As friends of mine continue to talk me into crazy mountain runs, the time came last week to make a commitment to some new gear: a hydration backpack. For years, I've hated trying to have water with me, completely wasting money on a fuel belt that I hated. I've pretty much managed to take a small water bottle with me on runs longer than 10 miles, or strategically ran to a park with water fountains, or placed water outside my house. In simple terms, I like my hands to be free on long runs. It was time for me to find something that works, especially with marathon training coming this summer. So on Friday I bought a hydration pack from Outdoor Products at Walmart. After one run, I couldn't be happier with this purchase. With two straps -- one across the chest and another near the belt line -- it was never a distraction at all on my mountain adventure on Saturday. I filled the bladder up about half way and it was never a nuisance. I always had this assumption that it would be awful to carry the extra weight, but I didn't mind at all. And with some extra pouches, I had more than enough room for my Flip cam, a Clif bar, my phone, some toilet paper and a key -- I could easily have fit a sandwich in there and a few other small items without it being a problem.
I know I've only taken one run with this, but it's rare that I speak so highly about something so quickly -- so that should mean something to anyone who is skeptical or may be looking for a product like this.