Monday, December 6, 2010

CamelBak PowderBak for Running - Brief Review

I bought a CamelBak PowderBak hydration system for my long distance winter runs outside. I reviewed the CamelBak products and this one seemed like it would be the best fit for me, even though it was probably not originally intended for running. I wanted something to go over a base layer, but under my outer shell, and so of course something that wasn’t too bulky when wearing. This fits nicely under my running jacket so that it is not too tight. The “vest” midlayer of the PowderBak does fit snug over my base layer (I got a Large size for my 41-42” chest), but I would rather have that than too loose when carrying a few pounds of water on your back, moving around, etc.
I’ve seen a few people mention using these for adventure racing and trail running, so I figured this would also work for my long Sunday runs in the brisk Chicago winter air along the lake. My water stays at the temperature I like (not too cold, not too hot), does not slosh or bounce around, and is relatively easy to drink from. This is my first CamelBak product, so I anticipated some added weight to my back and challenges drinking, but really all things considered (when running in wind chills in the teens or colder), it was the least of my concerns out there. I did a test run yesterday with this for 11 miles and the 72-ounce size was more than enough -- I drank roughly 2/3 of this on my run, and felt great afterward, compared to the previous weekend where I went 90 minutes of running without water – not really fun. I’ve run with water bottles in hand before, and I hope to never go back to that again – bottles are more awkward to tote around, get cold, and the last thing I want to do his hold something heavy in one of my hands while running – plus I always tended to drip water and then my hand would get even colder. I had no spilling with the PowderBak, I got used to the weight/feel after a few miles, it was a great pleasure to be out there running knowing I had all the water I needed to go several more miles. I’m sure the other running CamelBak products work sufficiently well for people, but this PowderBak beats all the alternatives I’ve seen/tried to date for long winter runs. I rarely post reviews on any products, but felt I should put in a plug for this one, and hopefully help out a few cold weather runners out there looking for something like this. I love it so far...

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