NOTE: As of January 2017, I have been selected to be a brand ambassador for Orange Mud. This article was written in February 2016 and reflects my honest opinion and thoughts of the Vest Pack 2 product and Orange Mud as a company. With that said, I have included an affiliate link that will give me a little kickback for any purchases that occur through it.
The Orange Mud HyrdraQuiver Vest Pack 2 (VP2) is one of numerous unique models in the HyrdraQuiver line. These vests offer a no bounce, lightweight, and comfortable approach to hydration hauling while on the go. In additional to carryting two 25 ounce waterbottles (pockets are expandable with velcro closures at the bottom to hold larger bottles), the VP2 model comes equipped with two elastic shoulder pockets with velcro closures, two chest pockets with draw string style closure (one contains a key hook), and an elastic cord on the back that is perfect for securing a rolled up jacket or even a third water bottle.
Left: The front pockets of the HydraQuiver VP2 Right: The VP2 holding an optional third insulated water bottle (sold separately)
What initially attracted me to the HydraQuiver was the hands free design with bottle combination. I don’t mind carrying a handheld on relatively shorter distances, but much past 13 miles and I start to get annoyed with the weight in my hands. Additionally, I’m not the most gracefully runner. Sometimes I trip. I like to have my hands free to braces myself in these situations. The bottle aspect is a major pro in my mind. While bladder designs allow you to carry a lot of liquid, they aren’t easy to refill in the middle of a run. With the bottles, it’s as easy as: remove the bottle from the pack, take the lid off, refill. As a heavy sweater, I take in a lot of fluid. During this year’s Disney Marathon, I refilled the bottles quite a bit along the route. I was able to easily had my bottle to a volunteer and have it filled up within a couple of seconds. If I had to take the pack off, remove the bladder, fill it up, replace the bladder, and put my pack back on before I was able to get moving, my performance would have surely suffered. Additionally, the bottles are very easy to clean as opposed to a bladder system.
The Hydraquiver line is designed to be worn over your shoulders, keeping your water bottles within easy reach on your upper back. There are two main side adjustment straps and a third chest strap designed for micro adjustments. The medical grade mesh is very breathable and so comfortable, I sometimes forget I’m wearing the vest. I purchased my VP2 several months ago, and have used it in a wide variety of conditions – heat, cold, trail, road – in distances from the half marathon to 50 miles. Never once have I had the vest become uncomfortable or cause any chafing issues. Simply stated, once you have the straps adjusted, the vest stays put.
Me at the 2014 Dirt Cheap Stage Race at Mendon Ponds Park – Mendon, NY Photo Credit: Fleet Feet Sports Rochester
The initial questions I usually get are in regards to the placement of the bottles.Well, actually, people usually say it looks like I have rockets on my back (I even got told I looked like a ninja with swords once), and then they start asking me about the specifics of the vest. While it may seem odd at first glance, placing the bottles on the upper back is the perfect location. The arm movement required to retrieve and replace the bottles is completely natural. There is no straining or awkwardness at all when grabbing for the bottle. You simply reach up and back to grab it and repeat to put it back. The tapered design of the holsters ensures that the bottles stay put until you want them to move. I’ve been able to bend over to tie my shoes while wearing the fully loaded vest without having the bottle fall out.
The side profile of the VP2
The amount of storage capacity is a huge plus in my book. I usually carry my gels in the velcro shoulder pockets. I tested the capacity and was able to fit 10 Gu brand energy gels in each shoulder pocket. Abigail prefers the CarbBOOM brand gels which run a little larger. I was able to fit 7 of those in the pockets. We had some Clif brand gels we picked up along the Walt Disney World Marathon route so I was able to test with them as well. The size of these gels fall somewhere between a Gu and a CarbBoom. Again, I was able to fit 7 of them in each pocket. While I don’t practically carry this many gels on a run, it’s nice to know the option is there should I ever need it. We have also easily fit an inhaler in the shoulder pocket. Orange Mud’s website also states that an iPhone 6 with a case will fit. As I’m behind the times slightly, I only have an iPhone 4s so I can’t put that claim completely to the test.
The chest pockets hold whatever else you might need on a long run. I have carried food, salt stick pills, gloves, tylenol, pace sheets, and even garbage (I try not to litter on the trails) in them. The drawstring closures hold everything securely and snugly. Never once has anything fallen out while on the move. It’s nice to have “the essentials” at a quick and convenient access point.
Abigail and me at the 2015 Dirt Cheap Stage Race at Mendon Ponds Park – Mendon, Ny. Abigail is wearing the Hydraquiver Single Barrel model. We got a lot of, “Woo double quiver!” calls during the race. Photo Credit: Yellow Jacket Racing
The back of the pack comes standard with a drawstring loop that I’ve used to secure a windbreaker while on the go. I haven’t tested it, but I’ve even heard that people have strapped a third water bottle through this loop to be able to carry 75+ ounces of fluid at a time. I have the optional accessory pouch on my pack. This pouch contains two separate sections and secures in through the webbing on the back of the VP2 with a long velcro strip. There is also a key hook sewn into the pouch. As I started to run more trails and longer distances, it became increasingly more important to me to carry some extra essentials. In the pouch I carry my phone, emergency space blanket, 2Tom’s Sport Shield for chafing, and blister kit. I’m considering getting a life straw to throw in there as well. While I hope I never need to use some of these items, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared.
The VP2 with optional accessory pouch
So, in summary:
- No bounce
- 48+ ounce liquid carrying capacity
- Easy to refill bottles on the go
- Hands free carrying
- Plenty of storage space for everything you might need on a run
- Looks really cool
- A great conversation started on runs – I usually get 1 -2 people commenting on it each run
- Great customer service – when I ordered mine there was an issue with the way my address was input. Within 30 minutes of ordering, a representative was calling me to confirm
- Awesome return policy – test it out for 30 days and if you don’t like it, simply hand wash it and return it for a full refund
I struggled to come up with a con for this pack. The only thing that could maybe be said is the initial price point of $149.95 is a little higher than other hydrations packs on the market today. While that might be true, I think you absolutely get what you pay for with this pack. You get a high quality product from an A+ company. With their 30 day return policy, you don’t have much to lose, so why not give it a try? I promise you won’t be disappointed. Use this link to order one today!