Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hands Free Hydration Part 2: Orange Mud Hydraquiver Double Barrel & VP2 Review!



Hey!  Now that I've finished my first 50 miler, and haven't set a new goal or race to train for, it's time to get caught up on some reviews!!  I've been fortunate enough to have been trying out all kinds of new gear and minimalist footwear, but it's time to share what I've learned with you all!


What's up for today? A two for one review!  If you've been following along, you know that I ran my first 50K in May using the Hydraquiver Single Barrel from Orange Mud.  I loved it, and it pretty much replaced my hand held for shorter runs.   Well, since then I ran another 50K with the Hydraquiver Double Barrel, and shortly after that, a 50 Miler using the new VP2.  I love the Orange Mud products so much, that I asked to become an Ambassador!

And I'm stoked to say I get to be an ambassador for yet another terrific company full of great people, and amazing gear! So, it's probably obvious that this will be a good review of these two products, but I also wanted to give kind of a compare/contrast review of the Double Barrel and the VP2 since they both carry two bottles, but offer some unique differences as well.   So, check out the review, and stay tuned at the end also as I get to give away a Double Barrel Hydraquiver to one of you!


Ok.. first up, the Double Barrel.  Basically, if you like or have tried the Single Barrel, the Double is just twice as good!  Well, obviously twice the hydration.  The Double is built very much like the Single Barrel, but instead of a zippered storage access on the side, the Double has a larger zippered access across the top.


Inside the zippered part is a smaller storage bag that hangs inside the area behind the bottles.  It's a great place to store smaller items, additional gels etc, and keeps them from falling down into the larger area and making it hard to find them.


In addition to the hanging pouch, the zippered top allows access to pretty much the entire back of the pack.  Pretty decent storage, but keep in mind it may change the fit and feel of the pack of course.


Otherwise, the only other difference between the Single is the addition of these added wrap-around covers for the shoulder straps.  These are a nice feature if the plain straps cause you any issues, but I've not had any issues with the Single in this respect.  When I run with the Double, these pads are generally more in my armpit, than up higher and that seems to work well.  The Double has the same super handy expandable shoulder pockets for phones, gels, keys etc, and it has very much the same fit as the Single (better snugged up and riding higher the better).  There is of course a slightly different feel due to the extra weight of another full bottle, but I didn't notice it riding much differently.  I do try to alternate drinks out of the bottles to keep the weight balanced.


So how did it perform?  Amazingly well.... I ran just over 9 hours with it during the Tommyknocker Ultra 50K (34 M), and just about forgot I had it on..   plenty of hydration for the longer aid station stretches and room for extra fuel in the back portion.  Here I'm taking a shot of  moonshine whiskey at the last aid station (versus filling one bottle up!)



AND now.. the VP2!   This is a terrific pack, and I took a chance on running with this one on my 50 miler, after only taking two short runs with it.  I knew the Double would be fine for the long haul, but decided to give this version of the two bottle carrier a go.


So, what are the similarities to the Double Barrel?  Both packs have the velcro close, expandable shoulder pouches, ride comfortably  with very little bounce,carry two bottles,have a tie down on the back, and both share the super high-quality construction that Orange Mud is known for.

After those items, things are a bit different.  The VP2 has a wider panel that comes up and over the shoulder, replacing the simple straps of the Double and Single. This allows the addition of some spacious and expandable pouches on the chest to carry a lot more goodies! The tops cinch down nicely if you don't want stuff popping out as well.  The trade off is that there is no big storage pouch on the back, as you find on the Double, but I like that you can access everything you are carrying without having to take the pack off. Also, the bottles on the VP2 sit a little straighter and wider, versus the kind of V shape of the Double. Both are easy to grab the bottles with, but I liked the feel of this set up better.

Also, there is one additional adjustment to make. Instead of one pull on the strap to adjust tension, the VP2 has adjustments on the side, as well as a chest buckle that can be adjusted as well.  This system works great, however it will just take you more time to find the right balance between the tension on the sides, and across the front to keep the pack snug, comfortable, and to stop any bouncing.  This took me the two short runs before my 50 miler to figure out, and I made a few slight adjustments on the 50 miler, but once I got it dialed in, it was super comfortable!

Finally, the VP2 has a much less padded back, compared to the Double/Single.  This made for a little less cushiness on the back side, but it also makes this feel a little cooler than the Double.  And, this may be TMI, but I sweated a ton in this pack during the 50 miler, and haven't washed it yet..  a little crusty, but still smells new!  Some pretty good anti-microbial treatment...    and yes, I will rinse it out :-)



How did it perform?  Flawlessly...     the Bear Chase 50 Miler took me just over 14 hours, and it was brutally hot..  I was so glad to have two bottles between aid stations!  But the pack rode really comfortably, and I had room to carry extra fuel that I liked (that the aid stations didn't have), as well as a USB charger and cord for my Garmin so I could get beyond the 8 hour battery life!  But after 14 sweaty hours, I had no chafing issues, and loved being able to easily reach back and snag a bottle when I needed it.  Also, one guy that passed me said that he thought I had a jet pack on when he was approaching me! I really wish I had!

So there you go... if I missed something, or you have a question, feel free to leave a comment below, email me, or hit me up on Facebook.  Also, you can check out the Orange Mud website by clicking HERE.. and dont' forget, use "BAREFOOTINCLINED" for 10% off!


If you've read this far.. congrats!  Or even if you cheated and just scrolled down here.. it's cool ;-)

I'm giving away one Orange Mud Hydraquiver Double Barrel, and you can get entries by using the Rafflecopter thingamjig down below!  I'll run this contest until 10PM MST, Wednesday, October 15th, 2014.  Open to the residents of the U.S. and Canada.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's it!  Thanks again as always for tuning in...

Happy trails!

Jeff
barefootinclined@gmail.com
http://barefootinclined.com