Nathan Hydration Race Vest
Over a year ago when I was training for the GORE-TEX® TransRockies Run (GTTRR,) I purchased a Nathan HPL #20 Race Vest. During my training I found the vest to be a solid piece of gear and a staple on my long runs. Before purchasing the HPL #20, I used a CamelBak M.U.L.E. The M.U.L.E. seemed to be better for cycling or short hikes. The M.U.L.E. has no accessible front pockets like the HPL #20 has. That means, every time you need food or a camera you have to take the pack off to get to the supplies. The front pockets on the HPL #20 are easily accessable for getting to your GU, Enduralytes, camera, music, etc. without having to stop. The Big Bite Valve™ on the Camelbak is a better mouthpiece than the mouth piece on the Nathan pack. the elbow joint on the HPL #20 mouth piece malfunctioned and it became hard to get a steady stream of water. I used duct tape to solve the problem. I am happy to say, it looks like Nathan recognized the problem and have replaced the old mouth piece and modified the elbow joint. Hopefully that fixes the issue. Overall, I was quite pleased with the pack and racked up hundreds of miles with it.
Two days into the GTTRR I ran into a snag with the pack. The rubber joint that holds the straps to the bag split (snap location indicated in the picture.) We were running through Leadville, CO. I stopped in a sporting goods store and picked up an Osprey Pack. The Osprey pack was considerably larger but ended up being a good pack for the GTTRR event. This particular Osprey pack is a little too much pack for regular running. As a pack in general it is AWESOME.
I left the remains of the Nathan HPL #20 in my closet and eventually scrapped the parts to a friend of mine that had a HPL #20. But, that is just the beginning of why I am writing this post.
Two weeks ago at the Baltimore Running Festival Expo, I ran into the Nathan team. I started chatting with Bill from Nathan, we got around to talking about the packs. Just to help with product quality I showed him where my pack had failed. He assured me that shouldn’t have happened and took it a step further. He offered to replace it. I explained that I had put a lot of miles on the pack and that I had washed it repeatedly. Bill told me that it didn’t matter, it should not have failed. He said “Nathan stands behind their products.” I was pleasantly surprised.
I wasn’t happy when the rubber broke, I figured that the race vest had given me a lot use and I may have been putting it through more than it was designed for. Nathan didn’t owe me anything. A week after meeting Bill at the expo, I received a package in the mail with a new race vest. I am impressed with the Nathan team and the fact that they actually do “stand behind their products.”
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I really like my HPL #20 vest, but do prefer the camelback bladders.