Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro 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!
Vest are by far my favorite way to carry liquids while on a run. They cost zero extra effort, unlike holding a handheld, and from what I’ve seen are way more secure and less bouncy than belts. But even narrowing your search down to just hydration vests, there are still tons of different ones out there. As someone who was in the market for a new hydration vest recently, here are some of the key things I was looking for and found in the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro:Coverage (or lack of)
I almost always run hot so with all my running gear the less fabric touching my skin and keeping heat in, the better. I was extremely happy to find this vest goes above and beyond to be as non-covering as possible. The back pockets are stacked width-wise so the pack only covers the top part of your back, while still holding lots. The sides and front (besides the front pockets) are made of thin straps, for as little coverage as possible, while still being very secure. The vest pretty much only covers about where a sports bra does, and that is a huge bonus for me. I was able to use it on the first hot, buggy day of the season and return without feeling like a complete puddle. It also made me think how much other hydration vests are actually helping if wearing them makes me sweat way more than normal 🤔POCKETS!!!! (Especially front accessible ones!)
One major issue with my last hydration vest was the small number of very tiny front accessible pockets. The Gear Vest Pro has tons of them! It has two Velcro shoulder pockets, two very large cinch-able chest pockets, and one pocket on the outside of each of those chest pockets. It’s fantastic to be able to access so much of your gear without having to take off your vest!
The back has three large pockets that cover the entire back and are layered. The inner most Velcros shut and is where you would place the bladder when you plan to use it and the outer most is a fully closable zipper pocket. All three can be cinched tight with the zigzag elastic cord on the back. I was sick during the Newport Half and couldn’t decide how many layers I needed and was able to easily take them all with me with plenty of room to spare!
The front pockets are also large enough for front bottles, which I would now highly recommend! Not only is it nice to be able to have multiple different fluids on you, but placement and shorter straws on the front bottles keep the liquid cooler longer. My least favorite thing is having cold water in my bladder warm up as it sits in the long straw on my shoulder.
You can also get add-ons to attach poles that can go on the front or the back of the vest!Fit
My last vest was specifically “made for women” but I honestly like the fit of this vest better. I found putting the front pockets over your chest (just like a guy would) worked better than having them go around it. When I used to put my vest around my chest it would cause my arm swinging to hit the pockets sometimes. I feel like putting it over your chest is actually more secure and keeps everything out of the way. This vest is also easy to get on and off so accessing the back pockets isn’t an issue!
Overall this vest is the perfect balance of space and coverage (and honestly better on both ends than I originally thought possible together). I can’t wait to actually be responsible with hydration while hiking this year since this vest so comfy that I’ll actually wear it 😂 And I can’t wait to try running my second ultra in it!If you want to check out Orange Mud gear for yourself use the code BIBRAVEGVPRO for 15% off! Gear Vest Pro