“Belated Christmas gift?! What?! It’s not even Christmas yet!” I know, I know. I guess technically the gift wasn’t belated. It was received on Christmas Eve. TWO YEARS AGO. But it got pushed to the back of the closet and forgotten about, and I just found it a couple of days ago!
Christmas 2012 my niece got me the H20 performance hydration pack from Outdoor Products. I was so excited to get it, but I tucked it away because I wasn’t training for anything right then that would warrant using it. Then when I started running longer runs again, I completely forgot I had it! This week I was pulling out stuff to donate and found it in my closet, and I think I was even more excited than when I opened it two years ago! I used it on my 12 miler Sunday.
When you unzip the pack, you see that the two-liter bladder is velcroed into place under an insulated divider, leaving a place in the pack to put personal items.
That’s all great except for two things. First, the divider doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the pack, so if you put a phone or something in it and it goes down past where the divider stops, it’s in direct contact with the bladder. If the bladder sweats or leaks, well, that could lead to bad things happening. Second, anything you put in the pack is inaccessible without taking the pack off. Again, not a huge deal, as most people would use the pack for phone, keys, etc., that you wouldn’t need during the run anyway, but Sunday, I wanted to carry a couple of gels with me, and I had no convenient place to put them. It just would have been nice if there had been a small pouch on one of the shoulder straps or something. Again, not a huge deal.
When you put the pack on, there are a couple places to adjust to make sure you get a good fit. The shoulder straps adjust to make sure you get proper placement on your back, and then there’s a sternum strap so that you can adjust how snug the pack fits to you.
You can see from the first photo that when I adjusted it down to fit me, I had a lot of loose strap dangling. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal until I started running. There were 20+ MPH winds blowing, and every now and then it would catch those straps just right and it was like being whipped! I need to do something about those.
So even though I’ve mentioned a few things I wasn’t 100% crazy about, overall I LOVED it. Comfort-wise, it was worlds above the Fuel Belt I’ve been using for long runs. For the most part, I forgot it was even there, and for me to say that, that’s HUGE. I’m weird about having stuff around or against my body while I’m running, and this thing didn’t bother me at all. I can’t believe this has been in my closet unused all this time!!!
What’s your preferred method of hydration during long runs?
Do you carry your own water during races or just take advantage of the aid stations?