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Wasatch 100 = 26,000 feet of elevation gain and loss in 36 hours or less.

Nathan designed the HPL #020 Race Vest to help ultra runner Dana "Mud 'n' Guts" Miller get through not one but four Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Runs. Given he has 16 behind him, including five wins, a few more seem manageable. Miller discovered that a lightweight (and at six ounces, we do mean light) hydration vest cut down on nausea he experienced carrying a waist pack. Nathan loaded this pack with a hydration bladder that's compatible with a filter, so you can refill at a river along the way. Front holsters hold energy gel and a GPS. A three-way propulsion harness ensures the HPL #020 feels as comfortable and stable at mile 50 as it did at mile one.

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Nathan HPL #020 Race Vest

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Here's what others have to say...

4 5

Good for Ultra's...

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've used bottles with run straps for training and running Ultra's and still do. However, I felt compelled to try this vest as I've seen many runners wearing various types of vests and packs during races.
I will try to be fair and objective as possible when comparing the Nathan HPL#020 vs. standard hand held hydration systems with run straps. I will hit key points.

Pros: Nathan vest.
-Leaves hands free
-Able to stow a few items such as gels, batteries, headlamp, gloves, Wool/fleece hat and other essentials as well as strap light jacket under cord..
-Holds almost 68% more "go-juice" than standard hand held bottle.
-bounce free suspension system

Pros: Handheld
-Energy efficient (less weight)
-Faster refill time
-No tube to come loose

Cons: Nathan vest
-Not as efficient as handheld. One caveat would be the longer distances between aid stations. Advantage, vest.
-Longer time to refill
-Must wear with a top that is either compression or long in back. It will cause shirt to ride up in back if not.
-Cannot wear without a top as it will rub over longer distances.
-Clip that holds bladder is not well made.
Cons: Bladder
-Tube has no quick disconnect for easy cleaning and removal.
-Bite valve is angled which does not allow running a brush all the way through.

Cons: Handheld
-Obviously not totally hands free.
-More frequent stops at aid stations.
-Not good for runs that have unmanned or longer distances between aid stations.
-More prone to leaking.

In summation, the vest is definitely worth it for the longer runs as described. The real issues exist with the tube and bladder itself. Improve these and I see 5 stars!

5 5

Works well as expected...

This is the primary hydration pack used by my trail running group so I picked one up as well and it doesn't disappoint. Light, adjustable, storage in the right places, bite valve works as expected. Once I got going with it literally was seconds before I forgot I had it on.....its that comfortable.

4 5

Great pack, but a bit floppy

  • Gender: Male

This is a really good pack when you have it packed full. It holds a bit of everything - your fluids, stuff in a jacket, extra shirt, food, gels, and headlamp. But once you consume the fluids and eat your food or put on your jacket, the extra compartment becomes a bit floppy. The Nathan HPL OO8 is much better (although it holds less). The HPL 008 holds true to your body snuggly without smothering it and doesn't flop around.

5 5

This vest ROCKS!

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Comfortable, light and comfortable. I'm new to trail running, and go this after friends recommended them. I used a regular camelback before and it bounced way too much. This vest is really the best, no bouncing, and the weight is high on your back where doesn't interfere with running movements. Love this vest!

5 5

THE choice for trail running

I just got back from racing the 6-day Trans Rockies Run in Colorado and this vest was perfect. At least 50% of racers used this exact pack. Another 15% used other Nathan packs.

Super light, rides comfortably, very easy to adjust on the fly, enough storage for food, phone, and an emergency jacket, hat, and gloves.

1 5

Yay on the pack, boo on the bite valve

I wrote a review on this pack in 2010. I still love the pack. And give it 5 stars. This ranking is for the bite valve. After two years, it drizzles constantly and is annoying at the least. On cold days, it's awful. Who wants to run with a wet shirt? I've been reading other complaints about the valve elsewhere, and have decided I'm going to go for Camelbak's valve. Here's a great review with lots of comments that may come in handy for you as well:

5 5

New favorite hydration pack

I read all the reviews here before buying this pack and after using this pack on a long run this weekend, I couldn't agree more with all the positive reviews. It is functional and comfortable. I'm thrilled to have found a pack that holds a lot of water without an aggravating bounce. And I love the small pockets in the front - not for chapstick or gels but for quickly storing trash that I pick up on the trails.

I'm 5'2'' 118 pounds and it fits great.

