If you’ve ever trained for a longer race, especially a marathon or an ultramarathon, you know that one of the trickier aspects of the long run is how to carry water and nutrition. It’s not especially safe to be out on a hot, summer day, pounding out an 18-mile run without some form of hydration and a probably something to eat, be it in the form of a gel, gummy, or a peanut butter sandwich (as I carried around with me on my first round of training and marathon).
Everybody has different ideas on the subject, so it was hard for me to first find a solution. I had a hard time deciding what I liked. Hydration packs were nice because they carried a lot, but I hated having the water sloshing around behind me, messing up my gait and making it hard to concentrate. Hand bottles were pretty convenient, but I found that on hot days I needed more than one bottle and my shoulders would tense up on whichever side I happened to be holding the bottle. I tried a hydration belt, with 4 smaller bottles spaced around my hips, but I found that the belt rubbed me funny and I couldn’t quite handle the bottles hitting my legs and hips with each stride.
As I researched other solutions, I stumbled upon Orange Mud. After doing a little research, I decided I’d try the HydraQuiver Double Barrel. I’ve had it going on two years now, yet I haven’t reviewed it, and I don’t know why. It’s been a mainstay in my training and gear since I first put it on.
The first thing I loved about this hydration pack is how it sits on my back. Orange Mud has effectively found the sweet spot for carrying the weight of the two bottle when they are full. It sits high enough that the bottle are easy to reach but low enough that it doesn’t mess with your center of gravity. Also, the opening for the bottle itself is great – after a few ginger attempts, I was quickly able to put the bottle back in the quiver without worrying about it falling out. The bottles are held very well, with little or no wobbling once they are in. Bottles, themselves, are also much easier to fill on the go than the bladder of a traditional hydration pack. Aside from the hydration aspect, they also did well to incorporate pockets on the shoulder straps for nutrition and a zippered, water resistant gear pouch. The pouch itself is fairly easy to reach while running (although zipping it back up while running can be tricky) and it has a little pocket inside the pouch where I store my phone. I can efficiently and quickly pack this thing for a long run without ever having to worry if I have enough room.
No piece of gear is perfect. The one thing that I have a hard time with is getting the straps under my arms to sit correctly. The straps do come with a covering with Velcro that I use to keep the excess strap from smacking me in the face, but those also can move around a bit and lead to chafing. In fact, the only chafing I had in my last marathon was from the strap of my Orange Mud (and it wasn’t even that bad, truth be told). I’m sure there is a way to manage it, but I have yet to find the sweet spot where I don’t have to worry about that. I can’t run in a singlet with this, because I need the sleeves to act as a buffer between my arm/armpit and the strap.
As you can guess, I am very happy with my HydraQuiver Double Barrel. It has served me very well and I’m sure it will continue to serve me well in the future. It has everything I need and, if I ever decide I need something that can carry more, I’m sure I could find what I need in the one of Orange Mud’s Vest Packs. Orange Mud has been a wonderful company to me, quickly answering questions via email, and the continue to expand their product line to meet the needs of their customers. Check out their website for some of their great products.
If you are looking for a great hydration solution and the traditional hydration pack doesn’t seem to work for you, I would strongly suggest checking out Orange Mud’s offerings. My Quiver is my most important piece of gear for a long run – and yes, even more important that the shoes I’m wearing. Whether I’m hiking with my kids or running long and hard, this pack has what it takes to get help me do my best.
As always, my reviews are not at the behest of the company or product I’m reviewing. All thoughts are my own and I would gladly answer any questions you have about my review and product. Thanks for reading!