Have you ever noticed that there are, or seem to be, a hundred new running products coming out with each passing year? New shorts that will make you run more efficiently, shirts that will cause less chafing. Shoes that will make you run like a gazelle, etc etc. We all buy into this hype because we want to believe the hype is real. Everyone has their favorite, and everyone's favorite is the best. Especially when it comes to hydration packs. Go to Twitter, Facebook, or any running site and this topic can get heated. Thus is why I sit back and scour reviews, products, and companies before I buy into anything.
Over the years I have bought a fair share of hydration packs and liked none of them. I could never get use to the taste that the bladder left behind. Plus I never liked carrying a heavy sloshing bag on my back for hours at a time. To me, they are a pain to clean and maintain. BUT that's just me. And even though I prefer to drink from bottles, I like my hands to be free. Runners can be so demanding.
All of the above mentioned led me to a promising "new" company based out of Corona, California. Orange Mud was envisioned by Josh Sprague after a few glasses of wine and years of dealing with waist belts and hydration packs. I was intrigued by the concept of taking the bottle of of your hand and putting it on your back. Add in a plush and comfy shoulder/back harness and some space to carry your essentials, and that's it. No overkill at all. After reading their website and looking at reviews, I instantly ordered their HydraQuiver hydration pack.
For the record, until I actually try the product itself, I am always skeptical when reading reviews. So for a few days (until the pack arrived) I kept wondering about a few things. A) How does it NOT move around if there is no chest strap to secure it? B) How will the bottle feel on my back when running?
As soon as it arrived, it was out of the package and on my back. My first question was answered as I found out that my upper body is what keeps it from moving around. I could see that Josh had done his homework when designing this pack. I absolutely loved the feel of it. It didn't feel like a standard hydration pack at all. It actually felt...natural. Again, well played Josh. I then hopped into my running gear and tested the HydraQuiver out.
I tested it on the road first, then moved to the hard packed C&O Canal in Williamsport, Maryland. On the way down I would intentionally reach back and pull the bottle out, then put it back in. I did this while keeping a brisk pace to see how it will fare when racing. I was amazed at how easy it was. And even with a camera, phone, keys, and tin of ENERGYbits, the fit stayed the same. Did I mention NO movement? You read that right. None...nothing at all. For five miles it was a smooth ride on my back. My thoughts? Happy!! Yet I wanted to see how it would hold up running on uneven terrain. I then picked some hills and bombed them to see if the pack would move or if the bottle would fall out.
Again...perfection! The pack just did not move on me. Like I mentioned before, running products come and they go. Great products stand the test of time, and great minds come up with even better products for us to love. Josh and his team at Orange Mud have created a product for those of us that dislike packs, belts, and running with bottles in our hands. Such a simple idea that goes beyond simple. While out running or racing I will no longer waist time wondering about my pack. And when running in the woods, no matter what time of day, I will have my hands free in case of a fall. No more lost time at aid stations trying to fill, seal, and fix a pack. Just fill my bottle and go. And if one bottle won't do, the new Double Barrel certainly will.
So here goes. Pros and Cons.
Double stitching on almost all of the seams.
Maximum breath-ability - Super cushy foam padding.
Weighs in at 3/4 of a pound.
Sits perfectly in the middle/upper part of your back.
Easy to loosen and tighten while running.
Ample room for accessories.
Made in the U.S.A.
Top of the line Specialized water bottle.
A great return policy
I honestly really have none. Wait...I do have one thing. My only Con is that I don't have the Double Barrel.
I am loving my HydraQuiver and believe in Orange Mud so much that I am now a running ambassador for Josh and his team. I am excited for the future and can't wait to see what is in store for 2014. So whether you run trails, roads, ride bikes, or even SUP, Orange Mud has your back covered...literally. They really are worth it! Thanks for taking time to read my review. You really can't go wrong with Orange Mud.