I jumped into a whole new realm of hydration packs the day I picked up the North Face Enduro 13. I went into the store looking for a way to carry my bottles and get me enough liquid so I could maneuver my way through the Zane Grey 50 mile race without becoming completely dehydrated like last year. This bag is quite a bit different than your normal hydration pack in that its primary purpose is to carry two 20-24 oz. water bottles and free up your hands. For most races and runs 40-48 oz is plenty of liquid to get you to the next aid station but in the case of Zane Grey where you’re traveling 10-11 miles in the hot desert sun between aid stations you need a back up water source and that is where the 70 oz. bladder comes into play. I have been through so many different packs and usually I come back to the same glaring issue, I really don’t like to drink out of a hydration tube and prefer bottles so I needed to find a pack that makes carrying bottles comfortable.
This bag is designed with comfort in mind as they have made the shoulder straps from super breathable E-Vap foam covered with a skin friendly mesh to prevent any rubbing or chaffing while running. The straps cinch down tight on your shoulders to prevent movement while running and the Velcro straps across the chest keep it from moving side to side. Right wear the top Velcro straps come together they have put a tiny pouch that can hold GU or salt tablets while you run for easy access. All good packs are designed to feel comfortable for hours on end and in order to do that they needed to have a belt buckle that doesn’t rub while running but tightens up enough to keep the pack from moving around. The waist buckle is offset to prevent any rubbing or chaffing and the sturdy strap keeps secure. On both sides of the waist belt are pockets that can hold a camera, GU, Gels, etc and the location on the bag make them easy to access while running. One of the pockets has the see through mesh lining and one pocket is closed to keep valuables dry during your run.
There are several waist belts and packs on the market that hold bottles but the design of the offset bottles is perfect. I have tried on waist pack where my arms will rub against the bottles but in the 12 hours that I wore this at Zane Grey I never once had my arm rub up against the bottle. The bottles are extremely easy to access while running and surprisingly easy to put back into the bungeed pouches. I have found that I drink like a camel while racing and I do like to have extra water on me when it will be a long time in between aid. Some hydration packs will weigh you down when the pack is full of liquid but the Enduro 13 is designed completely different with the two outside bottle holders that are bungeed in and then there is the optional 70 oz bladder you can easily put in the pack. This would be perfect for the Grand Canyon where you need to carry all of your supplies with you just in case. The main compartment of the bag can be used with or without the bladder and when the bladder is not inserted you have the ability to carry a rain jacket, pants, or pretty much any extra gear that you could think of. This pouch is extremely roomy and has an inside pocket to separate your items. Another really cool feature on the outside of the bag is a place to hold your trekking poles for a race like Hardrock or Speedgoat. These races let you carry poles with you but really the last thing you want when going downhill is to worry about having your poles bounce around or have to hold them in your hands. They easily go into the bag and make running with them attached a breeze.
I paid $89.00 for this bag and find it to be well worth the sticker price. I have bought several bags that were $150 plus and they did not even come close to comparing. One thing you will notice when you first try on this pack is the length so it may not be right for everyone but I really like the way it feels even after using it for 12 straight hours. As with all items it is all about individual taste and preference but this really is a great bag. I loved this bag so much that I will be using it for a 50 mile unsupported training run of the Mogollon Monster 100 course.
Leave me your feedback on your experiences with hydration packs. I can’t wait to try the new Ultraspire packs.
Powered by Facebook Comments