I’ve mentioned in my past review of the Orange Mud HydraQuiver VP2 that one of the of the perks of running a street race is that participants are well taken care of by volunteers with stocked aid stations. As I have continued to enter and race many events in 2016 I have become very particular with the fuel/hydration products I use. There are certain items that do not work well for me and have caused several gut issues. I considered using my VP2 in races, but it seemed excessive since I would have access to aid stations for water. I did not want the extra weight if I could avoid it. I was thrilled to find the HydraQuiver VP1 on Orange Mud’s site. It would allow me to carry single serve Tailwind Nutrition Sticks and refill the bottle at aid stations easily. Boom!
Just a little history on how I discovered Orange Mud products…crazy, but true I stumbled upon the company on Instagram. The power of social media! Customers that use OM are badass, tough runners. I love that posted amazing, fun pictures of their adventures, many of which are on trail runs. I run a fair amount of solo training runs on the Anhapee Trail so I ordered the VP2. It never occurred to me that I could also use the vest for a road marathon. After ordering a using the VP1 I cannot imagine every going without it. The bottle to carry my fuel/hyrdation is the primary reason I use the vest, but I have come to greatly value the front pockets to store my inhaler, salt tabs, keys, first-aid supplies, ect.
So let’s get down to brass tacks…
Fit: There are two side straps and a chest strap to get the perfect fit. I have found that adjusting the side straps 1st allows me to put the vest on and then with two hands I can pull the chest strap to get a snuggle feel. This can be done in a matter of minutes. After adjusting if you are left with dangling straps (like I was) there are clips for the extra material. The chest clip is made out of a sturdy plastic but is small enough not to be obtrusive or rub against the skin to cause chaffing. For a size reference I am 5ft 3in & weight 125lbs. Both the VP1 & VP2 fit me great, with zero need to tighten once it is on and adjusted.
Construction: I’m hard on my running gear and demand a lot from all the stuff I buy. Out of the box the bottles will need to be washed to remove the plastic smell. I sent them through my dishwasher and it was ready to go after one cycle. The material of the vest is a combination of stretch and support. For comfort the back plate that sits between the shoulder blades has a padding, but is vented to not add weight and allows for air circulation to keep you cool even in the hottest of environments. One of my favorite features on my OM VP 2 hydration vests was the numerous, big pockets to haul all my necessary “stuff. Both vest options (1 or 2 bottles) in the Orange Mug HydraQuiver VP line have 2 deep front POCKETS that have a ton of stretch! I was able to cram a ton of items in them with room to spare. The clip for keys and elastic cords to close the pockets up is a nice touch. The bottle in the VP1 sits between my shoulder blades and has an adjustable strap located at the bottom to allow for adjustment to the bottle height. I don’t have long arms and was concerned about being able to reach behind me and grab the bottles quickly and easily. After moving the bottle strap up a bit I could efficiently reach back and grab hold of either bottle all while running. The ability to stay in motion and have access to my fluids was important to me. I like to use hills as walk breaks and double dip to also fuel/hydrate. Safety is also an area of concern for me since I do log a great deal of miles at night. It was nice to see that there are reflective strips on VP models for additional visibility.
Customer Service: Before ordering my original vest (VP2) I had a few questions which I shipped off to customer service. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly CS responded. My products have always arrived within a few days, unless the item was a pre-order or back-ordered (which the site clearly states in the product description).
Price: $119.95 (you can save 10% by signing up for the company newsletter)
Colors Available: Black or Gray
Round #1 – 3 mile quick run. Filled up the 25oz bottle with Nuun. Comfortable and easy to access the bottle even though it is in the middle of my shoulder blades vs the shoulders like the VP2. I wore a long sleeve shirt and the vest…no chaffing cream needed. I could hear the liquid in my bottle sloshing around, but it was no more annoying than the sound that liquids made in my previous vest with a bladder. The weight of the bottles was evenly distributed and sat flush with zero bounce.
Round #2 – 10 mile run. As temps increased I wanted to take the vest out with a short sleeve shirt. I did use the anti-chaffing product Trail Toes under the straps to prevent hot spots. This worked like a charm even though I was sweating like a beast.
Round #3 & 4 – Dick Lytie Spring Classic & Door County 1/2 Marathon. The simplicity of being able to unscrew the top of the bottle, fill, replace, and be on my way made the VP1 a perfect choice for these 2 hilly courses. I had the ability to drink on the hills and not have to worry about slowing for the aid stations. I found that one 25 oz bottle was perfect for these two races. I hung it up by one of the straps when I got home to allow it to dry and threw the bottle in the dishwasher…so easy to care for! Within 4 hours it was completely dry and ready to be refilled for another run.
Round #5 – Ice Age Trail 50k. This 3 loop trail event was a perfect venue to test out the single bottle VP1. I had worn the vest in various other distances and mastered the art of lubing up, filling the bottle on the go, and stuffing the pockets with all the needed gear. I was beyond impressed with how the vest handled and allowed for quick wardrobe changes when I needed to add layers (temps were really cold).
Round #6 & 7 – Green Bay Cellcom Marathon & Grandma’s Marathon. These races were predicted to be HOT ones! To prepare I decided to wear my VP1, boy was I glad I did. I found that the 1 bottle worked great. I was able to refill easily with water and dump in Tailwind. Finishing these events in the extreme temps would have been daunting without having access to my own drink when I wanted it. There are times that I could see others struggling between aid stations. Being in control of my fuel/hydration plan in a race keeps me calm and focused when times get tough.
It’s safe to say that I have put this vest through the ringer! I have tested it in varying environments and at multiple distances. It is my go-to vest everyday, especially with the hot, humid Wisconsin days that we have been encountering lately. I love Orange Mud products and am super pumped to share my review of the new OM Endurance Pack with your. I have a few more tests to put it through before weighing in, but all signs point to another winner!!! Might be perfect for the Fall 50 in October;)
#BeHappy #BeKind #BeActive