4 5

When the water belt won't cut it

This pack is outstanding for a long run when lots of water is needed. The 2L bladder provides plenty of water and the slide top design is very easy to fill and to dry out afterwards. The pack keeps the bladder from bouncing around. Sometimes the pack pulls my shirt up in the back but as soon as I sweat a bit it the shirt stays in place. The pockets on the front are very convenient for some snacks or chapstick with room to spare. The clasp across your chest is easily adjustable but I find it could use two straps - one higher and one lower on my chest to really keep it all in place. It is a minor concern though. I have not had any rubbing at all from the pack and have taken it on several runs of 20+ miles. Overall a great water pack when my water belt just isn't enough.

5 5

Great pack

This pack has just what you need. It sits high on your back and is very comfortable. It has a hook for the bladder so it doesn't sag. Some people complained about that, but they must have changed the design. If you have a very large chest, it might be a little snug, but you'll probably still be okay.

5 5

Almost Perfect

I've tried handheld bottles, hip packs and several hydration packs in an attempt to find a comfortable way to carry water and a few essentials on long runs and fast hikes. The Nathan is by far my new favorite. It doesn't bounce, is lightweight, and the front pockets provide immediate access to snacks, lip balm, phone/GPS, etc without having to take off the pack.
Two things make it less than perfect for me. Fisrt, the drinking valve allows air to flow back into the tube unless you keep it in the closed position, and it's not that easy to open/close on the run. I swapped out the hose for one off an old CamelBak with a bite valve-probelem solved. The other nit pick is that this pack only comes in one size. I'm small (5' 2", 102 lbs) with a short torso and the sternum strap goes from just below my bra line at the highest adjustment point to my waist line at the lowest adjustment point. This actually works fine and is amazingly comfortable, with only downside being that it puts the hose clip in a pretty useless spot. Not a huge deal--I just put the hose across my chest and tuck it into the little strap.

5 5

Light Weight, Good Fit

Nathan makes some of the best endurance packs out there. They are light and tuff. When I picked up my first pack (Nathan 020 and carries 70 fl oz of liquid) I was worried about the construction of the pack as it appears that it won't take the beating of all day riding/racing. I used the pack all fall on long rides and raced with it this winter without flaw. The pack still feels and looks new. Excellent front stash pockets making gels and electrolyte accessibility easy. The pack is kind of like a fishing vest that is fit for your body with the adjustment straps to cinch down the play in the pack. The pack sits nice and snug without any play or sway. The Synergy pack is a bit big for most of my endeavors but built for the trail. If you are looking for a smaller tighter pack look at the Nathan 020 and 008. The 020 is a smidge bigger than the 008. These are perfect for 6 hour rides/tours/crust cruising and races. Ride On.

5 5

Very impressed

I have been eyeballing this thing for months, wanting to try it out. On my way out of town for the calico 50k I stopped at a local running store to pick up some body glide. While there I saw they had these packs and impulsively bought one. I wasn't so sure that testing out new gear on a such a big race was such a good idea, but I decided to run with it anyways. Man is it comfortable. I only ever filled it to 30 oz cause there were enough aid stations that I didn't need to lug around the full amount. 30 oz didn't really feel like anything. Barely bounced at all, though I like to think that i have a pretty smooth stride. The best thing about it is all the pockets and the drawstring. Midway through the race I took off my shirt, it was nice to cinch it down to my pack instead of tying it around my waist or holding it. Also the pockets in the front are amazing. I was able to put my phone (it is my music and camera) in one pocket and some treats in the other. Very easy to get to stuff when it's on the front. I will deffinately be wearing this for all my longer runs and for any long race where there is not an aid station every couple miles.

5 5

How did we run long before Nathan?

I love this pack. I was introduced to Nathan while crewing for Karl Meltzer in his speed record attempt of the Appalachian Trail. I borrowed one of his packs to run with him on a few 20-mile sections and was hooked. I just recently got this vest and have been so psyched with it. It fits perfectly with the strap adjustments. I've never experienced any chaffing, discomfort, ride or slipping. I love the thoughtful design of the front pockets - room for a cell phone or camera in a zip pocket, with bungee-secured mesh pockets for gels, a flask or bars. The back pocket is a nice size for extra fuel, a light jacket, and keys. Plus there's room in the main compartment for an extra shirt or socks if you're going out for a long time and want to be prepared. The Nathan reservoirs are great. The material is supple and strong, so you don't have to worry about damaging it when yanking it around or cleaning it. They're well marked liters/ounces. They open all the way across the top for easy cleaning, and close securely with a fold and a barette-like sliding clasp. I love the hook inside the pack that keeps the reservoir from slouching down in the pack as you empty its contents. You can clean the reservoirs really well too, so you don't have to taste berry nuun in your water for weeks after you decide you need a little flavor in your hydration. Even with everything you need for a long run, the pack is light and fits well. I highly recommend it!

