This is not a “Heavy” Topic
This is not a heavy topic, as in what internal baggage do I carry with me, what weighs me down emotionally, mentally, etc. I simply mean, what do I carry on my long runs, the practical application? For long distance runs (for me, double digit miles), my preference after much trial and error, is a hydrationvest/backpack. I’ve tried the belts, various hand held water bottles, and a hydration vest is by far a great solution.
My experience… I have found that the belts are not terrible, but they do bounce some, and I would sometimes struggle getting the bottles in/out. When I’m putting all out effort into a race, I don’t want to waste any energy wrestling with my hydration belt. I also didn’t think there is enough storage area either. I like a hand held water bottle for a short run (I use Nathan), but other than carrying my keys and maybe a snack, that’s all it can carry.
Let’s get some misconceptions on the hydration vest out of the way before we go any further…
- I can’t feel it bounce when I run.
- It is not heavy.
- It is not uncomfortable.
Related Topic: Common Runner Hydration Mistakes to Avoid
Hydration Vest Fits…
I carry 2L of fluid in the vest, plus so many other things that I may need on the run, or race. Here’s what I carry in my Nathan vest (Nathan VaporCloud Hydration Backpack):
Yes, ALL of that fits in my vest, and I promise I could fit more if needed. It allows me to be ready and self sufficient on a run; that’s a good feeling. How often can a run or race be sidetracked by chafing, lack of food, lack of hydration, too much/little clothing, cramping, and on and on? Why let a run be sabotaged by something that can often be remedied, if you have what you need?
- Car keys (duh)
- iPhone XS
- Sun Bum face sunscreen stick (I don’t run without sunscreen)
- Lip balm
- Glide (mini)
- Biofreeze (small packet)
- Body Wipes
- Small amount of cash
- Salt Stick Fastchews
- Sweets of choice (gummies, Starburst jelly beans, sour candy)
- Mini bag of pretzels or Cheez-It’s
- Clothing – especially if I take off jacket, arm warmers, etc.; easy to store
- Emergency whistle which came with vest. Thought… I need to add pepper spray.
Tips For Hydration Vest Use
If you are to use a hydration vest, here are some tips to ensure your hydration vest is a great solution:
- Fill “bladder” (yes, that’s what they call it) the night before and put in fridge.
- Once bladder is put into vest, turn upside down and suck out air from bladder. That cuts down on any sloshing you may hear while running.
- For extra long runs, or when it’s really hot, I will use Glide in areas where I think some friction may occur.
- Remember you can mix with any type of electrolyte (“Isotonic,” as often called) beverage you prefer, or completely fill with just an electrolyte beverage.
- Front pockets often allow you to carry additional bottles (mine can carry two 22 oz. bottles) so you can have a variety of hydration with you.
- Not that it is a huge deal, but those Isotonics with dye can stain your bladder (and clothing, for that matter).
- After using the bladder, I rinse it, turn it inside out and wash it. Then, let it air dry until my next use.
There are a LOT of options out there. Be sure to research before buying, and if possible, try it on. Know that the vests can often be adjusted with the straps to make it fit to you comfortably. It should be snug, but comfortable. Most come in sizes, so look at the size chart! Be sure to buy one that has sufficient liquid capacity for your purposes. Lastly, some vests actually don’t include the bladder, or bottles, so read description carefully (if purchased online) before purchasing.
And that’s about it. I will expand more on things that I carry in the emotional sense perhaps another time. 😉
Here’s a two links on considerations and ratings of hydration vests. 5 things to know when buying a hydration vest and Hydration vest reviews.