Having a pretty extensive background in mountain biking, running and triathlon I have had the opportunity to use a wide variety of hydration systems over the years.
I recently decided to try the Nathan Hydration Pack as I was curious to see how it measured up to the other hydration systems I have used in the past. While this hydration “pack” system is a bit more expensive than some others on the market, overall I was pretty impressed with it. Some of the key features that stood out for me were the vest, the large capacity hydration bladder, the storage pockets and the fact it provides some insulating protection from the elements.
I must say I really prefer the 3–way harness “vest” as compared to the two shoulder straps used on other hydration pack systems. The vest is both lightweight and provides a more “snug” fit which I prefer when using it for biking, running and hiking as it prevents the pack from moving around on my back (which can be annoying for me). Additionally, the zippered pockets on the back are great for storing maps, gels, wallet, etc., and the mesh pockets on the front are great for holding your cell phone, GPS, etc.
The large 2 liter bladder is a great idea as it keeps the “fluids” from sloshing around as you continue to drink from it – unlike the water bottle hydration systems – and will keep you well hydrated for hours!
Finally, the padding provides enough insulation that it keeps the fluid relatively cool in the summer and prevents it from freezing in the winter – at least for training sessions up to a couple of hours. However, you might want to consider investing in an insulating sleeve to keep the fluid in the hose from freezing in cool weather.
Overall I think the Nathan Hydration Pack is ideal for mountain biking, hiking, trail running and adventure racing in a variety of weather conditions.