Guest post by frequent contributor Peter Stuart
Disclaimer: I’m not really a trail runner. I spend most of my time running on very flat California roads, so I don’t have a lot of experience with trail hydration systems. I’m sure those of you out there who are experienced trail runners will have lots of thoughts about other systems. That said, I’ve spent a lot of time carrying around hydration in various forms—belts, handhelds, bladders (which I’m too lazy to clean) and now the Hydra Quiver. I initially wound up getting the Orange Mud Gear Quiver and then the Hydra Quiver as a way to carry my phone on runs (something I really don’t like to do, but for various reasons have had to do lately). Water bottles were enough of a drag to carry as a handheld, but including a phone made running seem like a one-arm strength workout—and seemed to be affecting my stride. Okay, onto the review.
The Hydra Quiver is a great little piece of gear that works for me even though there are many things about it that made me sure that I’d do one run with it and then send it back. I really don’t like carrying stuff with me when I run. Belts have always rubbed me the wrong way—literally, and handhelds have been fine for hydration, but really don’t work for me when I put a phone in the mix. So what’s good about the Hydra Quiver? The pack has a pretty small footprint and disappears on my back. The water bottle is very easily accessible and goes in and out of the bottle holder effortlessly. There’s no bounce and despite the straps running under the arms, I’ve done about a dozen runs in double digits and haven’t had any significant chafing. Phone fits nicely in zippered pocket under water bottle which also has a little key chain attached. There’s an audio port if you want to run headphones out of the pack. The straps are easily adjusted and the pack goes on and off easily. Aside from the sound of a little sloshing, I barely notice that it’s there. Yes, I sweat a little more under it, but it’s worth the trade-off for me to have my hands free. There are also expandable elastic pockets on each shoulder strap with velcro closures. If you want your phone closer, you can squeeze it in there, otherwise it’s a fine place to store a handful of gels or other items you want to keep close like salt tabs or headphones.
I’m guessing that backpack hydration isn’t the solution for everyone. That said, I haven’t really found anything I don’t like about this piece of gear. I haven’t yet worn it with a singlet, but fear it might chafe under the arms if I do so. It does slide off my shoulder a little bit if I do real speed work with it on.
On my first look at the Orange Mud Hydra Quiver I nearly skipped it. I wondered if the pack would bounce, the straps would chafe and the whole thing would just feel awkward. Well, I’m glad I tried it. It’s a pretty invisible piece of gear and I’m thrilled to have my hands free again. It’s made in the USA, it seems bombproof and is a pretty elegant solution for carrying a bottle of water (comes with 24 oz, also can buy 21) as well as gels, phone and keys. The company is extremely responsive (I e-mailed a question to them and five minutes later my phone rang—he said “it’s probably easier to answer the question in person rather than send an e-mail”). Overall, I like this piece of gear WAY more than I thought I would. I’m sort of a princess when it comes to carrying things on my runs—things either work for me or they really, really don’t. It took me quite a while to find a handheld I didn’t want to chuck into the river, so my immediate fondness for the Hydra Quiver surprised me.
Orange Mud makes a pretty similar piece of gear called the gear quiver. I bought the Gear Quiver first (despite Josh at Orange Mud suggesting that the Hydra Quiver might be a better item for me). It’s a decent piece of gear and good if I just want to take my phone or my phone some gel and a small water bottle (like fuel belt size or soft-flask), but it’s not as easy to get water in and out of and if I were just going to get one item it would be the Hydra Quiver. That said, I do use both pretty often. Also, FYI, they make a double quiver and quivers with vests.
Tired of bouncing and sloshing hydration packs? Solution found, meet the HydraQuiver™. The HydraQuiver sports a silky smooth webbing, long spandex pockets (fits up to 8 gels per side or a phone fits in there), an interior rear cargo storage and a silent zipper pull. Thick foam padding and big air channels provide ample support and maximum breath-ability. The water bottle holder sports easy access with a wide funnel opening and perfect retention. We use a reusable BPA free water bottle to make refills quick, but to be green too. For your nighttime safety we have a reflective logo on the bottle holder. There is also an area at the base of the pack to attach your jacket or shirt with our optional cord and cord lock kit. Wear instructions are simple, put on the pack, cinch it down snug and you’re good to go! Yes it fits the ladies just as well as the guys.
Features: Capacity – 140 cu in ~ Weight without bottle, 7.2oz/204 grams, with bottle 10oz/282 grams ~ Super breathable nylon ~ Secure storage with headphone port ~ Bottle: BPA Free 24oz ~ Patent pending