Ok, I wrote a bit about the Orange Mud vest pack a few weeks ago when it first arrived. I wanted to get initial impressions down so I could compare them to thoughts after a longer time period of wear. Since then I figured out how to get it to fit better. The VP1
Last weekend I ran The Cruel Jewel 5(8) mile race in Chattahoochee Mountains. It took me 13 and 1/2 hours in the middle of a hot and humid day. The day got up above 85 degrees, and the climbed that were sometimes as steep as 20% grade shot my body temperature and heart rate up quite high, so I needed water. I had seen a dozen or so 100 milers drop the day before due to heat and dehydration so I made hydration a priority. In order to stay cool I dumped water on my head and shirt all day at each aid station and made sure to drink an entire bottle of water between all aid stations.
My shirt and hair were soaking wet for most of the day, which you would assume would lead to chafing, it did not. The pack synched down tight enough to keep from moving, the only chafing I experienced was from my sports bra, which always chafes me in the same place every race.
The usual bottle that the Vest Pack comes with wasn’t big enough, but the VP1 carried my larger bottle with no problem. (Orange mud does make a 26oz bottle but I didn’t have time to order it.) They have their Purist line of water bottles that don’t taste like plastic. The front two pockets are made of the same wonderfully stretchy fabric that the shoulder pockets are made of. Most of the aid stations were 4-5 miles apart, which ranged between an hour to 1.5 hours depending on how much elevation was in between each aid station. With broth in the flasks in the front pockets, and my water bottle I never ran out of liquids. Even on the one 2+ hour section where there was no aid station for close to 9 miles. Even with the small flasks in the front pockets I still had room to stash some salt caps and dates below them. I put bars and gels into the shoulder pockets and then nut butters in the pockets that flank the bottle in back. I thought it would be a pain to reach up and over my head to grab the nut butters, but the VP1 sits high enough that I could reach with out a problem.
A final and important note; My VP1 stunk so badly after wearing it for a few weeks and then wearing it all day for The Cruel Jewel, thankfully it washed up nicely in the gentle cycle of my washing machine. I made sure to snap the front clasps first, but it smells lovely now! I should mention don’t use fabric softener on any sort of these running packs, the soap will build up and break down the special fabrics. I used dye free detergent and a little bit of vinegar in the pre wash cycle.
Orange Mud is always trying to better their products and is coming out with a female specific line of hydration packs in the next year or so. For now this was good for me, though I look forward to their female specific pack!