Runners give their views on hydration packs

We delve into the packs of four local runners to get their views on the best options around

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 January, 2015, 5:21pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 January, 2015, 5:21pm

The long run pack: Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 2.0

Emily Woodland, 34, a fund manager, has been using this Ultimate Direction bag for the last six months. She took it on long runs while training for the 2014 RacingThePlanet Atacama Desert race, in which she was the first female finisher. "I use it for long training sessions of more than four hours when I need to carry a lot of fluid, snacks, electrolytes, emergency gear and a change of clothes," she says.

"The bag is much more durable and of better quality than other brands I've tried. It doesn't chafe, and has many easily accessible storage options. It carries everything you could possibly think to take, and you are spoilt for choice with all the pockets.

"Although I like the way it fits when carrying gear, the only downside is when it's empty it's a little loose. I'd like a better way to cinch it tighter round the sides when it's emptier; there are elastic drawstrings but they don't work very well."

Specs: 11 litres of storage; 3.5 litres of fluid capacity via a two-litre bladder and two bottles of up to 750ml each; 454 grams without bottles. HK$1,350

Emily's rating: 8.5/10

The everything pack: Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Hydro 12 Set

Knattapisit "KK" Krutkrongchai, 38, an insurance industry worker, has been using this Salomon bag for more than a year and finds it good for different runs.

"I've found this bag is the most comfortable over long periods. It fits like a jacket and does not move around. Considering its capacity [12 litres] it is very light at only 320 grams. It's very well-designed in terms of its features," says Knattapisit.

"It's good for both short and long runs in summer when you need plenty of fluids. In winter, I only use the bag for long runs, as I don't need to carry so much water. My gripe about the bag, particularly the new model, is they've designed it for use with only soft flasks at the front. Although easy to use, they leak easily and are expensive to replace. The flask shrinks as you drink, and it slides down the front pocket, requiring you to dig it out. That can be annoying during a race. You can rely on the hydration bladder at the back, but it takes time to take out and refill."

Specs: 12-litre storage capacity plus 2.5-litre fluid capacity through hydration pack (1.5 litres) and two 500ml soft flasks; 320 grams. HK$1,690

KK's rating: 8/10

The waist-belt: The North Face Enduro Belt 1

Ryan Blair, 43, heads local outdoor company Asia Pacific Adventure and has for a long time managed and raced for the Champion System Adventure Team. He had the opportunity five years ago to be part of the global development of The North Face Enduro Belt 1, and has run with the pack ever since.

"This pack is very dear to my heart, although I'm obviously a little biased. It's simply one of the best waist belts around. It has a wide belt with one simple buckle, one simple pocket, and a bottle that's easy to access. It's incredibly comfortable - the fabric doesn't chafe even when worn on bare skin. The bottle holder is stiff enough to be stable, but also smooth when pulling the bottle out.

"It holds a single bottle [500ml] with the ability to add a 235ml bottle, making it perfect for a short run of 90 minutes, or where you have regular access to drinking points. It has been my go-to shorter training pack for many years or for shorter races with regular checkpoints.

"The outside pocket is big enough to store everything I need for a short outing - a phone, gel, and keys - while an inside pocket stashes money and an electrolyte sachet. If I could change anything, I might opt for a second smaller pocket and have the fabric changed to something more stretchy and expandable."

Specs: fluid capacity 500ml, plus 235ml option; 135 grams, plus 75 grams with the bottle. HK$290

Ryan's rating: 9/10

The racing pack: UltrAspire Alpha

Jun Sat, 31, works in the outdoor industry and loves to compete in trail running races whenever he can. He's been racing with this UltrAspire race vest for the past six months.

"This pack is good for short runs and is perfect during a race. I prefer to carry only essential items during races, as I can always grab extra food and drinks from checkpoints. This pack allows me to do that while not weighing me down as it's very light.

"It's very functional and detail-oriented - it has a water-resistant magnetic pocket for stashing electrolyte tablets, and I can easily access the back storage and pull out a windbreaker without having to take off the pack. If I could change one thing, I would make one of the pockets at the front bigger so it could hold my Octopus card. I would also change the colour to my favourite yellow."

Specs: 7.2-litre storage plus fluid capacity for a 2-litre reservoir, and pockets at the front which could carry bottles; 340 grams; HK$999

Jun's rating: 8.5/10