Product: Orange Mud HydraQuiver VP2 Vest Pack
Pros: Two separate 25-ounce bottles for hydration, 4 separate gear/water/nutrition storage pockets, lightweight and breathable fabric, pack weight is distributed across the upper back.
Cons: Cost, no zippered pockets, flimsy side strap locks.
Overview: Most hydration packs that hold over 40 ounces of liquid are backpack style packs with bladders. Many of these packs also have the option to carry bottles in the front pockets and can hold over 3 liters of water when full.
However, there are a few downsides to the bladder style packs. Cleaning those plastic bladders can be quite a chore–especially if your hydration is not just water. Additionally, the bladder allows for only one type of hydration.
Though many of the backpacks have storage pockets for smaller bottles, runners must choose 1 type of liquid as their main source of hydration. Lastly, backpacks that lie across the mid-back can be very warm.
‘A great alternative to bladder backpacks’
Enter the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great alternative to the bladder backpacks. The vest sits up across the back of the shoulders and has just enough padding to ensure a comfortable fit.
It comes with two 25-ounce bottles that rest snugly, but not tightly in their holsters. A bungee cord between the two holsters can accommodate a third bottle and the two front pockets can easily fit 10-ounce bottles. Three liters of hydration can easily be packed into this vest.
There are four separate pockets that can be used for additional hydration, nutrition, or gear. Two larger pockets with a bungee pull are large enough for a 10-ounce water bottle, a phone, or snacks.
One pocket has a plastic clip on the inside for a key. The smaller velcro shoulder pockets are perfect for gels and other similar sized gear.
Personal testimony: I like having multiple options for hydration besides water and I like a pack that sits higher on my back. I fill at least one of the bottles with water and one with Nuun.
Then I strap in a third bottle (upside down works best) in between with the bungee cord. Depending on my distance and the heat, I might do Gatorade, more water, or more Nuun. Cleaning is as easy as throwing everything in the top rack of the dishwater and letting the bottles air dry.
I attached a whistle to the plastic clip meant for a key. My car key won’t easily fit on the plastic clip anyway—one of the reasons I would love to see just one zippered compartment.
The front two pouches with bungee pulls are the perfect size to fit my phone and a bandana in one and a bagful of snacks like peanut butter pretzels and various nutrition bars.
The shoulder pouches are long and narrow, but stretchy and each close with a velcro tab. I stash a tiny bit of toilet paper in a bag, a knife, and usually a trail map in one. The other is perfect for a few gels or candy.
Grabbing the bottles does take a bit of dexterity. I’m not overly flexible in the shoulders and I have to pull down the pack in the front to grab the top of the bottle.
‘Zero chafing issues’
I am guessing that a typical man would likely not have the same issue as the bottles would sit higher with a little more shoulder width. However, putting the bottle back is much easier as the little cups seem to grab the bottle intuitively.
I have had zero chafing issues with the HydraQuiver thus far which seems to be a small miracle as everything else seems to rub me raw. The padded sections fit the body in an ergonomic fashion and the fit can be adjusted to the user.
The plastic strap locks are not the best design though—I’ve resorted to looping the loose ends. A true clip would work better.
All in all, I am very impressed with the pack. It’s functional, comfortable, easy to clean, and allows for plenty of options depending on my goal for the day.
Purchase the Orange Mud HydraQuiver VP2 Vest Pack here