A few years ago when I saw the first few Orange Mud HydraQuivers floating around, my first reaction was “Oh, right – like THAT’S going to work…” I’ll be honest – they looked ridiculous.
I am glad that we were lucky enough to get our hands on a couple of them to give them the full work through to see if my perception was even close to reality. Well, I was way off…
Orange Mud sent us their two bread and butter vests – the HydraQuiver and the HydraQuiver Double Barrel. The obvious difference between the two is the single bottle on the HydraQuiver, with the two bottles on the aptly named Double Barrel. Other than a couple of minor differences, these vests are otherwise the same.
Comfort – 3.5
Comfort is top priority when you’re looking at a pack or vest that you will be wearing for multiple hours. The HydraQuiver is designed to sit high on the back, with the inch wide, nylon straps hugging your armpits pretty close. Nearly every user mentioned that they weren’t sure about the fit when they first put it on, but that most fears about comfort were put aside once they started running in it. A few on the fly adjustments during the first run can get the vest fitting just right. You’ll notice the Double Barrel does include some additional padding on the straps. Most users gave high marks for comfort, with a few ticks off for longer duration runs and minor chafing for some.
Ease of Use – 5
It really is as easy as reaching back and pulling an “arrow” out of the quiver. Testers praised Orange Mud for the ability to easily access the bottle and put it back without any undue effort. Shoulder pockets were also easily accessible while on the run. Virtually zero learning curve for these vests as everything seems to be right where you’d expect it. The bottle is held securely on your back – one tester even took a nasty fall (enough for a stress fracture), and the bottle held true. Perfect marks here.
Storage – 4
Both vests have two stretchy shoulder pockets with a tabbed, velcro closure. Seemingly awkward at first, they ended up being comfortable and provided perfect storage for a cell phone and a couple of gels. Rear storage is minimal and does require removing the vest to access. As a vest like this isn’t designed for storage, it gets good marks for what it has – but don’t expect a lot of space here.
Value – 3
The HydraQuiver retails for $84.95, while the Double Barrel sits at $109.95. From a value perspective, you are going to pay quite a bit more for an Orange Mud that you might for a comparable single or double bottle hydration solution. With that being said, the quality of materials and the fit and finish is very good, so we anticipate that this vest should last you a very long time. Plus, the comfort and ease of use is better than most of the other bottle solutions out there.
We really had a fun time using the Orange Mud vests, especially for training runs, where a bottle (or two), phone and maybe a gel or some wipes is all you need on board. Testers were impressed by the ease of access to the bottle – the thing was just SO easy to use. While opinions varied a little, we generally agreed that this is a great solution for the training run/race up to about 4-5 hours – after that, most users were about ready to be done wearing it. This is a fantastic option for those of us that don’t want to carry a bottle and don’t want it bouncing around our waist either!
For a bit more storage and (I think) comfort, they have also recently released their HyrdaQiver Vest Pack 2, which is more of traditional vest design with some additional storage upfront. We’re looking forward to trying that one out as well.
Check out more from Orange Mud at http://www.orangemud.com.