From H2O to HERO!
A no bounce – No brainer!
Ok, so let’s just say first and foremost – “Happy Birthday erm (week) to me! 😉
And what better way to treat myself, than with one of the latest innovative running vests on the market. The ORANGE MUD – HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2!!!
Having now owned this compact vest for about a month and tested it in various running conditions, I’m gonna post my initial review…
…with a recognised reputation for their “No bounce, ultralight hydration packs”, Orange Mud have produced a vest pack (VP2) that I have been looking out for, for a while but was just never fully aware of it… what do I mean by this? Well, I haven’t realised the annoyance of a ‘wet back’ when running, until I read about the VP2 and realised that this was something that I didn’t have to put up with, even within the ‘hot and sunny’ conditions of Scotland! 😉 This was my first introduction of Orange Mud, so a lot of my initial fears and questions were soon answered. “What about bounce, chaffing, breathability, storage?” Having spent some time reviewing the company’s ethos and products, as well as customer comments and personal blog reviews, I was convinced that this was worth a spin!
Now, as I’ve previously blogged here, I can be a sucker for anything related to some of my comic, childhood movies and early Saturday morning tv shows. So when I noticed a rather unique similarity to the ‘Rocketeer’ and ‘King of The Rocket Men’ – showing my age now…! :o/ I had all the excuses I needed for the ‘human’ to please the ‘chimp!’ 😉
Running – WHAT A JOY!!!!!
Why has this idea of packing your running bottles higher and allowing your back to breathe, never been looked at before? #Genius! As other reviews have said, once you find that ‘sweat spot’ of tightening the pack’s straps, there is no bounce, no rubbing and in time, you begin to forget that you’re wearing it. Although there’s a mention of having this ‘sweet tight spot’, there is no restriction on your chest for breathing and the comfort that is found having the bottles on your shoulder blades, rather than bouncing up and down, side to side, with other ‘front based’ running vests, is to me, a ground breaking development to my own personal running adventures!
As you’ll see from my video clip, the bottles seem to be located, again using those magic words, in a ‘sweet spot’. I have to admit to REALLY wanting this pack to work, one due to the financial investment in it but also because if right, this product was JUST WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!
For a while now, I have been focusing on developing my ultra running adventures and looking at ways of running lighter but at the same time, not having to compromise too much with the few running necessities that I like to take onto the trails. I have been let down with the space and direct access of other purchases that I’ve bought, such as the inov8 vest and testing some from the Ultimate Direction SJ collection. The only constant vest that I’ve been going back to, was my trusted Salomon S-LAB – a great running vest that offers a lot of volume and capacity for long days on the hills, as well as supporting me with storing all the mandatory race kit for my recent UTMB race. BUT my back is fully covered with this vest and it doesn’t take long for it to get wet and stay wet for the remainder of my runs. I have always just accepted this, as all vests did this but not if they DON’T cover all of your back! 🙂 You will be surprised at how many storage options there are for you with this vest, with two expandable shoulder pouches, as well as two chest pockets. All offering adequate space for various munchies, gels, keys and if you’re like me, a monster Xperia Z2 mobile! I’d like to highlight the ‘expandable’ chest pouches and shoulder pockets, as my other concern of this product was that these areas of storage would allow it’s contents to bounce and wobble from side to side when running across technical terrain. This is not the case. I’m hoping that you’ll be able to notice, from my photos and short video clip, the tight but ‘expandable’ material that hugs and holds your items well and as promised “no bounce”. This material also allows you easy access for removing nutrition on the go and then placing it away, as you power off…! 😉 – I also chose the additional storage of the ‘accessory bag’, to allow me to take a rain jacket with me for those predictable Scottish trail running days! 😉 If you decide that you don’t want to invest in the additional pouch, you do have the existing drawcord that is found on the back of the vest for strapping a jacket or whatever else you might like to attach.
From my current experience, this bag will be adequate for supporting me on any ultra race, that I see myself running in the future, as well as long days out on the Scottish Munros. If any mandatory race kit was to exceed the limits of this current VP2, let’s say UTMB, I’m considering pairing it up with my current gem of a waist pouch the OMM. I am in time, going to see if it is actually possible to fit all of my UTMB gear within both the VP2 and OMM waist pouch, again allowing me direct access to everything without removing a bag, as well as keeping my back open to breathe. – we’ll see how this goes with my application for 2015…
The other ‘sweet spot’ of the positioning of this pack, is how easy it is to grab and reposition the water bottles. This goes back to my initial hope of really wanting this product to work, because this is the crucial moment where the test ‘fails’ or ‘flows’… To run and grab your drink, on the go, and then place it back in its holding pouch, is expected in today’s sport and the ergonomics of this vest are technically speaking – “BOBBYDAZZLER!” 🙂 I have migrated back to running with bottles or soft flasks again, due to wanting to keep a record of how much I’m drinking and how much I have left, when out trail running for those longer sessions. Previously I have used camel sacks/water pouches within back packs and waist belts but you are unable to keep an eye on what you’ve drank and crucially, how much you have left. For some reason, having tested a few of the SJ Vests, I wasn’t keen on solid bottles ‘bouncing’ on the front of my chest, so I went for soft flasks that sat snugly within my Salomon’s front pouches. One slight annoyance to point out here, is that within 6 months of using the soft flasks, one of them is now slightly leaking. I have heard of others mentioning this on forums and that Salomon haven’t been that supportive in replacing flasks that are still within their 12 month period. So, moving back to a solid bottle, that can now be placed on my back, still allowing breathability, along with ‘no bounce’ was a ‘no brainer!’
Enjoy the pics and video clip…! – P.S. no animals were hurt during the filming of this video, though my ever supportive and suffering wife was left stuck up a tree for – well…
…a little while…! 😉
Also: here’s what others AND the pros say…
“Our new vest pack which delivers the same comfort, has 2 expandable chest pockets, and attaches via a chest strap. The new VP2 vest pack utilises high end customised breathable mesh that transfers heat and moisture away from your body. Our traditional shoulder pockets are of course still on the pack for quick access to your key nutrition, phone and other accessory items. This pack is extremely light, extremely breathable, stable under speed yet comfortable for the long haul. You’ve asked for it, and now we’re delivering!”
- Food/accessory pockets on the shoulders for quick access.
- Front chest pockets for access to nutrition on the fly.
- Bottle based hydration for easy fill, easy clean-up.
- Medical grade mesh for maximum breathability.
- Adjustable bottle capacity from 21 to 26 oz.
- Dual side macro adjust, front micro adjust.
- Sturdy under a sprint or slow and steady.
- Glove like design for a comfy fit.
- Weight 437 grams!
- Optional accessory pocket for purchase here.