Product Review: Hydrapak E-Lite Vest

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.

Handheld vs. Hydration Pack 
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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.

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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?

Trial run in the Hydrapak – you can see how small it is on my back compared to other packs that stick really far out.
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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.

From the front and back
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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.

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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. 

Perfect fit!
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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!

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14 Responses to Product Review: Hydrapak E-Lite Vest

  1. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef March 21, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    i have the same nathan pack you do, and love it, but now i’m curious about this one since it seems so much smaller!

  2. Shut Up and Run March 21, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Thanks for this. I will check it out as I’ll be needing something for my longer trail runs this summer.

  3. Marlene March 21, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    Great review! I have the same Nathan Intensity pack as you and I do love it, but find it bulky at times. If I’m in the market for something smaller, I will be keeping this one in mind!

  4. Lisa (Mom to Marathon) March 21, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    This looks like a great option! I have a 50K coming up and I have planned on doing the double 20 oz Amphipod because I hate wearing something on my back (at least the camelback we have). I might have to try this out!!

  5. Beth March 21, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    When I was marathon training I loved my camelbak. I had the smaller women’s fit one, and it was perfect, light, comfortable, and carried enough water for a 20 miler. Lately I’ve been all about my amphipod handheld. I’d always hated carrying anything in my hands until I got this little handheld, but it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m glad you found a pack that works for you. I’m so excited for your race! :)

  6. Chicken March 21, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    This is great news! I’ve been trying on so many different types so I can ask for one for my birthday! I might just get this one. Smaller pack for smaller distances because I’m a hands-free type o’ gal.

  7. The Blonde March 21, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Nice! I was just looking at the Nathan Intensity Pack but it seemed to be too big for me, even though it says One Size Fits All. I was also looking at some of the very lightweight CamelBaks.

  8. Liz March 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Looks like a great pack. Did you ever find the perfect top for the race? I’m in the market for some new running tanks and would love to hear what you’ve found.

    • Aron March 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      I have found some good contenders so I will def post them!

  9. Ed March 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Looks like a great pack, going to have to check them out when I get to civilization….

  10. Chiropractic Coaches March 22, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    Oh it is really a perfect pack for a marathon! I like it! Where can we buy that pack?

  11. Megan March 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I’m contemplating 2 amphipods vs. the Intensity for AR 50 as well. I agree the Intensity’s a but much… I wish I’d figured this out sooner to try different things! I’ll have to look into the Hydrapak for TRT this summer.
    Good luck at AR 50!!

  12. RunningLaur March 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve loved my Nathan vest but have found it getting too bulky – I have a hard time not filling up all the space with ‘just in case’ items or more water. (When I went out with a handheld for the last 3 miles of JJ100, it felt like heaven!) I have a smaller Camelbak, really meant for biking, so it bounces too much. I might just be purchasing this to test for RCTC! :)

  13. PavementRunner April 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Thanks… definitely have to see what will work for me.

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