Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Hydraquiver Single Barrel to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Maybe as a BibRave Pro I’m partial to anything orange. I actually first heard about OrangeMud a couple years ago when I got their awesome transition wrap. The bread and butter of OrangeMud is their HydraQuiver hydration systems. When I first saw this hydration system I figured it would be uncomfortable, weird, and difficult. I was really excited for the opportunity to test it and prove myself wrong.
I’ve been running since 2007 and I think I’ve gone through just about every hydration method possible and not one of them has passed the goldilocks test. Hydration belts are an absolute fail because I hate the bouncing on my hips. I like my 16oz Nathan handheld for races with aid stations within 6 miles of each other but running with it for a long time tends to knock me off balance and my arm is sore by the end of the day. For most of my longer races, especially ultras, I’ve switched to a hydration pack. I can carry plenty of snacks, my phone, jacket, and keep my hands free. However, hydration bladders are tough to keep clean and they’re a real pain the in the ass to refill at aid stations. After a few drinks, the creator of OrangeMud did what so many runners have failed to do but didn’t know they needed; he combined a hydration pack and a water bottle with a holster. Eureka!
The first test ride was the 10 mile Rock/Creek River Gorge trail race. Risky to try something new in a race, I know, but there’s no better test. The 24 oz water bottle fits snugly in the holster so I had no problem with runaway bottle. My arms are short so it was a little awkward to reach at first but I got better as I went along. At first I stopped to pull the bottle out but by the end of the race I was able to grab it on the move, drink, and replace swiftly better than Katniss in the Hunger Games.
The HydraQuiver single barrel is the most minimal OrangeMud hydration pack. However, even it’s minimal design allows for the storage of my iPhone, keys, cash/cards, several gels, and salt tablets. I had everything I needed! I kept my phone in the back zipper pocket, which you can’t grab without taking the pack off, but I kept the nutrition in the should pockets and it was easy to grab on the move.
Since I’m pretty small and have narrow shoulders, I had to pull the straps really tight. The straps are just nylon with no padding so they dug into my arms more than I’d like. No chafing but I could see it being a problem on a longer run. I wore the pack once with a singlet and the straps were pretty uncomfortable. However, I found out recently that you can buy strap pads and I think I’ll give this a try because I really, really like this pack. This video also helped me find a better fit and how to store the loose ends of the straps.
Finally, I so LOVE the idea of having a hydration pack with bottles, instead of a gross bladder, that I really want to try it for an ultramarathon. However, I know I’ll need a larger capacity pack. Luckily, OrangeMud makes a vest pack, including one with 2 bottles! My BibRave Pro friend, Samantha, tested the single bottle vest pack (VP1) in the fall and was kind enough to lend it to me. You can read her review of the VP1 here. I actually liked the fit of the VP1 much better because it has a chest strap, and padded straps, that allow the pack to sit better on me without needing to cinch it down really tight. I’ll definitely be trying the VP2 in my next long distance trail adventure. I know the aid stations will be so much easier in my future!
Final verdict: with a few adjustments it’ll be time to throw out my hydration bladder.
Check out more OrangeMud HydraQuiver reviews from my fellow BibRave Pros:
Want to learn more about OrangeMud, hydration, and a chance to win a HydraQuiver?? Join the OrangeMud sponsored Twitter #BibChat on May 3rd at 9 pm ET. You can also use code BIBRAVE for 15% off any OrangeMud product!