Disclaimer: I received the 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!
Convenient, comfy, compact—all three words describe the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro to a T! I had the honor of testing this product as a BibRave Pro, and using an Orange Mud hydration pack has been my dream for quite some time now. I’ve been using my Orange Mud handheld 21-ounce bottle on nearly all of my runs, especially my full marathons and one ultra, so I knew that Orange Mud products were high quality, ergonomic, and just plain handy.
Even the handheld bottle has a convenient pocket on the side that is large enough to hold my iPhone and/or a gel or two. It’s very comfortable on my hand and doesn’t bother me or chafe at all on longer runs or during races.
When I received the Gear Vest Pro in the mail in early April, I was shocked at how small the package was. I have been using a very cheap, nondescript hydration pack since 2015 that is rather large, has a gigantic bladder, and yet lacks enough pockets for my liking.
So when I opened up the Gear Vest Pro package, it was almost like opening up a Matryoshka doll, because it literally took me a few days to discover all of the pockets and pouches on this vest.
Here I am taking the Gear Vest Pro out for its inaugural test run in the video below. I just love the two front pockets that fit gels very nicely and secure using Velcro so that the gels won’t fall out, as well as the two larger front pockets that cinch shut to fit my cell phone and more gels/keys/etc. On two particular occasions I’ve actually lost gels that have somehow fallen out of my running pack, and that’s a major disaster to discover around Mile 20 of a full marathon!
This model is different from previous Orange Mud vests because the company, “took the same tiny footprint of our Gear Vest, but added rear cargo like the Endurance Pack (but we actually made it a bit more roomy than the EP so you can really load this up!). Plus we added trekking pole attachment areas on the front and back in 8 locations,” according to its site.
How cool is that?! I’ve never used trekking poles before, but I’m glad it has the option if need be. Here’s the optional trekking pole hardware link if you’re interested.
In terms of fit, I have to admit that I had to fiddle with the vest a bit, but that was simple user error and no fault of the brand. At first I buckled the two front buckles horizontally, but they gave me weird boobage (totally real term). A fellow BibRave Pro suggested I criss-cross the straps, which worked out much better!
During my first few runs with the vest, I also noticed that it would ride up on my back. I should have looked on the website, because voila—directions! Duh, Becky.
The site says, “The key to fit, cinch the sides first, not the front, until you feel the pack anchor on your shoulders. Then adjust the front harness as needed so you can breathe during movement.” Once I did that, the vest fit like a glove!
I have to say that in terms of the bladder size, I think I actually need a larger bladder. Or I need to learn not to guzzle so much water during longer runs, hah! During the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon recently, I somehow managed to drink all of the water in the bladder halfway through the race. Whoops. I also ran out of water during the Delaware Marathon, and that was even when I shoved a larger generic bladder in the vest.
I do, however, love the fact that I can fit additional bottles or flasks in the front pockets if I’d like. The bladder holds one liter of liquid, which is a decent amount for sure. And I’ve never experienced a slider at the top of a bladder before, which is wicked cool. This type of opening allows you to flip the bladder (bag) inside out to dry. My biggest fear is letting a bladder sit too long with moisture in it, which can cause bacteria to grow. Ewww.
All in all, I would highly recommend investing in the Orange Mud Gear Vest Pro, especially for the upcoming summer months. With my previous hydration pack, I had to take it off every time I wanted something from the back (gels, phone, hair ties, sun screen, keys), but I don’t have to do that with this vest. Brilliant, I tell ya!
I also love that you can clean/dry the bladder very easily. Orange Mud takes the guesswork out of this task by giving you step-by-step directions on the site. The customer service and very informational website list Orange Mud high on my “products I love” list.
But don’t listen to just me! Check out what other BibRave Pros had to say:
Want your own? Use Code BIBRAVEGVPRO for 15% off any Orange Mud purchase! Orange Mud offers so many amazing products other than vests too, such as an entire Lifestyle section!