Mountain Hardwear Fluid Race Vest: Final Analysis

What’s the best way to haul water when running long distances?

Aug 3, 2012
Outside Magazine



If you pit the Fluid against other hydration systems, it fares well. For $60, the product doesn’t come with its own water bottles or hydration bladder, but those can be added for a small price ($10-$30). So it’s basically a modular system that lets you add your favorite options. With a large hydration bag, you can carry a couple quarts of pure water on a long trek. With bottles, you can swap out a specially made supplement mix, given by your pit crew in a race. I also like the Camelback HydroBak ($43), but it’s not as comfortable as the Fluid. Plus, after a few years you need to replace the hydration bladder anyway (mine was hosed the day my son backwashed part of a hamburger and I forgot to clean the bag before storing it—TMI, I know.)

For the final test, I decided to wear the vest on a speed workout, despite the potential for bouncing (and despite the fact that my running partner insisted on calling the vest a “man-bra”). I should explain that my running buddy is sort of demanding. He likes to run in the middle of the day despite hot conditions. He likes to meet on a random dirt road in the middle of nowhere, with no access to a car or high school gym to grab water.

We planned to run a warm-up, six by one-mile repeats, and a warm-down. The midday sun was brutal, it was humid, and temps were in the high 80s. The Fluid stayed put on repeats at an average 6:30 pace, and it was comfortable and secure the whole time. The day demanded a constant need to rehydrate, and after an hour, it was great to pause for a big water break and a refueling. There really is no other way to travel.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web