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Run Efficient: Nathan Sports Endurance Vest Review

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nathan Sports Endurance Vest Review

The Endurance Vest from Nathan Sports is a lightweight, effective and comfortable option for long runs. An optimal alternative to handhelds, the Endurance Vest is the next step in hydration and pack evolution. Weighing in at a svelte 15.2 ounces the Endurance Vest holds a surprising amount for those long adventurous outings away from civilization.

Top pick for hydration needsFirst and foremost the vest is comfortable and breathable with moisture wicking technology fabric.  Designed to fit loose on your torso with no restrictions and easy adjustability, this vest ‘floats’ on your body.  The vest creates no abrasion points or wear and tear on clothing.  The last thing you need to worry about on a long run is chaffing or shredded clothing.

The Endurance Vest comes equipped with a newly designed hydration bladder, which has a Slideseal top closure for easy cleaning and filling. Whether one scoops from a natural water source (and treats with iodine), or pours from a pre-filled container, the vest is quick and easy to fill mid run. You won’t have to worry about losing your precious hydration either as the bite valve is no leak and twists to lock.

Extra storage comes in handy on certain jaunts and the Endurance Vest is designed for efficient compartmentalization of your gear. The front of the pack has a pocket that can carry an additional 22 oz bottle. The left side offers three interfaced pockets: a large zippered pocket that holds contents securely, an open pocket in front for quick accessibility, and a tiny pocket farther up the strap.  The right front of the vest boasts an expandable drawstring pocket and a waterproof pill pocket on the shoulder strap.

The waterproof pill pocket is quite adequate for most situations, however during water crossings where submersion is possible the contents may get wet.  The back of the pack has a generous zippered pocket with a sleeved enclosure, as well as a lanyard for keys.  On the outside of the pack a three-way bungee system holds clothing for quick access.  This is very useful for rapid changing weather conditions where a jacket is constantly donned and removed.
Tested on multiple outings throughout the season, but most notably on a 50k Pemigewasset loop in New Hampshire, the vest was able to hold:
  • Two liters of water
  • Five nutrition bars
  • 18 oz trail mix
  • One bagel with an entire can of tuna and two slices of cheese
  • Two GU’s
  • Tiny first-aid kit
  • Emergency blanket
  • Hat, glove liners, lightweight jacket
  • Knife
  • Four salt tabs, three NSAIDS
  • Map
  • Lip stuff
  • Handheld water bottle when empty
Testers found the vest cleans up well and does not retain odors with use of mild, non-detergent soap.  The hydration bladder was also easy to clean with the flexibility to be turned inside out for drying, and hoses that can be removed for scrubbing or trimming, both pluses for getting a personalized fit and keeping your gear algae free.

For most distances and racing needs the Nathan Sports Endurance Vest is an excellent solution.  However, with runs over an unsupported 50k or on days with extreme temperatures, a larger volume pack would be advantageous (see HPL #020, or Synergy). The Endurance Vest from Nathan Sports is a top pick for all runners desiring lightweight mid-distance capacity.


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