Attempted Runner.

Product Review: Nathan Hydration vest and BicBands

Nathan Hydration Vest – HPL #020

I’ve been looking at hydration vests for awhile now but never bothered to get one because the distances and routes I’ve done in the past didn’t really constitute the need for a vest.
One of my goals for 2014, is to attempt to be a Brazen Streaker which means participating in all 24 events (25 if things work out with Brazen and whatever location they are working with…it’s still a surprise). Now Brazen Racing mainly coordinates trail runs, some trail runs are on flat paved roads and others are gruelish uphill single track battles between you and the mountain. I’ve typically stuck to 5ks because let’s face it…when it’s between you and a mountain, 3.1 miles is a whole heck of a lot easier to defeat than 6.2-13.1 (and even 50k) miles.

Well, this girl may grow some balls and register for the 10k runs and even maybe give it a go at a half marathon…YIKES!!

I do get extremely thirsty and I hate having to hold things and you can only put so many water bottles onto a hydration belt. So I started dropping hints to people around Christmas/my birthday. As you can see, it worked to my advantage.

One of my Christmas Gifts from fellow blogger and sister, was a Nathan Hydration Vest, model HPL #020.

Although it wasn’t the original white one that I was hinting at (the one I liked is probably a little more than what I need at the moment since it bigger and more for the endurance/ultra runners), but it’s blue, serves the same exact purpose and it’s the thought that counts, which makes it better.  

This particular vest can hold 70oz. of water, has a large zip up portion on the back with a smaller pocket inside that has the hook for keys or what not. You could probably fit a small thin shirt in the large portion and my phone does fit nicely in the back little pocket.

The front straps; the right side has a nice sized pocket with a drawstring that’s probably big enough to be able to fit an apple or orange in. The left side strap has a zip up pocket the size of the one of those old Nokia phones that I had in 8th grade and on top of that pocket another smaller open pocket (no Velcro or draw strings) that my iPod Nano (4th generation) fits perfectly in. It does have two loops off the iPod pocket that I only assume is for the iPod headphone cord so it’s not flopping around everywhere while you run. There is another strap that goes across your chest with a buckle to hold both arms straps together. You know, the across chest  strap that every backpack has but no one really uses it (specially females) cause it mashes some lady bits down and just looks funny .. it also has a clip on the chest strap that holds the water tube in place so that doesn’t go flopping around either.

During my 5k New Years Day run yesterday I ended up using my hydration vest to test it out. It’s better to test things out on lower mileage runs because I don’t want to be 5 miles out from the car and have something not be comfortable and not work out and still have to deal with it for the return 5 miles. Well, before the start of my run, I adjusted the straps so it fit comfortably. Once adjusted, it didn’t feel like the back was sitting too high or too low, that it was just right. The front straps also sat comfortable over my chest and wasn’t awkwardly smashing anything down.  They didn’t feel too tight and/or suffocating. I only filled the water pouch up half way, so the entire pack itself wasn’t all that heavy, even with filling the pouch with all 70oz, it’s not all that heavy.

A few people mentioned that the nozzle leaked on their packs so they ended up switching them out for camel pack nozzle tips. Because of this, I placed my phone in the back pocket so if it did leak, it wouldnt get wet. I did leave my IPod in the front pocket that is directly under were the water nozzle would naturally sit but because of how the clip is designed (being able to clip it anywhere on the water tube) I was able to pull the tube back a little so the nozzle was more in the center of my chest rather than over my IPod.

However, I didn’t have to worry about it, as my nozzle never leaked. I didn’t have any problems with the vest itself bouncing around since I as able to adjust the tightness and I didn’t have any issues of chafing on my arms. I did have a t-shirt that had sleeves, so I’m not sure how it would be on my armpits in a tank top. I don’t see it being too much of a problem but I’ll add update to this review when I test it out in a tank top and chafing is involved.

