Gear

First Look: VaporMag 2.5L Hydration Vest from Nathan

Well designed, this hydration vest limits bounce and has plenty of easy-access storage

VaporMag 2.5L Hydration Vest by Nathan
Weight: 4oz without flasks, 7.2oz with flasks
Price: $125

The VaporMag vest fits and feels more like a moisture wicking t-shirt than a pack, giving it a bare-essentials feel while simultaneously making room for everything you need, and then some. Featuring two front-loading soft flasks with extended mouthpieces that make for easy on-the-move hydration without the need to use a bladder, this vest provides ample storage for food and water that can be accessed without taking the pack off. While the front pockets are great for food storage, they’re a bit small for larger smartphones.

Many packs with front loading bottles are notorious for some level of bounce that can lead to some seriously uncomfortable rubbing and chafing: not this pack. The women’s-specific fit creates a bounce-free ride.

The back has pockets that are also easy to access on the go, beginning with a lower back stash pocket that allows for quick storage of extra layers, bottles or even trekking poles. The ease of stashing accessories away without breaking stride on a technical trail makes it an obvious choice for race day. If front loading bottles are not for you, there is an upper back pocket enough for a 1.5L bladder, a lightweight jacket or any other essentials you want to bring along. An extra zipper pocket on the backside of the pack fits a larger phone, though it is difficult to access without taking the pack off.

Versatility is the name of the game with this pack: use it for a race as short as a half marathon where you just want easy access to hydration and food without using a belt or handheld, or for an event as long as a 100-miler where you’d need to carry poles, headlamp, extra layers, food, water, etc.

Patricia Franco is a Carbondale, Colorado based mountain runner by summer and skimo racer by winter; you can find her somewhere scrambling in the alpine or kick turning her way up a slope to earn some turns, depending on the season.