Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nathan HPL #020 Hydration Vest - Product Review

I'm not the type to try everything that comes on the market. I make very deliberate choices when it comes to spending my hard earned dollars. I've been wishing for something like this, so when it finally became available, I jumped at the chance. I was never satisfied with the camelbaks I've had, they bounced too much and is not very comfortable if you snug them up for running. They are fine for hiking, but running, no! Being the type that come up with new ideas, I thought to myself, what if they made a form-fitting vest that was stiff enough to carry the weight of the bladder. Voila, my dream came true.

I've had this thing for a week and have gone on a few runs with it. It is a cross between a vest and a backpack. It fits my torso very comfortably, and it is way more stable than the camelbak type bladder I previously used for running. The mesh venting keeps the body from getting too hot. The vest system and straps keep the bouncing to a minimum. Also, the fit felt roughly the same when the bladder is full and when it is empty; so you don't have to tighten the pack when the bladder gets empty. I like the mimimalist approach of this pack. I don't want all the bells and whistles of the other packs for running, they just add weight and you really don't need them. My initial impressions are positive and I would recommended it to others.

However, I just couldn't leave well enough alone. Since I have a sewing machine and knows how to use it, I made some modifications to it. I added a chest strap between the two uprights. The modification seem to have made it even more stable. I'm thinking about adding a Velcro tab on the front of one of the uprights so I could attach the drinking hose when not in use. Right now, I tuck the hose into the waist belt so it doesn't swing everywhere when you run.

I got it from runnersgear.com for $68.40.

Here's the marketing hype:

The Nathan HPL #020 Hydration Vest is one of the lightest hydration vests on the market today. When taking on long distance trail runs the HPL #020 has been shown to cut down on the nausea sometimes caused by waist packs.

Featuring a 3-way Propulsion Harness, 2 liter hydration bladder with filter-compatible screw-top closure and bite valve. The twin front holsters work seamlessly for carbo-gel and/or GPS. Additionally, there are two zippered rear compartments and a zippered front pocket. Keeping this vest light at 6 oz. was accomplished through the lightweight, breathable Wall Mesh with soft perimeter binding.

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