Friday, July 21, 2017

Product Review: Orange Mud Phone.Flask.Vest

Product Review: Orange Mud Phone.Flask.Vest (PFV)

Disclaimer:  I received a Phone.Flask.Vest from Orange Mud to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRavePro (ambassador) and check out to review, find and write race reviews.

The Orange Mud PFV is the first pack that I have had experience with.   My running has not been accessory-heavy, particularly when it comes to any sort of hydration pack.  I usually use a hand-held water bottle for long runs and stash water bottles along my route in some instances.  My hand-held bottle sometimes randomly squirts water out at me, which can be annoying, particularly since I usually do not have plain water in it so it can get sticky.  I have been curious about packs, and thus was excited about this product test opportunity.  I ordered the S/M size (chest circumference less than 40").  Ladies, my bra size is a 32/34 C if that is helpful in reading this and my chest circumference around the fullest part of my chest is 35".

Angie, one of the BibRave Pros, made these amazing photos which detail all of the features of the PFV:
Photo Source Used with Permission

Photo Source Used with Permission

What I liked about the Orange Mud PFV
1.  I loved the easy, no-mess hydration.  I don't love having a water bottle in my hand and this pack allowed me to run with 14 oz of water and I could easily drink this while running by turning my head to the left.  The hydration flask did not leak and the design of it allowed for smooth, easy drinking without air bubbles.  The pack has a valve cover on the left shoulder to tuck the valve into while you are not using it so it doesn't get all grimy.

2. The design of the pack with all the fasteners to secure items was great.  The hydration flask has a bungee cord fastener to make sure it is secure.  The phone pocket has the same type of system.  The underarm straps have little clips to secure the excess strap fabric so it is not swinging around. There is a stretchy elastic band to secure the straw of the hydration flask so that is not flinging around.

3. The phone pouch was big enough for my phone! I have an iPhone 6S with a huge Otterbox case.  This easily fit in the front pouch, which again could be secured with the bungee fastener.  I never run with my phone so it was fun to take it on some routes to get fun pictures.

4.  Extra pockets.  The pack was small and breathable, and I could fit my housekey in the pocket on the left side chest strap; my iPod Nano on the right shoulder pouch (which also could hold a few gels); my larger phone; and 14 oz hydration.

5. Even if I loaded up the pack with all of that stuff, it never felt heavy, nor did it feel like my chest was pulled forward with the extra weight.  The pack itself only weighs 6.8 oz.

6.  The fabric was very breathable.  I ran mid-afternoon in some high temps and did not feel like the pack was causing me to overheat.

What I had trouble with
1.  As I mentioned, I have zero experience with packs so it may be that all packs take a bit to get the fit right.  I struggled with the fit of this on my first 3 runs with it (3mi, 4mi, 6mi).  Part of the right shoulder strap rubbed against my neck and I was constantly adjusting the underarm straps to accommodate my chest. I consulted some of the other BibRave Pros for advice and found that the pack works best if the underarm straps loosened a lot and then tightened evenly.  When I started over and made sure to place the pack on my shoulders and tighten the underarms equally, I had a better experience on my 4th run (6mi).  It also may be that the pack fabric had begun to soften as that was my 4th run with it.  I think I would like it better if the front cross did not cross directly in the middle of my boobs, as you can see in the photo below:

2.  The pack comes with 14 oz (450mL) hydration flask, and also fits a 600mL size flask (sold separately).  This is about enough to get through, at most, a 6 mile run in summer heat for me.

3.  I liked using the pack on my recovery runs (i.e., slower paced runs) but not for a faster paced workout.

All in all, this was a good pack to try and I think I will continue to use it on mid-distance recovery runs, particularly in the heat of the summer.  I also think it would be good for hiking or biking, particularly if I am with my kids because I usually like taking my phone along on those activities to take photos of them!

If you are interested in other female perspectives (given the design of this over the chest area), Mel also has a review on her website.  As more pros post their review, I will try to add them here!

Finally, the code BRPPFV will get you 10% off anything at the Orange Mud website.   You could win a PFV by participating in the Twitter BibChat on Tuesday July 25, sponsored by Orange Mud at 8 PM CST.  (Follow @bibrave for more info!)

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