Review: The HydraQuiver from Orange Mud

???????????Product name and make: The HydraQuiver from Orange Mud

Function: Bounce-less, slosh-free hydration pack

Specs: Price = $84.95, hydration capacity of 21-26 ounces, nylon construction

Form: Top-notch construction. Nothing shoddy about this piece of gear. Durable and reliable.

Fit: Spot on for (petite) me; ditto for my average-size female friend; snug and a little restrictive for my big, broad, muscular male friend.

Bottom Line: I’m a huge fan. Since I began testing this product, I’ve taken more runs with it than without it. I’d recommend it, and I’d purchase it as a gift.

Rating: 10/10

I’m a thirsty runner. I’m not one of those camel-ish types who can run a 10k and wait till the finish to sip delicately at a Dixie cup of water. Let’s say I’d prefer a trough.

I’m not a huge fan of hand-helds, because as a trail runner with, ahem, gravity issues, I’m a little terrified of the trip-and-trap factor. That is, the trip-fall-trap-hand-holding-water-bottle-and-break-wrist potential.

I have a bladder-and-hose hydration pack, and until recently, I’ve used that for most of my longer runs. To be honest, I’ve never loved this way to haul my hydration. I feel uncomfortable with all the straps and slings involved in the hydration vest, even though it’s cut specifically for women. Straps over my sides, straps across my shoulders, straps across my chest, and, worst of all, the strap that traverses my ribcage. By the middle of my run, I feel like I’m wrestling a squid.

And then there’s the routine of scrubbing out and air-drying the bladder/hose/mouthpiece assembly after every use, which is kind of a drag.

In light of this, I was very, very excited to try the HydraQuiver by Orange Mud. The HydraQuiver is worn high on the back like a small backpack, with the two shoulder straps wrapping under the armpits. (Major points for no chest-squeezing strap.)

The water bottle (included) is accessed by simply reaching over either shoulder and pulling it from the quiver. It drops back into place easily, so there’s absolutely no drama involved in grabbing a drink and replacing the bottle while moving.

There are several pockets on the HydraQuiver, including an easy-access stretchy pocket on each shoulder, which closes securely with a Velcro tab. Depending on the length and location of my run, I store my iPhone (the pocket looks small, but it’s large enough to accommodate the iPhone 5 easily), my sunglasses, my pepper spray, or a couple of gels or an energy bar. The pocket across the back zippers shut and is a secure place to stow an ID, some cash, and a key.

According to Orange Mud, the HydraQuiver is one-size-fits-all. The straps are adjustable, and elastic loops capture the excess strap length after it’s adjusted (again scoring major points ~ no dangling straps).

As a 5’1″, 105-lb female, I found that the HydraQuiver fit me perfectly. After a few minutes, I didn’t even feel it as I ran. It doesn’t bounce at all. I’ve worn it over a T-shirt, a sweatshirt, and a windbreaker, and they all felt great.

I gave it to a more average-sized (5’7″, 140 lbs) female friend to test, and she loved the fit as well. She had no trouble adjusting the straps to accommodate her.

My running partner wasn’t quite as comfortable in it, though. He’s 6’0″, 190 lbs, and very broad and muscular through his chest and shoulders. He wore the HydraQuiver for a few miles and felt that it was a bit restrictive, binding him uncomfortably under his arms. However, he did really enjoy the ease of removing and returning the bottle from the quiver, though, and thinks maybe the double HydraQuiver might be a better option for him and others built like him.

Overall, I’m really happy with this product and have recommended it to a number of other runners.

Disclaimer: Thanks to the nice people at Orange Mud for sending us a HydraQuiver to test and review. This did not influence the outcome of my review, which was written after objective wear-testing.

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