Overall the vest itself was comfortable, light and at times I forgot I even had it on. The times I did remeber wearing it was when I wasn’t in “the zone” and noticed my surroundings, such as the noise made by the water sloshing around. That can be a little annoying but that clearly isn’t a fault of the vest itself.

At the start of December, Jacqueline over at was doing a 12 days of Christmas giveaway. On the second day of the Christmas giveaway, there was a chance to win a $30 gift certificate to  I’ve been meaning to try these headbands out (not just from BicBands but from any of the headband companies I’ve seen online and at running expos) but for me, they were usually too expensive for something that I wasn’t sure worked since the headbands I have now have an annoying tendency to slip off. I entered the giveaway because I like free things and the next morning I woke up a saw that I won!
I followed SkinnyChicks instructions and sent my information off. Now, I don’t know the exact reasonings but I ended up having to send SkinnyChick 3 emails over the next few weeks because I never heard from BicBands (as they were suppose to contact me). Finally, I got an email from BicBands explaining that they were so caught up with Holiday orders that the giveaway I won was just pushed to the back burners. An apology was given and I was instructed to create an account on BicBands, so they could put the certificate into my account. I did that and emailed them back and immediately got a response saying my account was updated.

I already knew which bands I wanted since I had three weeks to decide before I heard anything back, so when I saw that I actually had $50 credit for my troubles (so awesome!) I was able to get all the ones I wanted, plus a few more. 

I ordered the thin standard 20 inch size headbands in order from left to right: Frosty Tiff Sparkle, Sparkle Black, Chasing the Glass Slipper and American in Paris. Each band was $12 and I did order an additional thick black band for a gift, so with my certificate and shipping I paid $14 out of pocket, which wasn’t all that bad.

Once I placed my order, within a few hours I got a confirmation stating my order was out for shipment and received it on Christmas Eve (it was only about three days from placing my order to getting them). I wore a few of them just out and about to see how they felt and they were comfortable. I didn’t have a problem with them moving like I’ve had with others in the past. Wherever you place them on your head, is where they will stay. I used one while doing Yoga and even when I did upside down yoga moves (this matters because your hair does move in a different direction so things do move!) or yoga positions where I stood on my head, the band’s still held their postion.

I had yet to wear them running (again this matters because your hair does bounce around when running) so during the New Years Day Run, along with my Hydration Vest, I also wore my Sparkle Black BicBand.
Typically, after a run I would have to adjust whatever headband during or after a run because they would slip backwards and let little stray hairs pop out when they are not suppose too. When you have long thick hair like I do, having to readjust hair ties/bands is awfully annoying. Well, let me tell you, the BicBands can apply to be a gaurd at Buckingham Palace because they stood their ground and didn’t move at all.

When I finished my run, I didn’t have to adjust the band back into place, nor did I have unwanted loose strands. They felt comfortable too. I thought I would have an issue of them being a little too loose but they fit perfectly.
The only problem I noticed, was the glitter fabric is a little scratchy on the back by my ears, but all I did was just move the band a millimeter away from my ear and didn’t have another issue with that. So if you like bands close up to your ear and get sparkle colors, just know it does scratch a tiny bit.

Overall, despite waiting almost all month for these, I’m glad I received them and I think that for the $12 price tag and their effectiveness, I will probably end up adding more to my collection.

*All product reviews are 100% my own honest thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, I did not receive any compensation what’s so ever for my product review (dang…).


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The only think that I don’t like about the vest is that you have to bite down on the tube to drink the water. Overall, I really like it for milage over 10 miles or so.

Comment by The Bookworm

Oh yea. Didn’t think of that, but that’s normal for me because I had to do the same on my bigger camel pack I use when I go hiking.

Comment by Attempted Runner

[…] and took them off for bag check. was left with nothing more than my shorts, t shirt and fancy new Nathan Hydration Vest that I was testing out. After standing around and finally doing some warm up stretches, Mr. Brazen […]

Pingback by Race Recap: Brazen Racing New Years Day 5k | Attempted Runner.

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