I now own four hydration backpacks: Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack, Camelbak Dart, Nathan Intensity Womens’ Hydration Pack, and the brand now Orange Mud Endurance Pack. Overkill? Well, not really……it just took me several tries to find “the one”. I thought about listing all the reasons why I did or didn’t like a particular product, but it all basically boils down to this: not enough storage options in the front for quick and easy access, and in some cases too much movement/poor fit (read: chafing). They’re all ok for shorter runs, hiking and biking, but I wanted the kind of pack that allowed me to store enough hydration and nutrition to get through a marathon without stopping. Which brings me to my latest addition, and why I think I’ve finally found the perfect one:
Orange Mud Endurance Pack:
Pros: All of them!! Ample storage in the front: Two large pockets that are designed to hold soft flasks, which I’ve not yet used. Instead, here’s what I’ve stowed so far: my iPhone 6 on one side (and there’s room for a few gels or a snack bar along with the phone), and several items on the other side (I packed 3 gels, my headphones, and had plenty of room to spare). These pockets are deep, and because they’re made of a flexible material with a bungee cord closure you can stuff them to the gills:
Above each large pocket is an almost hidden, additional pocket with a velcro flap closure:
Granted, these are rather small, but each can hold at least two gels. I’m using the velcro closure flap to hold the mouthpiece. Easy access, but a secure hold:
The backside holds the 2L hydration bladder in the main compartment, closed by a velcro strap. Right over it is a second, large pocket, which is separated from the third, zippered compartment:
I’ll probably never need/use the additional storage back there (other than for my key, which is always hooked to the clasp and secured behind the zipper closure), but it’s nice to have room for more “stuff” just in case….
The Orange Mud Endurance pack fits like a glove. Each of the chest straps is adjustable no only in length, but you can also adjust them up or down for a more individual fit. It doesn’t show well on the picture, but the chord that connects to the chest straps is elastic, so even if you really tighten those chest straps the fit is still very comfortable and non-restrictive.
As you move and breathe the elastic “gives” without sacrificing the fit. The back strap is adjustable so you can find the perfect fit of what I call the “rib straps”…..those that hold the pack securely on your back. The leftover strap is securely held by a clip. I’ve run with this pack twice now over 30 miles and the clip held tight.
The backpack, maybe due to its wider design, never gets bulky; the bladder, even when filled to the max, stays rather flat once inserted and worn on the body. The pack just hugs my back, and there is literally no movement once I start running. I’ve never had that happen with any of the other packs I own. At a price tag of $135 this on is by far the most expensive, but unless I discover a major flaw (which at this point is highly unlikely) it was money well spent.