Orange Mud Hydration Pack $85-$110
The Good: Light and comfortable hydration option with almost no bounce, nice bottles with wide mouths
The Bad: Straps tend to cut into armpits, bottle can come out if runner goes inverted
The Awesome: The small form factor and lightweight pack on the back means less bulk on the trail, shoulder pockets keep an energy bar really close at hand
Proper hydration on a hot trail can be the difference between cottonmouth and pleasantly hydrated, and in many cases can make all the difference between finishing strong and limping in. But most of the time, packing on or carrying along that precious aqua is a major pain. Sloshing, heavy hydration bladders or poorly fit bottle belts make it difficult to get into a solid rhythm, and too much bulk just means more dead weight to pull along the brutal trail. Orange Mud’s lightweight harness-style HydraQuiver pack is light, barely bounces, and keeps the bottles within easy reach but still out of the way. The pack comes in either a single or double bottle configuration ($85 for the single, $110 for the double), with a stash pocket and elastic cord webbing to hold a jacket or gloves. The padded shoulder straps have spandex pockets to hold energy bars or goos for easy access, and a padded back allows for nice ventilation.
We tested both the single and double HydraQuiver packs on various hot runs during the spring on trails in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and other trails in Northern California. The packs also came along for training while doing burpees, lunges, and other bodyweight exercises in preparation for the various mud runs we have stacked up this summer. The first impression with the packs, was the fact that even with full bottles, they barely moved while running. There’s something awful about a shifting pack while working up a steady gait during long runs, and this hydration system just stayed put. The straps did cut into the armpits, until we rigged a spare shoelace sternum strap to relieve the pressure, but after that field fix, the pack was just about forgotten until stopping for a drink break. The bottles have a large mouth for big gulps, and fit well into the open top tapered pockets. While the bottles generally stayed put, when doing burpees or other inverted exercises the bottles did tend to slip out unless we really shoved them in tight. The main gear pocket was separated into two portions with plenty of room for a phone, wallet, and small snack, and the shoulder pockets easily fit granola bars within reach without having to even break stride.
Overall, the packs are lightweight, easy to use, and don’t slosh around while moving. If you’re looking for a comfortable hydration system it’s a perfect fit.