their website.

Nathan HPL #020 Hydration Vest

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As I mentioned, prior to being given the Orange Mud HydraQuiver, I had purchased the Nathan HPL #020 Hydration Vest at REI for $100. The Nathan Vest carries a 2L bladder and features the Bite Me™ valve. The vest also features a light weight material that includes several pockets to store important items such as keys and phone that can be zipped away, while gels and snacks can be kept in near by easy to reach pockets.

The Nathan vest has several reflective areas to allow others to see you while on the run. The biggest benefit this pack offers is the 2L bladder. If you are going on long runs with few water stations, this pack can get you to where you need to go depending on the temperatures and distance.

The biggest downside I found with the Nathan Hydration Vest is the ability to quickly refill the pack during events. You have to take the pack completely off, unzip the top, and remove the bladder lock to refill the pack. Depending on how much you need to refill this can become a bit troublesome because of the readjusting of the pack itself once it is refilled.

So which do you prefer to bring along with you on long runs especially when hitting the trails? Are you team bottle or team bladder? 


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