Let me start by stating that I have no affiliation with Orange Mud and purchased this product myself. I chose this pack because it looked well built and would solve my challenge of carrying enough water for long runs in the Texas summer heat.
This review is for the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack II which is a hydration pack specifically designed to carry standard water bottles of various sizes using a backpack style carrier.
I’ve run with everything from hand bottles, waist belts, and camelbacks over the years and each one has its benefits but often leave me needing something a little different. Most bottle setups don’t carry enough for a long run during the really hot and humid days and bladder packs are often a real pain to clean and dry out so they don’t get a nasty funk. Personally, I go through a lot of water on hot days and to carry enough involves a bladder pack that covers most of my back. This makes for a hot mess. I also get annoyed with managing the drink hose and surge of hot water out of it at the start of each sip. I need the hose it to be easy to access and secure so that it’s not slapping me in the face. The first time I saw a bottle based pack like this was during a trail race cheering on several friends and I remember thinking to myself that this was something that looked like it could possibly address most of my hydration pack issues.
For the quick and dirty on the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack II check out my first attempt at a video review below. Or, you can scroll down and read the details with close-up photos.
Looks like your taking the detailed approach.
This review is going to concentrate mainly on the HydraQuiver Vest Pack II but I’ll give some info on the available variations to the extent of my knowledge.
The HydraQuiver is a small backpack that uses what I’ll call a standard water bottle to hold fluids rather than a bladder, soft flask or hand shaped bottle. It’s the same water bottle type that fits in the bottle cages on a road or tri bike. So, being a triathlete I have lots of these around the house.
The HydraQuiver consists of bottle storage in the back with stretch pockets on the shoulders and front panels for extras such as nutrition, phone, action camera, etc… This particular model also has a chest strap to help keep any strain off your shoulders. Orange Mud makes both a double bottle and single bottle arrangements as well as a variation that moves storage to a zipper pocket and eliminates the chest strap. The variation is called the HydraQuiver Double and Single Barrel Hydration Packs.
What you get:
This is pretty straightforward. You get the hydration pack with two 23oz water bottles with the Orange Mud logo on them.
Construction and Features:
The HydraQuiver is made with good quality construction and thought for comfort, maintenance, and durability. These are all things that are important to me for any of my equipment and this pack appears to have this covered.
The base layer of the pack is primarily made of a honeycombed mesh. This mesh allows the pack to breathe during your heavy sweat sessions.
In the shoulder area, there is an additional fabric layer that looks to give it a little more strength and possibly keep this area from holding too much moisture and minimize chafing.
The pack also has an expanding pocket with a velcro closure on each shoulder. These work well for holding gels, small soft flask’s, bars and even some camera gear.
The pack has two primary adjustment straps under the arms and a chest strap for fine-tuning. All the stitching at the connection points looks to be reinforced for extra strength. My pack has a single strap in the front and I’ve recently see that the new version has a double strap to extra support.
The back of the back consists of two formed bottle holders with reflective detail on the top edge. These holders are sized to snugly hold most bottles and deep enough to even allow the use of a bottle picked up from the gas station without worrying about it falling out. I did this when I took a trip and left the bottles it comes with at home to save space in my luggage. The bottle holders also have an adjustable velcro strap on the bottom to allow for the use of tall or short bottles while keeping them easy to reach.
Between the two bottle holders is an adjustable elastic strap. This is designed to hold an additional zipper pack, however, I’ve read that it can be used to hold a third bottle for those extra long runs or hold other gear as required.
In the Front:
On the front of the pack, the shoulder straps have a chest buckle that can be used for fine-tuning the fit. On each side, there are open top expandable pockets. I’ve been able to carry everything from my Garmin 360 on the GoPro 3-way handle and phone comfortably. The pockets also have a single-sided pull string that can be used to sinch them tight around whatever you have in there. Inside the right pocket, you will also find a hidden clip for securing your keys. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.
After using the HydraQuiver Vest Pack II for several months I’m glad that I’ve made this purchase. I think the price is a little high for what it is but the quality justifies this. This is important to me when you consider that I still use my Camel Pack Mule that I’ve had for over 10 years (not the original blader). I can see using this pack for many years during my long runs, family day hikes and the like. It’s now approaching the cooler months and I can see a need for the single bottle version or just filling my bottles half way.
I’ve spent some time doing my own research before purchasing this pack and in general most of the reviews I’ve seen the users share my perspective on this pack. The only real alternatives I can think of are the bladder packs which Orange Mud also makes their own running specific version but most can’t carry this much water and still have storage for those long single loop runs.
The only con I really see is more person specific and has to do with the strap adjustments. I like to keep my pack straps tight with the bottles riding hight. I really don’t like excess movement. Because of this, the front strap has a lot of tension on it when I run and can work itself loose over time. It’s a simple thing to fix with a quick tug and something as simple as a rubber band on the loose end may solve the issue. Honestly, it hasn’t bothered me enough to actually try and solve it. Recently I’ve also seen that Orange Mud has made a change to the pack and added a second front strap on the new model. I’m thinking they were reading my mind.
I hope this review is helpful. Feel free to comment and share. I’m always on the look out for new ideas and gear.
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