Outdoors Magazine

Gear Box: Camelbak Marathoner Hydration Vest

Posted on the 29 September 2011 by Kungfujedi @Kungfujedi
Gear Box: Camelbak Marathoner Hydration Vest It has been a very long, very hot summer in Texas. Today will actually be our 90th day of the year in which temperatures will top 100ºF/39ºC. While that record heat hasn't deterred me from my regularly scheduled runs, it has reminded me of the importance of staying hydrated while out in the sun and recently I've been using a new hydration vest from Camelbak to do just that. Yep! You read that right. Not a hydration pack, but a hydration vest.
The new Marathoner was designed from the ground up to be the perfect hydration solution for runners. It is lightweight, weighing in at just 12.7 ounces, made from breathable fabrics, and allows runners to carry plenty of water. The included hydration bladder stores up to 2 liters of water and two harness pockets on the front can support 24 ounce bottles. Those same pockets can also carry snacks or other items you want to keep close at hand while on the go. A second storage pocket is located on the back and is great for carrying keys or other small items.
The Marathoner's unique design is a lot more like a vest than a traditional hydration pack and when I first started using it, I was worried about how it would feel while on a longer run. Fortunately, it as easy to adjust the fit and after a mile or so, I barely remembered that I had it on. I was happy to find that once I had the narrow belts pulled tight, the vest stayed snugly in place, moving with me as I went about my run, even after I built up quite a sweat.
Another concern of mine was how much warmer I'd feel while using the vest in the summer heat, but once again, I was relieved to find that my fears were unfounded. What little fabric there is on the Marathoner is very thin and an air channel along the back helped to keep me as ventilated as possible, even when he mercury climbed into the triple digits. Wearing the vest was warmer than simply going shirtless of course, but it wasn't a dramatic difference and the quick access to water while on the move, more than made up for any slight discomfort. I also learned to add ice cubes to not only help keep the liquid cooler on longer runs, but it also helped to reduce the overall temperature of the vest as well.
Perfect for long distance training or trail runs, I predict the Marathoner will become a favorite piece of gear for runners upon its release. The bad news is, it won't be available until February, but with an MSRP of just $100, I think any runner will want to add it to their gear closet. It makes staying hydrated incredibly easy and that will not only help you run further, it'll help performance as well. Keep an eye out for this one. I highly recommend it.

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