One of the drawbacks of being human (or sasquatch-ean?) is that water is necessary to sustain life. While this is probably good news for companies that sell water, for people on the move it also means the need to schlep water around. A water bottle on my desk at work or in the gym cup holder is relatively simple and probably not worth much fuss. Running around in the great outdoors on the other hand is a bit more problematic. Once upon a time one could probably have stopped and taking a refreshing pull from a crystal clear stream to quench the thirst. Now, if you do that, you will probably die within 10 yards from some horrific cornucopia of parasites. This leaves us runners few options for carrying this necessary liquid. Bottle in hand, bottle stashed along your route, belt, or a hydration pack.
First and foremost I am not fond of carrying anything in hand while I run. I have an irrational (wait, I do it all the time, so totally rational) fear of falling. And I know if I fall with a bottle in my hand that my bottle, hand, arm, and/or pride are going to take a massive blow. I like to keep my hands clear to pretend at least like I could catch myself. Plus, you can’t fight off the inevitable werewolf attack with hands full of water. That’s important too. Stashing bottles is a flat out no, come on, that’s just asking for someone to tamper with, or drink it in a thirsty moment of panic. Plus it ain’t easy making your way out into the middle of a trail just to set water down then back so you can start your run. Unless you have a Iron Man suit or something, which I do not. Speaking of super heroes, belts always made me feel like bat man. I should be flinging batarangs not sipping Gatorade from them. And again, should I (ha, should I, how about when I) trip, having a bottle precariously close to regions of my body that should NEVER be used to cushion a fall is a bit disconcerting. This brings us to packs. Most packs are big and bulky with bladders that are heavy and flop around. That works about as well as it sounds. This leads to a tough decision on what to suffer with. Well, queue up your best infomercial voice. That is no more. Let me introduce you to the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel.
Unlike an infomercial, this is a bad ass product. First of all it comes in 2 flavors for runners: the single barrel and the double barrel. That is how many water bottles it holds. “But you hate bottles” you say to me. Well these are bottles you hold these are bottles that sit in holsters on your back. Not low slung like a bladder but high on your back between your shoulder blades. This is awesome as it means that the swaying and flopping is very minimal and is so much easier on the back for long distances. The lightness of the pack cannot be understated as it was one of the toughest things I dealt with for my long trail races. I assume it’s called a hydra quiver cause it really is like reaching in and plucking out an arrow from a quiver, which, when you get down to it is awesome. Furthermore, you don’t even have to use their bottles if you didn’t want to, although they do make for a perfect fit in the holster. It also has abundant cargo space for food stuffs or whatever on the shoulders, making for an easy reach. On the back is another compartment for phones, wallets, cards, cash, maps, and assorted other small things needing carried. There is even a draw cord between the barrels for cinching down a shirt or jacket or whatnot.
I really cannot understate how comfy and easy this thing is to use. No water tube to keep clean or have a plastic taste. The padding is soft and easy on the back where it rests. Really it is exactly what I had been searching for out of a pack. My only qualm was really just getting used to putting a bottle back into it’s holster behind my back. But once I got used to where it was, the mouth of the holster is wide to guide it back in and it became a smooth action. I had been concerned that the straps that go under the arms to secure it to the body would chafe but I really didn’t even know they were there. I saw pictures of others wearing them with no shirt so I think they are very well placed to minimalize that kind of thing. I highly recommend this for anyone who needs a means to carry water (be it the single bottle or double) or doesn’t like their current method for transporting it. You won’t be disappointed. For the record, I purchased mine online at www. Orangemud.com so my opinion is my own and isn’t influenced other than my own squealing glee at having a pack I love instead of dread.