20 Mile Test Run with the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel Hydration Pack

  In January of this year, my wife and I had this crazy idea... Let's open a running store! Well, we did... but that's a whole another story! During our product research for different items to carry at this new store, we did come across an interesting product made by a company called Orange Mud. They came up with innovative twist on the hydration pack, typically a slim-style back-pack that holds 1.5-2 liters of water or other liquid in a bladder that you draw out from a tube with a nozzle at the end. These packs usually come complete with storage compartments for nutrition, key's, cash, etc and are used quite commonly by longer distance runners.

Well, we decided to wait on bringing the product in, mostly because of it's retail price at about $100. However, in comparison to other hydration packs out there, the HydraQuiver is right in line price wise!

Just recently an ultra runner friend of mine asked if we were carrying it or would consider it. He had some samples of the product and agreed to let me give it a go for my next long run. I ran my 20 mile training this morning with it, which really gave me a good feel for how this would perform.

Orange Mud's HydraQuiver Double-Barrel Hydration Pack.

Say hello to the HydraQuiver! A unique alternative to the tradition bladder pack! This comes complete with two 24oz bottles in holsters (or barrel's) that are slightly angled outward for easy access and replacement. It has a bottom velcro strap under the barrels to allow adjustments for other bottles you may want to use. The HydraQuiver has a zipper pocket in the back that also contains a key clip and elastic cords in between the barrels for holding other items like a pair of gloves no longer needed or a shirt, etc. The pack is minimally reflective on the back side right around the tops and bottom rims of the barrels as well as the logo on the bottom middle. The top shoulder straps come with very convenient pockets that can be quickly accessed with the pull of the velcro straps that help to contain it's contents. Great for gels, energy chews, electrolyte tabs, etc.

1" Padding makes for a comfortable ride on your upper back.

The HydraQuiver sits high on your back eliminating any undue weight on your lower back and is equipped with 1" padding that after a few miles you hardly even know is there. There are movable pads on the straps that prevent rubbing or chafing from the shoulder strap. So, how did it perform for me? Here are some of my take aways from this morning's 20 miler!

What I liked:

The 24oz Bottles
Hydration belts are usually my long run tool of choice but since my nutrition training has changed over the last 5 months, 4 bottle belts do not provide enough ounce capacity for what I need. The two 24oz bottles were a great solution and helped on the 20 miler. I was able to keep a serving of UCAN ready for my 90 minute dose in one bottle and my GU BREW electrolyte replacement drink in the other bottle. 48oz total liquid capacity was well more than what I needed for the 20 miler so it's safe to say that this would last for the marathon distance and beyond.

Barely There Feel
Belts can be heavy, they have a tendency to bounce AND you know they are there. I liked that this pack sits high on your upper back and did not seem heavy when both bottles were filled.

Storage Space
Orange Mud boasts a 10 Gel capacity in each shoulder strap pocket.. While I'm not sure about that, it was very easy to access and the pocket in the back was great for my phone, working great with my bluetooth headphones with no disruption in the sound frequency as it was so close. There was plenty of room in the back pocket so if I was on a longer run I could have used the extra space for a few more items I may have needed for those "just in case" moments like an inhaler, band-aids, batteries (if needed), etc.

What I did NOT like:

Grabbing and Replacing the Bottles
Reaching back to grab the bottles is a task getting used too. I don't think that this can be mastered in one, two or even three long runs. Putting the bottle back in... very hard... I dropped my bottle to the ground three times within the first half mile trying to put it back in after taking just one sip. While the barrel's are angled, it would be nice if they had some kind of "guidance" system that helped get the bottles on the right track.  Later in the run, I was resorting to a running buddy to put the bottle back in for me out of fear of dropping it again. Again, I think this takes practice and getting used to. the first couple times it's a guessing game. Is it in? is it not it? let go of the bottle... crash! It hits the ground! Stop.. turn around.. pick up the bottle and try again! This is NOT something I want to be stressing over during a 20 miler or worse,  marathon distance or even longer. I want to grab the bottle, get my swig of electrolytes and return the bottle. It's a 5 second process. If it takes any longer than that, I'm frustrated. BUT... I like this enough to give it a second try on my 18 miler next Saturday if I am allowed to use it again. I really do think it's just a matter of getting to know where the barrel's is on your back. Once that's covered, you're good!

So, in conclusion, the HydraQuiver is a good idea! It's innovative, different and offers runners another option we have not seen before. I like the larger bottles, the storage capacity and the "barely there" feel of the pack on back. All positives! And If can get the "grab" and "Put Back" down, I am excited at the prospect of not having to where a belt for my upcoming marathon and 50k!

 Orange Mud offers another variation of the pack which offers a strap across the chest as well as some front pockets on the front shoulder straps. I will be taking this out for a spin real soon!

For more info, check out OrangeMud.com!

Happy Running!
Shane Miles

The HydraQuiver sits high on the back, allowing for quick access of bottles.

UPDATE: 9/27/2014 - Week 2, Second Long Run

So after last week's 20 miler, I was excited to get this pack back on for another try for my 18 mile run this morning. I really wanted to be 100% happy with this product. I am happy to report that I was able to find the proper "put back" technique to get the bottles back in. Once I had this down, everything worked like a breeze. No dropping and no frustration! I think I will be getting on of these for my trail marathon in October!

Shane Miles is the owner/operator of the Roanoke Island Running Company in Manteo, NC. A specialty run store that provides exceptional service to runners and walkers in need of quality running shoes, nutrition, apparel, accessories and more.



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