Guest Blogger Jen Hardy

Curious on what some of the ambassadors, staffers, and other runners use for hydrating on long runs and races? It is that time of year for SFMers to get going on their long training runs and so what better way to kick that off than to go over our favorite hydration systems!

The Handheld

Amphipod Hydraform Thermal-Lite 12 or 20 ounce

This handheld is definitely a favorite among long distance runners. This bright green bottle feels like it was made personally for my hand.  It’s snug but not too tight.

Additionally, the storage pocket can fit a lot more than meets the eye. I have been able to fit a few credit cards, two GU’s and my house keys.

Nathan Quickdraw Elite 22 ounce

Nathan makes a great product and it shows through the following testimonies.  Ambassador Mark Hagan recently sported this handheld at a midnight half marathon.

My partner uses this handheld for long training runs and recently for the San Luis Opispo Marathon. He likes the comfort of the hand strap and the storage area, where he can fit keys, gels, and salt tabs. Sometimes the bottle can feel a little loose or if you have small hands it may feel like a big bottle.

Other ambassadors have also supported Nathan’s Quickdraw Elite and they recently just revamped the look!

CamelBak Quick Grip Handheld 21 ounce

A well known fact is the quality of CamelBak’s hydration packs.  This somewhat translates to the handheld. The bottle itself keeps liquids very cold, which is something that makes this bottle stick out. I used this bottle many times for long runs over 15 miles and it worked very well. My only drawback is how bulky the bottle feels.  I much prefer the Amphipod shape for longer runs over 15 miles but really love how cold my water/electrolytes stay in this bottle and so I use this dependent on the weather.

Simple Hydration 13 ounces

This really isn’t a handheld but I didn’t know where else to put this! This really is simple hydration.  A friend and also Runner’s World forum introduced me to this bottle. There are no straps, pockets, or Velcro involved. It really is just a bottle and you need to see a picture to get an idea of how this works. The bottle is shaped to fit inside the waistband of shorts.   The company advertises this bottle for 3-10 miles because it is only 13 ounces but my friend says he uses it for all distances because he can refill it very easily. If you are a minimalist and do not need to hold anything else, this might be the bottle for you!

The Belt

Nathan Speed 2R  Auto-Cant

Ambassador Westley Lashley uses this belt. There are two bottles and so you can put water in one and a sports drink in the other. Westley also likes the storage pocket in the back, where he can put several gels and other items. One drawback to this belt is the size of the bottles. Westley wishes they were just a little bigger. Each bottle is 10 ounces.

Amphipod Hydration Run Lite

A Runner’s World forumite loves this belt because of how diverse it is. One can change which bottles to put on it, take off the pocket, and similar to the belt above, put in different types of liquids.  A drawback of this belt is the difficulty with the bottle seal – it is hard to take on and off and sometimes the liquid will drip.  As with many bottle belts out there, each runner needs to find the right “fit” and so what you put in the bottles and pockets will make a difference in how you like this belt.

The Pack

Nathan HPL 20  2L (female or unisex)

This is my baby. I love my Nathan HPL. I hardly feel like I am carrying 2L of water in addition to all the other stuff I lug around. I usually carry gels, salt tabs, cell phone, money, and extra food in my pack for long training runs. I am also considering using this for marathons because I never have to stop running to access all of these things (unless I need to fill my bladder or reach for the back pockets).  Staffer Jojo Rueland is also a Nathan HPL gal. Originally, I was only using this pack for runs over 16 miles but now I am finding myself using it for runs around 10 miles because my body has become so used to having it on.

Ultraspire Surge 2L (unisex)

The Surge is a much more sleek pack than the Nathan HPL. Ambassador Libby Hallas Jones is a huge fan of the Surge. You can see what she can fit in her Surge here.  I actually bought a Surge and really loved the design of it. Just like Libby has pointed out, you can fit A LOT of things in this pack and not feel like you are carrying a huge load. The pack is also specially designed for ultra or long distance runners and so there are many more pockets for all those little necessities (salt tabs, more food, more water).

The Surge has already sold out a few times since its debut in December 2011.  It’s definitely one of the hot items out there. 

Hydrapak E-Lite 1L (unisex)

Staffer Jojo Reuland and Ambassador Aron Eichorn are fans of this pack for its light weight factor and easy refill bladder. You can read more about this pack at Aron’s blog.

If you are interested in a smaller pack than the Nathan or Surge, this one might be right for you.

All of these hydration packs come with a hydrapak bladder. If you desire a CamelBak bladder, it can be easily switched.

Most importantly

Whatever product you use, whether it is a full blown pack or simple hydration, make sure you have a plan in place for hydrating during your long runs. Ambassador Luis Bueno made a good point about always carrying something because sometimes even aid stations will run out of water. My next blog entry will go over hydrating during the marathon, particularly the San Francisco Marathon.

If you use another hydration system not listed here, please tweet me (@GurlSaved) and we can talk hydration. I love learning about hydration products that work well, can’t you tell? Happy training!