One of the things at the top of my list to figure out before AR50 was how I wanted to carry my hydration. There are numerous aid stations along the course, but with something as long as a 50 miler I really needed, and wanted, to carry my own fluids.
Over the course of my training I was splitting my runs between my Amphipod Handheld (above on the left) and my Nathan Intensity Pack (above on the right, review coming soon), and although I love both of them, neither felt quite right for this race. I couldn’t really stand the thought of having something in my hands for 50 miles and although I love my Nathan pack, it just felt like it was going to be too big and heavy for that long of a day.
I did some research on smaller packs and came across the Hydrapak E-lite Vest which had several really good reviews. It was a lot lighter (9.9 ounces) than the pack I had been training with, but in return obviously carried less water (1 liter) and didn’t have storage in the back. I figured for my 50 miler I will be stopping at aid stations anyways, so I could easily refill as needed and I would have my crew to store clothes or anything else I might need.
I thought about it for a
while few minutes, and ordered one off of Amazon. Anything I was considering doing on race day needed to be tested multiple times before of course!
When I first got the pack, I wasn’t too crazy about the fit. While there are tons of ways to adjust it, I do feel like it would be better if it came in a smaller size. I adjusted it as much as I could and hoped that it wouldn’t move or bother me.
I took it on a trial run up Diablo and was very happy with it. It was really comfortable and didn’t move much at all. I really liked the pockets and how light it was…but would it last longer than 10 miles?
I decided to take it on the ultimate test and wear it for Way Too Cool 50k. Not only would I test it on one of my longest runs, but I would also be testing it in a race atmosphere and practice the refilling and fuel holding process.
During Way Too Cool I stopped twice to refill it. Both times I wasn’t on empty, but I didn’t want to risk being out of water anywhere. I believe I refilled at miles 15 and 26 and it was really easy to do. I just took out the bladder and the awesome volunteers filled it up! Easy peasy.
It never once bothered me during any of the 31 miles and I really liked having a lighter weight pack on. I was able to store all the fuel I wanted to carry with me… and my favorite part is the shape of the pockets. I carry Shot Bloks with me at all times, and it seems like this vest was made to carry them. They fit perfectly in the pockets and I can hold 3-4 packs of them in one side.
My iPhone also fits as well as anything else I have needed to carry in the zipper pockets. There are also additional non-zipper pockets that aren’t as deep above the zipper pockets for other things like maps or fuel. I personally like the pockets in this pack better than my Nathan one.
If you are looking for a lighter, less water holding pack for races or shorter runs I would highly recommend this one. Although the fit could be improved for the ladies, it still can adjust down to make it work. I will definitely be wearing this for my big 50 mile race!
***I paid for this pack out of my own pocket and was not compensated in any way or asked to write this review. I just like to share my favorite things with my readers!