Seriously?! It's been raining at least once a day for about two weeks in a row. So, I decided to just get it done this morning, rain or shine. Besides, I was excited to try out a hydration vest from CamelBak called the Marathoner.
Someone from CamelBak contacted me a couple weeks ago and asked if I would want to review one of their hydration packs. Since I'm just getting into the long marathon training runs, it was perfect timing! When I was training for my first marathon last year, I bought a hydration belt to carry a 20 oz. bottle of water. It worked just fine, but I really dreaded wearing it. After about 10 miles, it always makes my back ache, and sometimes it causes a cramp in my side.
So when I swore off marathons (hahaha!) I bought a handheld water bottle to carry 10 oz. of water. I like the handheld much better, but it has limitations--10 oz. of water doesn't last very long, particularly in the summer months. I would have to plan my running routes around places to refill my water.
I had thought about giving a hydration vest/backpack a try, but honestly, I had a hard time believing that it would be comfortable and not bounce around while I was running. However, I saw that the hydration vests/packs have a lot of great reviews; the people that use them seem to love them. I was excited that CamelBak gave me the opportunity to try one out.
They sent me a vest called the Marathoner, which holds 70 ounces of water. I have to admit, when I first opened the box and tried it on, I was very skeptical about whether I'd like it. My main concerns were chafing, the weight of it, and bouncing. But that's what a review is for, so I was open-minded and excited to give it a try.
I geared up in my typical clothes that I would wear for a long run. Then I filled up the "bladder" of the vest, which was very easy to do. There is a cap that you give a quarter turn, and it comes right off. It's really wide-mouthed, so you could easily throw in ice cubes (I really wish I'd thought of adding ice before I went out!). The wide mouth also makes it easy to clean.
Once I put the bladder back in the vest, the vest felt really heavy in my hands, which concerned me. But I put the vest on and tightened the straps, and it didn't feel too heavy at all! The weight was distributed very evenly, and it was pretty comfortable. Noah was nice enough to come out in the rain and take some pictures.
I would be lying if I said I didn't feel like a total dork wearing it. But comfort and convenience wins over pride any day when it comes to running ;) Besides, I was thrilled that I was able to carry along a bunch of stuff with me--plenty of water, of course; ShotBloks; pepper spray; and my iPhone (in a Ziplock bag because of the rain). There was still a ton of room to bring more stuff, but I don't know that I needed anything else (although in retrospect, I should have brought a dry pair of socks in a baggie!).
There are two large pockets in front, as well as two small, flat pockets (the perfect size for my iPhone--it held the phone flat against my chest, so it didn't bounce). There is also a good sized pocket in the back, to tuck a light jacket or something.
|The blue tube is where you suck the water|
out. It's held down with a little clip, easy
to pull it up to your mouth.
|This is the little pocket for my phone. |
The red thing is a safety whistle!
Also, I noticed that my arms didn't brush against the vest at all. Because the sides are so open, it didn't get in the way of my arm swing (a good thing, to avoid chafing). I was actually really surprised at how comfortable it was. I'm not going to say I forgot I was wearing it--I was always aware that it was there--but nothing about it bothered me at all.
By the end of my run, I was in love with this vest! Out of all the reviews I've done, this one surprised me the most. The vest is much more comfortable than the waist pack I wore last year, and I absolutely love how much storage it has. I didn't have a single chafe mark, my back didn't hurt, and I didn't have to stop running for even a second; it was very easy to drink while running.
My favorite long run route doesn't have a single spot to refill my handheld water bottle, so I was planning to have to find somewhere else to train; but with the vest, I can run my favorite route because I can carry everything I need. For my shorter long runs (less than 10 miles or so), I'll still use my handheld water bottle. But I'm definitely going to start using this vest for my long runs.
Overall, my favorite things about the vest:
- Tons of storage for random "stuff"
- Holds enough water for my longest training runs
- Very comfortable, and it doesn't bounce
- Easy to adjust the straps so it fits the way it is most comfortable for my body. The straps are pretty long, so the vest could probably fit many shapes and sizes.
- I'm not sure how well it would fit someone with actual boobs; mine are so small that it wasn't an issue for me, but I imagine it may cause a problem for someone with a big chest
- I can't dump any of the water over my head, which is something I do during the summer when it's super hot
|Arc Quick Grip|
CamelBak very generously offered to give away not one, but FIVE of their handheld bottles called the Arc Quick Grip to five different winners! The handhelds hold 10 oz. of water, so they are perfect for short summer runs.
(Disclosure: CamelBak provided the vest for me to review in exchange for my honest opinion about it).
If you found this review helpful, and you plan to buy a CamelBak anyway, I'd appreciate your using my link to the Camelbak Marathoner Hydration Vest on Amazon. I get a small commission if you buy it through the link. I never recommend any product with the hope of getting commission, however. My review is 100% honest.
Anyway, overall I had a pretty decent long run today, minus the pouring rain. It was down pouring for a few miles, and after that, my feet were soaked. At around mile 10, my feet were really sore from running in wet socks and shoes. I was dying to get home and take my shoes off! But I kept my heart rate in the right zone the entire time, and my pace was better than last week.
Notice my bare feet--I didn't even take the time to snap a picture before taking my socks off!