Mountain Hardwear Single Bottle Waist Pack
I have a hard time finding waist packs that fit me correctly. My typical issue is that the packs ride up off my narrow hips and end up on my stomach and being very uncomfortable.
This is a fairly minimal waist pack weighing around 2oz The pack has only a single small storage compartment on the waist strap.
- During my first use, I had some issues with the straps slipping through he buckles so I needed to tighten it a lot. On subsequent uses, the waist strap had collected enough sweat and grim that it did not slide through the buckles as easily. A buckle with sharper teeth or a rougher web strap may remedy this.
- I had some issues with it twisting around my waist. I think some small rubber pads on each side of the bottle holder would cause it to stick to your shirt or shorts and not move as much. I think this may also prevent it from riding your shirt up like most packs do on me.
- The gear pouch is small, but easy to access and very functional. I could easily fit 300 calories in it and was able to squeeze 400 in when needed.
- The gear pouch is removable, but also slides around a lot. I like that you can take the pouch off, but I think that a small piece of Velcro to hold it in place would be a good addition.
- Additional pouches would be great including 1 large enough for a gel flask
- The water bottle sleeve was super easy to get a bottle in and out of which was great. I was extremely impressed with the bottle sleeve. It is one of the easier sleeves I have used on a waist pack.
- The bungee to hold the water bottle in was ok. I found that with a full bottle, you needed the strap to ensure the bottle does not slip out, but once the bottle got lighter, slipping out was not an issue. I found it easy to get off the bottle, but it took some practice to be able to reach back and get the strap on the first grab.
- There is a bungee strap that wraps around the water bottle holder. When carrying a Patagonia Dragon Fly jacket, the extra weight did not change the way it bounced or sat at on my hips. I was very impressed with this as I was worried that with the jacket attached to the bottle sleeve and not close to the waist that it could cause some bouncing.
- The pack bounced a little bit with a full bottle, but once the bottle had a few ounces out of it stayed very steady on my waist.
- I had few issues with the pack riding up on my waist when running. This thrilled me since it is always one of my concerns.
Overall Summary: I was impressed with the comfort of both the narrow waist band and the minimally padded bottle holder. I am used to bottle packs with more padding (and usually weighing around 6oz) so it was great to see that this was just as comfortable with a fraction of the weight. Based on the weight and functionality of this waist pack, it will most likely be my ‘go-to’ bottle holder.
Mountain Hardwear Fluid 6 Hydration Pack
The Fluid 6 pack is Mountain Hardwear’s entry into running vests.
This is a lightweight hydration vest that is very well built without any unnecessary frills. The pack has 2 mesh pouches in the front straps with a single small zippered pocket. The pack itself has a single large pocket with an internal separation for a bladder. The vest weighed 8.5oz compared to 11 oz for my other race best. This weight savings alone was enough to have me excited to try it out.
Even after my first use, I loved the pack for the light weight and simplicity. I initially had a problem with both the side and chest straps continually loosening, but similar to the waist pack, when the straps collected enough sweat and grime, the did not slip. Similar to the waist pack, I think either rougher straps or better teeth on the buckles would eliminate this.
The small zipper pouch on the front left shoulder strap was perfect for electrolyte tablets. It is large enough for this, but no larger. There are times when this pocket could be a little bit larger, but it was always sufficient for how I used it.
The left chest pocket easily fit 300 calories and the right pocket is large enough for a gel flask. The chest pouches are made out of a stretchy mesh so they keep the contents locked in and don’t allow things to shake or bounce.
The pack itself has a bungee looped between the sides. The bungee was large enough to get quite a bit of clothing or other items strapped on. The interior of the pack is very large. It has a nylon divider to keep the bladder separate from the rest of the pack. It has a Velcro loop on the top to hang the bladder from. I felt this was necessary to keep the bladder from slipping down into the bottom of the pack and from bouncing. I also found that the rear bungee had to be kept snug to keep the contents from bouncing. A small bungee at the top of the bladder sleeve may also help to stabilize this or making the bladder sleeve out of a stretchy material.
The main compartment was large enough to hold clothing, food, and a small set of emergency gear with room to spare. I feel that the overall compartment size could be reduced by 25-40% and still be sufficient for most long day runs. The pack at its current size would support enough food and water for extended run (10+ hours).
The back panel of the pack is constructed of a very light (almost mesh) material. On hot runs, I found that filling the bladder with ice helped keep me cool while running.
Using the Fluid 6 on my run of the Maah Daah Hey Trail
There were also a few negatives about the pack:
- Both the bungee and shoulder straps were far too long and would need to be cut back.
- The black fabric of the pack seemed to absorb a lot of solar heat and warm the contents, a lighter material would be better.
- There is no internal storage so there is no location for keys or other small items so these items tended to get lost on the bottom of the pack. This pouch could be very small and would add minimal to no weight to the pack.