5 5

feels like a hug!

I looooove this pack, and have recommended it to many trail running friends. The fit is so incredibly comfortable and snug that it really does feel like it's hugging you, and when I run with it I forget it's there (always a good thing!). It doesn't bounce, move, chafe, or any of the other bad things my old pack did.
Another selling point for me (which few of the other brands have) is the front pockets. There's nothing worse than having to take off your pack at 40k just to get more gels out... with this, I can fit lots of gels in the front. Also super easy to fill without taking the bladder out.
Someone below mentioned that the bladder sags as it empties--I avoid this with a couple of safety pins at the top to keep it standing.
While I love the wide opening of the bladder for easy refill, the bladder is quite hard to dry out because it collapses on itself. Also, I find the mouthpiece really difficult to open and close, especially if it's cold out and my fingers aren't as nimble as usual. Aside from those minor issues, this pack is by far my favourite and worth every penny!

Responded on

I use the older camelbak hanger to dry the bladder (insert hanger all the way into the bladder and flip it upside down. Works very well

5 5

Great for long runs

I've had my HPL #020 for about a year and it's been perfect for spring through fall long runs. Very light and enough space for gels, a cellphone, and other misc. items. I hardly feel it on as there is no bouncing or sloshing.

5 5

It goes the distance - and then some

Nathan got everything right with this one. It is highly adjustable for a perfect fit, the straps are soft and can even be worn on bare skin, the front pockets hold enough food for a few hours, and the pack is just large enough for what you need for a long day on the trail. This pack is great for long training runs and races when you need to have to either be self contained or won't have an aid station for 3 or more hours. I have used numerous other hydration packs and this is the only pack that I turn to for running.

5 5

Great water pack

Pack is great. Fits snug and works well—I tweaked the straps for 10 minutes and this thing does not bounce. Suck the air out of the bladder and no swishing noice either. I have taken this on the Timpooneke trail to run Timpanogos, as well as on the West Rim trail down in Zion NP as a trail runner companion. The gel pockets are superb as they are spot on in location and the extra zipper pouch on the back holds some extra food or shirt if needed. The one change which could be made to improve this product would be to fix the sternum strap as it has a tendency to slip down through the miles. This strap is important as it makes the two front pouches more stable and closer to the body, Not a deal breaker just a little annoying.

Great water pack
5 5

A revelation in hydration

I'm a weensy little 5'1" runner with a short torso. This pack is the most comfortable I've ever tried. The wide but whisper-light shoulder straps distribute the weight of the pack beautifully so it doesn't put pressure on my neck or shoulders; the body of the pack swings a little side to side, but it swings *with* your body motion, rather than sloshing against it. The pockets on the front are well designed for holding gels and lip balm and electrolytes and all the little things you need for several hours on the trail. My only issue is that the water bladder really does sag as it empties. The bulge of that bag hits my lower back and chafes after a while; the solution is to clip the bag to the top seam on the inside of the pack.

Responded on

The newer model has a loop and hook built in (like all the Camelbaks)that prevents this.

i'm 6'2", 250lbs, will this adjust to fit...

Posted on

i'm 6'2", 250lbs, will this adjust to fit someone of my size?

Responded on

I extended the straps on mine all the way and the measurement came to 56in. You should measure around the broadest part of you chest to see if it exceeds 56in. If so then it wouldn't fit.

5 5

Stays Put

From start to finish the pack doesn't move. Easily adjustable as the bladder drains to keep it tight on your back. The padding on the back is designed to ventilate so you don't get as sweaty as with other hydration packs.
I have a 1st gen HPL 020 and after about a year of use it developed a leak near the top, on the weld. I suspect the reason the leak develops is a combination of "saggy bladder syndrome" and the material the bladder is made of. Unlike the camelbaks which are held in place at the top, the nathan bladders are not held in place so it sags as it is emptied, bending in the same spots each time creating the leak. IMO a simple design flaw.

If you're as cheap as I am it can be fixed with a simple bike tire patch kit (vulcanizing kind) for $2 to $3 and a small plastic clip sewn into the top that holds the bladder in place, preventing the dreaded saggy bladder syndrome. It's worth noting that I made no attempt what so ever to contact Nathan about the leak.

Responded on

Note that the newer version does have a hook to prevent the "saggy bladder syndrome" so don't let that worry you.

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