Friday, July 21, 2017

orange mud phone. flask. vest. review

Disclaimer: I received the Orange Mud Phone. Flask. Vest. to review (and one package to give away) 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'm a HUGE fan of Orange Mud products. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll notice that just about every running includes some kind of Orange Mud pack

When I first started running longer distances, I used the HydraQuiver Double Barrel. Then I got to try the Vest Pack 1 and the Endurance Pack (links bring you to the reviews). I love them all and rotate through them depending on the day, route, how I'm feeling for the day. I'm an extremely thirsty runner, so the Endurance Pack has been my favorite for long distance training and running since the bladder holds 2L. 

Despite most races having plenty of aid stations, I still prefer to have my own on me so I can drink when I want (and some races have run out by the time I get to certain points in a race, so I just feel more at ease knowing if that happens I’ll be ok). I also get used to having my phone in a front chest pocket along with all the other gear I carry (Chapstick, Kleenex, Clif Shot Bloks, inhaler, anti-bacteria gel). I carry a lot with me, and that’s how I like it (well, need it, I guess… it would be great if I didn’t need anything, but I prefer to be over prepared than under).

View from the left. Notice the bite valve is not inside the dust cover.

View from the right side. Here you can easily see the shoulder pocket.

Anyway, when they sent out an email a few months back about having some newer packs coming out for the summer, I was of course very excited. One of those packs was the Phone. Flask. Vest. I was intrigued by the design and was curious how it would fit on this larger chested girl.

First off, I need hydration on almost all of my runs, even the short ones. Especially in the summer. In the winter I can get by 3 miles without, but not right now. I need water often in this heat and humidity. Knowing I’m a thirsty runner, this shouldn’t be too surprising. It was awesome when BibRave and Orange Mud gave some of the BibRave Pros a chance to test it out.

This is the back of the pack. Notice the shock cord to hold you jacket. Where the green stitching is is right below where the back pocket is. No zipper or velcro here. You can also see the right shoulder pocket.

I found the PFV pack easy to get on and off. I put my arm through the right hole, put my head through the top, and then clipped the left side on. I tightened up the straps, put them through the clips that hold them in place, and went for my first run with the flask filled up in the back pocket (there are two pockets up front; the back one fits the 450ml flask (which it comes with; will also fit a 600ml flask) while the front one is for your phone). I have the iPhone 7 Plus, a big brick of a thing that I love, and it fit fine in the pocket.

A view inside the back pocket.

There was a bit of bouncing, but not enough to bother me. I just knew that as I wore the pack more, the more it would start to settle into my body shape and that I would need to adjust the straps a few more times until it fit just right.

Ignore the goofy face. Where I'm pointing is the pocket my phone is in when I run,
not shown since I am using it for the photo.

Some cool features of this pack:
  • Strap for the flask hose and then a dust cover for the bite valve. While it’s not necessary for running, I found the hose bounced a little if it wasn’t in the cover, so I usually put it in there.
  • Right side is a shoulder pocket for electrolytes or backup nutrition
  • Back has a shock cord to hold a jacket
  • Back has a small pocket for small bags and/or sticks of nutrition
  • Key clip in the pocket on the left lower side

Left shows the straps loose. Right shows the loose strap tucked into the clip
so there's nothing dangling.

As you can see, it’s a minimal pack meant to hold the essentials and not much more. It’s perfect for short runs, hikes, mountain biking, or for obstacle course racing. Mainly, it all depends on how you drink and what type of course you are running. If you are running one mile loops during an ultra and have constant access to aid, then it’s perfect for something like that. Run by a lot of water fountains and can fill up quickly and easily? Perfect. You don’t drink a ton of water and can go 10 miles with 450ml? Great.

The dust cover.

I drink a lot (I’ve said that already), so for summer, I like to use this pack for 4–6 mile runs. Anything longer, I need to use my VP or EP. Come winter, I can probably manage 8–10 with this pack, as I don’t drink quite as much during the winter while running. It really is quick and easy to grab and go and doesn't take long to get the flask filled up and get going for my run.

Where my finger is: you want to tuck the flask hose underneath and then
tuck into the dust cover.

This pack is packed with lots of great innovation and little details that Orange Mud is known for (in my opinion). They really think through what an athlete might want/need in these packs and they add it in there.

The right shoulder pocket. Great for an inhaler, kleenex, your gels, etc.
Uses velcro to keep things inside and secure.

It took a few runs to get used to having the weight of the flask and phone and most of the material of the pack up front, but I did get used to it. I found the bounce had a lot to do with my phone, too, since it is so big. I would experiment with where I put it, and when I tossed it against my body in the same pocket as the flask, it actually felt more comfortable.

Small pocket on the left side.

There's a key clip inside!

So for me, I think using this pack comes with experimenting for a few runs to figure out how things fit and work best for you. I thought that maybe I would have issues with the fit because of my body shape, but it actually wasn’t an issue once I wore it a few times and got things situated correctly for me. Don’t dismiss this pack. It truly is awesome to have something smaller for the shorter runs (or whatever type of runs you can get away with the 450ml flask – everyone is different!) and while simple, it’s also packed with so much detail to fit most athletes (the cord in the back for a jacket, pocket for nutrition or whatever you want to use it for, pocket in the back for a bag, place for your phone). They really do think of it all. And once this pack is out for a while, I bet they’ll come out with an updated version that has even more punch. That’s just how cool they are — always innovating and trying to make things better. They truly listen to feedback and care about the people using their products.

Two large pockets up front. The one in front is for your phone while the
one in back is for the flask. Sometimes I put them both in the back
because it was more comfortable. Both have a toggle to keep everything snug
inside. Adjust to fit your phone and flask. Flask getting emptier? Tighten that up.

Obviously, constant use of the pack during summer leads to some interesting smells. I recommend hand washing your pack with unscented detergent in lukewarm water. To be honest, I have washed my other packs in the washer on occasion because I just can’t get them as clean and fresh as I would like by hand (obviously all that water I drink is partly because I sweat so dang much haha). I’ve put them in a laundry bag, put a few towels in the machine with it, and wash on gentle with cold water. I should note that I have an HE front-loading machine, so there isn’t an agitator, which I would not wash my pack in a machine that had one in fear of damage, since they are a little harder on clothes/whatever is in the machine. Then I lay it flat on the top of my drying rack. Again, using a machine is not recommended, but my packs have held up nicely so far with a washing about once a month or so (I've had the VP1 and the EP for over a year now, and they are still going strong). Here's the instructions on the website for the washing best practices.

Source: Orange Mud Website

Even if this pack doesn’t seem like it’s for you, I highly suggest trying out any other pack they have. You’ll find something that works for you. I love having the two bottles sometimes because I’ll use one for water and one for electrolytes (easy to dump on your head when it's 100 degrees, but still have electrolytes to help replenish those you are losing). Bottles are super easy to clean. I found with the EP the bladder is easier to clean than others I had tried in the past (plus, I need that 2L of water sometimes). They may look different from what you’re used to, and that’s a good thing! Give them a try.

Special bonus for you: Save 10% on ANY Orange Mud Product using code BRPPFV.

Come to #BibChat on Tuesday, July 25 at 8pm CT for a chance to win a PFV and chat with other like-minded runners. It’s always a jam packed hour long fun time. 

Connect with Orange Mud:
website | facebook | instagram | twitter | youtube

What the other BibRave Pros had to say:
Casey | Mai | Fallon

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