Sunday, January 3, 2016

'innovation from frustration': orange mud hydraquiver vest pack 1 review

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

I LOVE ORANGE MUD. There. I said it, and it's the absolute truth. They make such great, quality products and have wonderful customer service. I bought one of the HydraQuiver Double Barrel Hydration Pack back in 2014 when I was training for the Dopey Challenge in January of 2015. I began training in July, which in Chicago, can be extremely hot and humid (through October). 

I knew I would need something to help keep me hydrated on my long runs, since I'm a person that drinks a ton throughout my runs... even the shorter ones. I knew a lot of people used other packs, the kinds with bladders, but those didn't interest me. I had a small backpack with a bladder that I had used years previous to go on hikes with my husband, and from that, I knew they were a pain to clean. I always think of the bacteria and gunk that build up in those hoses, too. Ick. Now, something with bottles that I can toss in the dishwasher for a good, thorough cleaning? Now we're talking. I am so happy that I found Orange Mud through social media friends.

Also, I liked the idea of using Nuun in one bottle, and water in the other. You can't do separate liquids in a bladder. On the really hot runs, I like to dump water on my head or on my Buff to help cool me down. I can say that the pack has held up under TONS of long runs. I've used it so much in the past 1.5 years. I even wore it for the WDW Marathon and the Chicago Marathon, along with other shorter races. The only 'issue' I had was the arm pads got quite smelly, but I was able to clean them and they were fine. (I found out how to clean by sending an email, and got a quick, helpful response letting me know the best way to do so.) I'm sure you've seen plenty of IG posts with me and my pink pack.

Anyway, when the chance to try the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1, which I had been eyeing for quite some time, came up, I enthusiastically put my hat in the ring. Thankfully, I was one of the BibRave Pros given the chance to give it a go. Thanks to BibRave and Orange Mud for that! 

HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 in gray

So why all the chat about the other pack? Because I felt some background information was important – that I had tried another product of theirs, and why I can say I love Orange Mud. It's not just from this Vest Pack, but also from past experiences with the company and product.

So what's different about the OM HydraQuiver Double Barrel and the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1? Besides having the two pockets on the shoulders, it also has two chest pockets. So, all the space for ALL the stuff. If you know me or my running habits, you know I'm not a 'minimalist' runner. I carry a lot of stuff with me on my long runs. Even with the HQDB that has the two shoulder pockets, I'd still have to wear a belt to hold my phone for easy access. Yes, it fit in the pockets, but I found it uncomfortable to have that big block sitting at a weird angle by my shoulder. Plus, then I wouldn't have space for everything else. The Vest Pack means no belt. My phone fits in the chest pocket - I cinch the cord to keep it in, but can still get it in and out without any further adjustments. There's also a clip in one of the chest pockets for your keys or whatever you need to clip in for safe keeping. I also find it a tad easier to get on and off. I think because of the chest pockets, the pack just seems a little looser/bendy, if that makes sense. Don't get me wrong, I still love that HQDB, but the VP1 (and probably VP2) are more my jam, personally. They just weren't available yet when I made my purchase.

On the back, there are an additional two pockets for even MORE storage. The one on the left closes with velcro, while the one on the right has no closure. The material is very flexible, so you could really squeeze some things in there (IDs, snacks, etc).

HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 in black.

In the shoulder pockets, I put my Clif Shot Bloks, Kleenex, Chapstick, and inhaler. That all fits in the two no problem. In the chest pockets are my phone (iPhone 6 with a giant LifeProof case) and keys (and sometimes a Clif Bar for those really long runs where I'll be hungry haha). Sometimes I bring my GoPro and put that in a chest pocket. I have space for even more, which I find shocking. 

I wore it for Santa Hustle Indy - half marathon.
Post-race treats were stashed in the pockets. Was great to have a place to put things.
And then on a cold run just the other day.

It may take some a few trial and error runs to get the pack to fit properly. I personally had to problems getting it right on the first time, but just know that if it isn't working for you on the first go - adjusting the straps is key. They have very helpful videos on YouTube if you have questions or need help (or see video below). You'll want to cinch down the sides so they are tight, and you'll leave the front chest strap loose. The pack fits minimum chest circumference 27" and maximum 52" (measured at or just below your armpits depending on body type). I'm not the smallest chested lady (though I also wouldn't say that I'm huge), but this fits me well. They do, however, mention on the site that the Single Barrel HydraQuiver may be better for the larger chested ladies. You can even run with the chest strap super loose, or off all together.

Josh, the president/creator of Orange Mud, even spent time to email us Pros and send us a helpful, personal video. I really appreciated that. 

I experienced no bouncing, chafing, or shoulder pain from the pack. It is very lightweight (only 8.7 oz before the bottle). I found it easy to access all of my fuel and phone. The bottle was easy to get in and out of its holder. You can even adjust how much the bottle goes in to the holder by unstrapping the velcro on the bottle holder part and moving it up or down. This also means you can use a larger or smaller sized bottle if you wanted.

I'm a person that gets easily annoyed by things on the run (swishing noises, anything rubbing or bouncing where it shouldn't be, strings bouncing) – but there was nothing about this that bothered me. It fits so snug and comfortably, you might even forget that you're wearing it. There is rarely any swishing with the water/bottle.

Short run with the VP1, but no bottle. Worked great.

I'm also a runner that gets hot very quickly and easily. So what I love about this pack is that it doesn't take up as much space on the back as others do, so it gives my back more space to breathe. It's also made with highly breathable and double mesh for maximum heat and moisture transfer. I'm not bothered specifically by how hot my back gets when running, so I attribute that to what the pack is made of. (Used your pack a ton and want to give it a clean? Instructions here.)

They've really put a lot of thought and effort into making the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 - ability to adjust the bottle for different neck heights or bottle sizes, square pieces on the nylon are self-containing, reflective trim, material, local manufacturing, and so much more. 

This video about Orange Mud history is worth the watch:

I've found that even on shorter runs I enjoy bringing this pack with me. I won't always bring a bottle, as for 3 miles I'm trying to train myself not to need it, but I find it very useful and light for holding all of my stuff (that list I mentioned above haha). They make a Gear Quiver, so I think I might need to pick up one of those for the shorter races and training runs. 

They have a great philosophy:
"“Innovation from frustration” Our philosophy at Orange Mud is very simple, make the most efficient, well crafted, locally sourced gear. Our flag ship hydration pack series is the HydraQuiver™. The Transition & Seat Wrap™ is our award winning multi-function wrap that keeps your towel from falling off when changing into workout gear, but also protects your car seat from sweat and grime after a good workout."

The HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 currently comes in black (the one I have) or gray and is $119.95. Totally worth the price, BUT you can get a 15% discount on any Orange Mud gear using code BIBRAVE. Use it quick, as it will be expiring soon. You won't regret the purchase. I'll likely be using it for either the VP2 or the Gear Quiver. They also have a handheld, if that's more your thing, along with visors, gym bags, messenger bags, trucker hats (I have one), transition & seat wrap... and more!

Trail run!

Join BibRave, (sponsor) Orange Mud, the BibRave Pro gang, and other awesome runners for #BibChat on Tuesday, January 5. There's sure to be a fantastic giveaway, and it's impossible not to have fun and meet some new running pals. Hope to 'see' you there!

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