Nathan Hydration Vest Review

I’m still not a huge fan of video blogs (also called “vlogs,” one of the dumbest words I’ve ever heard).  I guess I’d just rather read a well-written post than watch someone talk about something off the cuff.  But there are times when videos are more appropriate, and this is one of them.

Down with needless bonks

Today’s post is a video review of my Nathan hydration vest.  Before I got it, I was terrible about bringing water and food on runs because I just hated to carry it along, and this resulted in a few really bad and even dangerous bonks.  And my Nathan vest has solved that problem so well that I decided it was worth a post.  I didn’t even know these things existed until I started trail running, so I’m guessing there are a lot of you who think the only hydration option is a sucky Fuel Belt.

So here you go.  This isn’t a paid review (I don’t do those), and they didn’t send it to me for free or anything.  I’m just a big fan.  (By the way, in the beginning when I’m talking about my upcoming race, I’m saying “HAT 50K,” not “half 50K.”  That would be an even dumber word than “vlog,” because wouldn’t we just call it a 25K?)

To learn more about Nathan products, visit their website.  (The one I have is the HPL 020).  If you want to buy one, here’s a link to Amazon’s Nathan vests.  That’s an affiliate link, like most of my links to Amazon, which means I get a commission when someone buys stuff from it.  But I think you know me well enough by now to know I wouldn’t recommend something I didn’t really like.

I mention Vega Sport in the video, too.  Here’s a link to my Vega Sport review.

Stay out of trouble tonight!  And if you wouldn’t mind, leave me a comment to let me know how Oscar-worthy my performance was.  And I’d like to know what you all do for hydration, too.



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  1. awesome review! i am looking forward to seeing how the insoles work – i tend to underpronate (run on the outsides of my feet), so i have been looking at insoles lately. have a great weekend matt!
    .-= Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian)´s last blog ..let the good times roll =-.

  2. Loved the video, great review! Hope you and Erin enjoy this fabulous weekend!
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Homemade Vegetable Broth =-.

  3. I hate the term vlog too, haha. Great video – I’ve been wondering about hydration vests! Something to look into once I start running longer distances.

  4. Laura says:

    interesting product, though i’m rather attached to my CamelBaks. my secondary bag has a fully insulated straw tube, which keeps things nice and cold in summer and nice and unfrozen in winter. i took it skiing and it worked like a charm. 🙂

    i will admit they’re not as good with weight distribution as the Nathan bags appear to be.
    .-= Laura M…ski´s last blog ..Blogging malaise? =-.

  5. nice shirt! Kath and I put in 15 this morning. I hope the park dries out in the next couple of weeks for HAT.

  6. Vlog IS a dumb word — I fully admit this, even though I use it, as we both know — but I’m glad you did one!! And great review!
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..De-Cluttering the Office/Gym/Hotel/Discotheque =-.

  7. love the review!!! it seems like a pretty sweet product :]

  8. Great review! That video camera will come in handy for the baby’s birth and growth!
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..Sunshine =-.

  9. Fabulous review. My CamelBak seems to achieve the same purpose so I’ll stick with that for now.

    My family has enjoyed your black bean walnut croquette recipe! Thank you.
    .-= Alison @ finnyfinds´s last blog ..26.2 News! =-.

  10. Thanks for the great review! I have a Nathan handheld water bottle I use for my long runs, but once I start marathon training in the fall I don’t think it will cut it. I’ll definitely have to check the vest out!
    .-= Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)´s last blog ..Great end to a great week! =-.

  11. Happy to hear a good review of Nathan products. I just ordered the Nathan Quickdraw Plus handheld bottle. After a couple too many 10+ milers with no water and a woozy head, I figured it was time to do something. It should come next week, so I hope it works out!

  12. Sucky fuel belt? Oh no! I have a nathan fuel belt and love it. However, I have come to the conclusion that fuel belts really only work well for women with junk in the trunk and some hips. It just fits comfortably there. Like the video!

    • Bridget, well I capitalized Fuel Belt, referring to that particular brand of belt. And I don’t even know about their other models, just that mine sucks. Perhaps the Nathans are better. My trunk is pretty much junkless, so maybe that’s why they’re so bad on me.

  13. Love the review – I may have to try a vest. I loathe the fuel belt. Right now for my long runs, I leave the house 35 minutes early and drop water/gu at various places along the route… which means I have to go back and collect bottles at the end of a run, not my favorite thing. The vest looks great so thanks for sharing.

    Only thing that might have improved the vlog was having the dogs in the video. =)

    • Dena, that’s funny. I don’t think I’ve ever actually done that, but I remember we batted the idea around in college. I’d be worried people would steal the stuff and I’d have nothing to eat or drink!

  14. I had a cooler stolen once. I set out water and Gatorade for 8 of us who were doing a 15 mile run in 90% NC humidity. We got to mile 6 and the cooler was gone. We almost cried.

  15. I actually really like vlogs because I feel like I get more of a sense about the writer behind the blog, the way they hold themselves, speak, etc. I greatly enjoyed it! The Nathan’s version looks a lot better than my Camelbak as far as ease of cleaning is concerned. I’m not a marathoner so I don’t need all the storage that yours had, but as a slight germophobe, I’d like the cleaning part!
    What is it in the Vega sport that would stain the bladder? Does that not seem odd to you?
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..New shoes, new race! =-.

    • Caroline, maybe the real reason I don’t like them is because I get so nervous when the camera is on!

      Very good point about the Vega Sport. When I did the video, I thought it was just that the leftover Vega Sport had colored the water. But it did turn out to be a stain. Vega Sport is brownish, not yellow, so it’s especially weird. I just looked at the ingredients, and the front-runner right now is… Turmeric extract!

  16. Great review. Very real, witty and detail oriented at the same time. Thanks the sharing!

  17. Nice video on the Nathan vest; I have the same model and still experiment with strap adjustment to give the best ride without any bounce. If you haven’t been able to separate the drinking tube from the bottom of the water bag here’s what I do: warm up the connection with a hairdryer for a minute or so. It makes the plastic soft & pliable and it should come right off. When re-connecting I lightly moisten the plastic elbow with a wet finger before sliding the hose back on. Works well.

  18. Same vest here. Only problem I have is the bite valve is terribly designed. I generally use a Platypus-styled bite valve.

  19. I messed around with detaching the tube from the bladder as well. It took a few minutes, but you have to twist and pull at the same time and it will pop off (and back on). It hasn’t leaked which is nice.

  20. Matt,
    regarding the sloshing noise.Try this. Fill the bladder to your liking and close.Then turn the bladder upside down. Using the drinking tube suck the air out of the bladder. This will just about end the sloshing sounds.

  21. Maybe you already know this but if you turn the water bladder upside down and suck all the air out, it won’t slosh. I did my first run with this pack yesterday. 12 + miles of single track and no issues. Well, except my shirt kept riding up in the back until I was sufficiently sweaty. So far I’m happy with it, thanks for the review.

  22. I love the backpack, I have women’s version of it, but I can’t get the really fault water taste and smell out of it. I cleaned the bladder, rinsed it, used it many times and I feel it is getting only worse. Do you have any tips? Somewhere I read that maybe drying the bladder after each use could help, but I am using it every day and drying it out in air every day is too big of a hassle. 🙂 Hope you have some helpful tips!

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