Hydration packs

Hi all, I thought of tapping into the collective wisdom of the HURT population to get some suggestions and/or advice on good running hydration backpacks and vests. Also where to get said packs. Thank you all for your opinions, Mark Speck.

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  1. Hey Mark!
    I just wore out a Nathan Pack. I really liked it, and I’ve heard other good comments about it as well. However, when I purchased my new one, I decided to try out the Salomon S-Lab 5. I haven’t had a chance to use it much yet, but so far I like it except for the fit. The XS/S is a bit too small, but the M/L is way too big for me. It is very comfortable, light, and has a lot of really nice features. The only thing I’m not too happy about is that it comes with a 1.5L bladder, and I’m a water hog. There is extra space for bottles though to replace that other 0.5L. Lots of pockets for storage of gels, food, ID etc. I bought both of mine online at REI.com. I never had a problem with either of them bouncing. Good luck!

  2. Hey Mark,
    I have tried a few now. I have always been a fan of the 3liter options Nathans offers. I recently picked up a new pack, by Camelbak, called the Baja LR. This is more like a vest with a lumbar reservoir. It is a 2 liter with some storage options but not much. It is by far the most comfortable pack I have come across yet. There is no movement on my back when I take off full speed down trails. You can find it on Camelbak’s website or at Go Bananas, linked to Runners HI, in Aiea. Good luck!

  3. Mark,
    As a fairly new (3 yr) ultrarunner, I asked around and watched who wore what…Nathan won the day and but for some issues carrying too much weight ( i put five pounds of dive weights in for training) my pack has survived falls, branches, children, mishandling, laundering, you name it and I am still wearing it…Nathan #020 from wherever its cheapest. I do have to say though, I like the new hydrapak mouthpiece, but LOVED the older Nathan bite valve.
    Jake H

  4. Nathan has been coming up quite often.I found a Nathan on sale on Zappos, I might go in that direction. I was curious about the lumbar bladders as well it would be nice to try one and the Salomon skin s-labs look interesting but $$$. Thanks.

  5. Mark, UltrAspire is the new kid on the block. They have attracted lots of the top ultra runners. Not sure how much inventory is out in the market yet. If I have the story right–and I may not, the founder of this company was the lead designer at Ultimate Direction, then moved on to Nathan and now has started his own company. Again, don’t hold me to that. I still prefer my Ultimate Direction Wasp. I have gone through a few and find the front pockets great for access and storage, fit is good and lots of room in the back for storage too. It also works great for mountain biking. I also have a Diablo that is fairly new to me and it has a larger bladder and room for bottle storage as well.
    Good luck shopping and what you training for that you are in the market for a new pack?
    Aloha, Bob

  6. Old man….old technology….more miles than most however. For all around dependability you can not go wrong with a Camel pack Mule. Plenty of water. 100 oz. and lots of room. If you are going a decent distance and not just talking about Ultra Running, I don’t think you can find such a multi-faceted pack.
    I wear it and strap on some waist-belt pockets for the stuff I need right away. There is enough room in the pack for a foul weather vest, an extra bottle, extra nutrition and electrolytes, a phone, a few 8 oz muscle milks, extra socks, toilet paper, a can of red-bull, a reflective vest and a couple of lights and extra batteries. Wouldn’t leave home without it….

  7. Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I will start with the Nathan x-ceed since it is fairly minimal and I am not used to running with a pack. I like the idea of having the utility of the Mule and may want something like that in the future.
    To answer your question Bob, I want to put in some longer runs on the trails and see if I could handle a HURT race. Running has always been my conection to the “dharma” and now I am feeling the call of the Ultra. No way I can safely train without pack.

  8. I’ve used Ultimate Direction since they started, Nathan for several years and both work great. I just ordered the UltraSpire (for just bottles) and the new Salomon X-Lab 12 (for bladder). The reviews on both are looking strong.

  9. IIRC Bryce Thatcher was a designer at Ultimate Direction then went to Nathan. He now has his own line called Ultraspire so you might want to google them up. HURT champ Gary Robbins rep’s them in Canada.
    For me it’s anything that doesn’t bounce. I also like lots of pockets for all the junk I ‘might’ need.

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