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Nathan HPL 008 Product Review

This review is about the Nathan HPL-008 Hydration Pack. I was lucky enough to win a credit with Nathan through the Running Free lottery and had my eyes on this the second I got in the store. My goal for this hydration pack was to sufficiently supply my long summer training runs as well as provide a couple areas for gels or keys.

Here‘s the product description/specifications directly from Nathan’s website:

Slim and lightweight, the HPL #008 is perfect for shorter endurance efforts and marathon training.

HPL #008 Data·

  • 2-way Propulsion Harness
  • Lightweight, breathable Wall Mesh with soft perimeter binding
  • 1.5 liter Hydration Bladder with a Slideseal™ top closure and bite valve
  • Power St retch Mesh back pocket for jacket or gloves
  • Dual front pockets –– one mesh holster, one zippered
  • Front Power Stretch Mesh pocket
  • Vertically adjustable sternum strap with tube clip
  • Reflective detail
  • Total capacity: 275 cu. in. (4.5 L)
  • Cargo capacity: 175 cu. in. (2.87 L)
  • Dry Weight: 8 oz. (.24 kg)
  • First time Filling

The first time I  used this item I was only doing a 13K run, but was excited to try it out and see how it felt. There are very clear instructions on the bladder as to how to fill and clean, but being a man I didn’t need a silly water reservoir telling how to act. I made things so difficult for myself as I tried detaching everything and filling the bladder, but for some reason didn’t think that hey there is now a hole in the bottom were the tube goes. I ended up pouring water directly onto my floor for a couple seconds before I had t hat “you are stupid” moment.I put everything back together and simply opened the top of the bladder and filled it with no problems afterwards. The opening is very large and I was able to fill it from a fridge water line without removing the bladder from the vest.

First Run and Impressions:

I was only running a short 13K but really filled the bladder to see if the weight and movement would be an issue. I have to say that the first two hundred meters I really noticed the sloshing of the water in the pack and was a little worried that it was going to be a long run. As I continued on I noticed the sloshing less and less as I think I originally was really concentrating on it, but when I didn’t think about it I didn’t notice it. The drink tube sits on a latch right on your chest and is easily accessible while you are running. Once you open the tube there is a bite valve that you squeeze which allows water to flow. I was a little worried that there

would be some leakage or drops after the valve is closed again, but have to say that I had no such problems. I had to put the tube in the clasp twice during the run because I guess I didn’t secure it properly and it came loose. The weather was very warm on this run, about 27 degrees, and while the vest and bladder provide ample hydration it was evident after my run that it also added some heat to my back where it sat. My shirt was really soaked with sweat in this area.

Hot weather Issues

As I noted above the pack really adds some heat to my back so I tried to combat this by adding ice cubes to the bladder to act as a sort of back air conditioner. This did help to stay cooler for a few more KMs but ice doesn’t last too long. On the pro side, I didn’t notice the ice cubes jumping around either. Through this effort I also noticed that water would stay in the tube after each drink and would be fairly warm on your next sip. To try to fix this issue, as no one likes warm water, I would lift my arm up and drain the water back into the bladder after every drink. Not the best form when running, but definitely worth it for cold water. This also meant that each time I would take a drink I would be sucking in a tube full of air before the water kissed my lips. It should also be noted that with the bladder system every single drop of water will be used. There will not be any water left in the pack if you decide you need to drink it all.

Cold Weather Issues

Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to try this item out through a winter season, so I can’t comment on any issues. But I did have concerns about water freezing in the tube and the bite valve basically creating a back pack full of water you can’t drink. I thought I owed it to you readers to research the problem and see if it was valid.A quick internet search brought me to the website http:/www.spadout.com/a/cold-weather-hydrating/ and it provided a lot of ideas on various types of winter hydrating problems and tips. Below are the ideas on how to keep a bladder system from freezing on a winter run:

Fill the bladder with hot water.

Keep the bladder inside your pack, close to your body.
Drain liquid from the tube after every use by blowing back into the tube, or by holding the tube up and squeezing the mouthpiece so the liquid drains back into the bladder.
Keep your tube short so liquid easily drains back into the bladder.
Thaw the mouthpiece by turning the bite valve off and sticking it down between your shoulder blades and backpack.
A sure-fire way to prevent freezing is to wear the bladder on your back, under a few layers and string the tube up by your neck. You will look like a hunchback thoughAll good ideas which I will have to put in use this winter.

Storage

There were two storage areas in this vest which I tried storing a various number of things. There is a zipper pocket on the left side of the vest which I was able to fit, not all at once, sunglasses, winter running hat, very thin rain jacket, phone & MP3 player and money. It should be noted that when I put my rain jacket in the pocket which filled it to capacity I did hit it a few times with my arm swing. The second storage area is a pocket on the right side which is closed by a drawstring. This is where I mostly kept my gels and occasionally would put a phone or MP3 player, keys etc. depending on what I had in the left pocket. There was no bouncing at all with the drawstring side although with the zippered pocket I did notice some movement with my heavier phone.

Recommendation

If you have made it this far into the product review I hope I have provided some information that you may find useful in deciding on making this purchase. In reviewing my report I noticed that most of my notes have been on the negative side of things, but I don’t want any of you to think that I wasn’t pleased with this product. It definitely met my needs of keeping me hydrated for my longest runs. In this marathon program my longest run has only been 30K, but it passed with flying colours. You don’t even notice this item on your back until it is time to hydrate and you definitely would be able to head out for longer than the 30K run I made.In summation, I would recommend this item to people who are going long. Whether it is on the trail or on the road, if you don’t like hydration belts scratching against your stomach or if they don’t provide enough liquid, I would definitely pick up this product.

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