Nathan Intensity Hydration Vest ($100)
I have to admit, I’ve never used an official hydration vest. I’ve been using a pack that I picked up at secondhand outdoor store years ago and the bladder (new) from REI. Since the brands weren’t the same, it was a bit of a miss-match from the start, but I made it work. But for my 2014 race season, I thought that I’d splurge and buy a “real” vest, so my search for the perfect hydration vest began. And boy, was it frustrating. As tends to be the case, there were too many options and not all of the stores stocked what I was interested in and I wanted to try one on before purchasing. So, I kept it simple – I went to REI and tried on what they had and bought the best one in the bunch. I ended up purchasing the Nathan Intensity, a 2-liter vest, apparently designed for the female frame.
Overall, I think it’s a great all-round vest and perfect for long training runs (specs say about 3+ hours) or even supported races if there’s a distance between aid stations.
WHAT I LIKE
- Comfortable, snug, and fits my small frame – doesn’t seem to bounce around, which produces a “barely there” feeling
- Front pockets provide easy access to grab energy gels, etc
- The specs indicate that the front pocket fits a 22 oz bottle, thought I haven’t tried it.
- Back pocket is large enough to hold essentials – keys, phone, and extra food and doesn’t seem to weigh me down
- On my last few runs, I didn’t fill the bladder all the way and was able to stuff a shirt and hat in the pouch
WHAT NEEDS TWEAKING
- The tube seems unnecessarily long, however, once I loop it through the top and side straps it seems to work much better
- The tube doesn’t always stay snug in the hook suspension – I usually have to loop it through the chest strap to keep it in place