5 Reasons I Love a Hydration Vest

When it comes with hydrating during a race, I think I’ve almost tried it all. I wrote about the first five ways I’ve tried hydrating here. At one time or another they were all my favorites. But then something about them annoyed me, and I moved on.

My most recent half marathon was a trail race, and there was only one aid station for each 4+ mile loop. Maybe you can run without water for 4+ miles, but I knew I needed something more.



Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to talk about 5 reasons I love my hydration pack.

I can carry more water
Like way more water. And it really helped me in training for my trail half, as I ended up running on some very hot days. There were times I had about 50 ounces of water in the bladder; the most I can carry with a handheld bottle is 20 ounces, and the most I’ve carried with a fuelbelt was thirty.

I can put ice cubes in to keep the water cool
It is much easier to put ice cubes into than water bottles due to the larger opening.

The only drawback is the water in the drinking tube will heat up because it’s exposed to the elements, so sometimes you’ll get a little warm water until you reach the water from the bladder.

Apparently some people keep their bladder half filled in the freezer, which also helps to kill bacteria (darn things are difficult to dry out, I found out) — I didn’t try this, and I rarely have a whole lot of room in my freezers anyway.

I never had to stop at an aid station at all

It feels lighter
To me it feels much, much lighter than any other way I’ve tried to carry water. Not everyone feels that way — I chatted with a friend who tried one and to her it felt heavy.

It frees up some space in my pockets
I am able to put my phone in the zippered pocket in back. And a small first aid kit. No water bottles in my pockets.

I have plenty of space for food in my pockets!

It frees up my arms
One of my big problems with both a fuel belt and a handheld bottle, although for years I happily used both, is that it effects my arm swing. The bottles on the fuel belt always seemed to get in my the way of my arms, and of course carrying a bottle in your hand definitely effects your arm swing.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who liked it — Bandit kept photobombing me!

So let me know in the comments:

Favorite way to hydrate during a race?

Could you race 4+ miles before an aid stop?

Do you ever find yourself running out of pocket space? No matter how many pockets I have, it never seems to be enough!

36 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Love a Hydration Vest

  1. I’m really bad at hydrating during races, sometimes I’ll go an entire half without stopping at an aid station if it’s on the cooler side-not smart, I know-and I pay the price for the rest of the day by feeling like crap! During hot races though, I’ll stop at aid stations for a sip of water and dump the rest over my head!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obviously everyone is different — what I worried most about it was chafing. Luckily my race was very cool & rainy so I didn’t have to worry (and it doesn’t seem to chafe my clothes like my fuel belt did).

      I was very lucky that we already had a couple of them. And I’m so glad I decided to try it!


  2. I race more short races than long, but the few halfs I’ve run, I usually take drinks at aid stations after 5 or 6 miles and then a few in the second half of the race–water or Gatorade–doesn’t matter to me. The attempt to stay steady and hold on to good race etiquette is an art and even more so in faster, shorter races if I even stop. I get a little frustrated at people who practically stop in front without checking if they are in someone’s way. Ugh. I think I would actually like to try a hydration pack for training; I’m not sure why I haven’t considered it before. So, thanks for posting!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although I have run 6 miles in training without water — once — because I forgot my water bottle — I need my water! How do you people do it?

      For a shorter race, I agree, I don’t carry water at all. Usually up to a 10k (although I’ve only done a few 10ks, they’re not plentiful around here).

      I agree on race etiquette . . . I run/walk and try to be very aware of who is behind me and get over (not always easy though).


  3. Hydration vests are great. I use the Orange Mud Hydraquiver and while it isn’t perfect, it has definitely affected my racing in a good way! It’s light, frees my hands, and I rarely use the water stops. I like to have access to water at least every mile! I’m glad yours is working so well for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with all of the above. Nothing is perfect — not unless they ever develop the miracle aid stations I wrote about a while ago. 🙂

      Not having to use an aid station is really a plus in my book!


  4. I can run 4 miles without an aid stop, but I try not too because I know that it’s probably the best thing to do! I usually run races with a Nathan handheld so i can drink a little water after every mile. I usually include a Nuun tablet with my water to help me replinish electrolytes.

    The good thing about the Nathan handheld is that is has a zipper compartment for my fuel. Between that and my spibelt, I feel that I have enough space for everything (fuel, cell phone, ipod, chapstick and ID)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because I don’t do gels, and rely on real food instead, it’s bulkier. I have lots of pockets but it just always seems I’m still running out of space.

      Of course I also tucked in some toilet paper just in case.

      I used to run 3 miles without anything in cooler weather, but I realized that that’s not really a great idea — I’ve definitely worked on upping hydration this year, even though I’ve always been pretty good about it!


  5. I can only go 4+ miles without water in the winter months. If I ever decided to run a trail race or take on a full marathon, I’d definitely try one of those hydration vests. Like you, I do feel having a hand-held bottle affects my arm swing and I find myself switching it from hand to hand…which annoys me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I can go longer without water when it’s colder, I realized this year that it’s just not doing me any benefits.

      When I ran with a handheld I switched arms too — I figure it’s more balanced that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m wearing my fuel belt during my 10k because I need water more often. It also has a zippered pocket on the belt so I can keep my phone in there and use my iPod in a back pocket. I keep the belt low enough that the bottles don’t affect my arms, but it does ride up from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For shorter races, if I feel I need more water than the race provides (sometimes, especially in the warmer months), I just stick water bottles into my pockets.

      It’s great that we have so many options! What did they ever do before all this gear? 😉


  7. Maybe 4 miles in the dead of winter if I fueled up, but not on a normal day lOl I really like a pack better than my handheld but I do hate cleaning it LOL I can turn my bladder inside out though and it dries out nicely. I am going to buy a new bladder that comes with clip hoses one of these days so cleaning will be easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought of turning the bladder inside out — good tip! I still haven’t figured out how to get it out of the Camelbak.

      My cheaper one has a clip hose — I really like that feature — but the Camelbak didn’t.

      For shorter runs I still just stick bottles in my pockets!


  8. I really admire those who can run with a camelback! I find mine difficult to hike with! let alone a run!

    I can go up to 5 miles without water… I guess I’m turning into a camel myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve always wanted to try one of these, but fear they would affect my already bad posture. I am terrible about hydrating during races (training runs I carry a hand held and have my route mapped so that I can refill my bottle when needed) and find I’ll get close to the half marathon mark and have only stopped once.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I probably could go 4 miles without water but I wouldn’t want to. For many years I was fine with 30 oz in my fuel belt and circling back to reload. Until I wasn’t. Now I feel like a hydration pack is best for me as well, although I’m not thrilled with the one i have. I’ve got it narrowed down to two. Still not sure which I’ll go with for my Berlin marathon training. I’ll have to keep that freezing thing in mind…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. yes, i could definitely run 4-5 miles without water but i prefer not to and try to hydrate every mile…on short runs of 8 miles or less, i typically use a handheld…for long runs, i started using a vest last year and absolutely love it anything over 10 miles, i take the best…so much better than the belts with the bottles jiggling around my hips and back…that’s a good tip on the freezing, never thought of that because drying the things out is definitely a pain.

    Liked by 1 person

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