Gear Review: Hydration on the go with the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro (+ discount code)

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!

When I planned my point-to-point 20-miler on the NCR Trail earlier this year, I knew I would need to carry water with me. But unfortunately, I was missing a piece of my hydration pack, and I wasn’t going to be able to use the pack without it. So instead, I opted to carry a few water bottles and my fuel in a backpack.

Vanessa Junkin, facing away from the camera, shows the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro on a gravel road at the Assawoman Wildlife Area.
Here I am showing the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro on a gravel road at the Assawoman Wildlife Area.

The backpack wasn’t made to be used on a long run, and I could feel it moving up and down. Also, it made my back hurt.

So, when the opportunity came to test the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro, I decided to opt in. Since I got it after the Salisbury Marathon, I haven’t run any super-long runs with it, but I’ve done four runs with it: two 10-milers, an 8-miler and a 7.2-miler that included a 3/2/1 workout.

I’ve never really been much of a hydration pack user, but it is certainly convenient to be able to carry the water with me in a non-intrusive way. The pack is light — without the water, the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro weighs 11.2 ounces, according to the Orange Mud website — and despite all its pockets, it’s pretty small.

I carry my phone often when I’m running, and one of the front pockets was the perfect size to hold my phone securely.

There are adjustable straps on both sides and on the front so you can find the best fit for you. I would assume this might be a little harder for women, as there were times I was wearing the pack where it started to shift a little bit backward. I felt like it worked better for me if I made the sides a little tighter and the front parts of the vest were off to the side.

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin wearing the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro
Here I am on a run in Salisbury that would turn hot and humid. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

One of my fellow BibRave Pros also noticed that there’s a whistle on one of the front buckles. I did not have to use that, but it’s a nice safety feature.

Since none of the runs I did were super long, I didn’t bring a ton of gear any of the times I ran with the pack. But there are lots of pockets. There are two large pockets in the front, which each have a smaller pocket in front of them. I ended up tucking the end of the drinking tube into one of those pockets to keep it from flopping around. There are also elastic pieces to put the tube under so that it stays in the right area.

On each shoulder, there are upside-down pockets that have velcro closures. I used one of those to hold a gel. On the back, there’s the pocket that the bladder goes in, another deep pocket next to that, and a zippered pocket that includes a key clip. I did bring along my GorillaPod portable tripod for my run at the Assawoman Wildlife Area, because I could fit it in the Gear Vest Pro.

Vanessa Junkin wears her Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro against a water backdrop at the Assawoman Wildlife Area.
Here I am wearing my Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro against a water backdrop at the Assawoman Wildlife Area. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The bladder holds one liter and has a sliding closure. I think this helps make it easy to clean, and the bladder can even go in the dishwasher. There are also only three pieces relating to the bladder and drinking tube: The bladder, the tube and the mouthpiece. This is good for me, since I lost a piece of my old hydration pack.

This is probably common sense for most people, but make sure the mouthpiece is on before you fill the bladder. The first time I did it, the water came shooting out of the tube.

I was out there a while for the first run I did with the Gear Vest Pro — my run at the Assawoman Wildlife Area — and I did run out of water before I was finished. I tend to drink a lot of water, so I also got a 600 ml soft flask with an Orange Mud gift card I was given at The Running Event. That will fit into one of the front pockets. I’ve received it, but I haven’t used it yet.

For my other runs, it seemed to be just the right amount of water. However, if I were running more than 10 miles, I’d probably have to either refill the bladder or use the additional flask.

Using the Gear Vest Pro took a little getting used to as someone who doesn’t really use hydration packs often, but I tucked in anything that was hanging out, such as the cinch ties around the pockets, and I didn’t have problems with chafing. I could feel it on my chest area during one of the runs in which I wore a tank top, but I didn’t have any chafing problems.

I did notice that it felt a little warmer to have something on my back, but that was not a problem. I figure you would feel something on your back with any hydration pack.

Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro, showing bladder holding water, against brick/concrete background.
Here’s a view of the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro and its one-liter bladder. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

One day, I ran 10 miles with a friend, and it was nice to have the water with me so I didn’t have to ask to stop. I never mind stopping for water, but I don’t know what other people generally do, so it made me comfortable that I could sip on my water whenever I needed to.

I haven’t used the pack for races because I actually like stopping at the water stops during a race. They give me something to look forward to. Also, I’d rather not carry anything I don’t have to when I can just grab water from volunteers.

However, I definitely think this pack will get a lot of use as I train for my next marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27. Stay tuned to hear more about that race and my training!

The Gear Vest Pro comes in three colors — Orange (the one I got, which is black with orange mesh), Green and Coyote Brown. The Orange color doesn’t look exactly like the photos online, as you may be able to tell from my photos.

The Gear Vest Pro retails for $129.95, which is a lot of money, but I do think the product is durable and high-quality. The 15 percent discount below brings the price down to $110.46.

Want an Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro, or something else from the Orange Mud website? Save 15 percent with code “BIBRAVEGVPRO.” I’ve also reviewed Orange Mud’s Transition and Seat Wrap, if you’re interested in one of those.

Also, join BibRave, Orange Mud, fellow runners and me for #bibchat on Tuesday, May 21, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Just log into Twitter and join the conversation!

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