By – Bill Urbanski
Last week, despite soaring temperatures in the Northeast, some 22,000 runners took to the streets of Boston to compete in the 116th running of our nation’s oldest marathon. I honored these brave souls by covering a much more modest 6.2 miles in order to test out CamelBak’s 2012 Ultra LR™ hydration vest.
Marathon runners typically have the luxury of aid stations along the course, so a hydration vest is not a necessity on race day. But for long training runs, or for ultra-marathoners, adventure racers or even mountain bikers, a hydration vest could be a welcome addition to your usual gear.
As a veteran of ten marathons, including four Bostons, my hydration system used to consist of an elastic belt with a single 16-ounce bottle. But bottles bounce and sometimes slosh, and sixteen ounces doesn’t go very far during a two- or three-hour training run.
The Ultra LR™ comes equipped with a 70-ounce (2 L) Antidote™ lumbar reservoir which sits horizontally and hugs the lower back. An independent strap running with the waist belt allows for a cinching of the bladder as it is emptied. The adjustable shoulder harness with Slider™ sternum straps along with the dual chest straps provide a snug custom fit for runners large and small. It’s a perfect combination of features to block the bounce and stop the slosh.
Two small front pouches and waist belt zippered pockets allow plenty of space for an iPod, cell phone, car keys, or energy bars. A larger mesh pouch on the back, perfect for rain gear or an emergency poncho, brings the total cargo capacity to 200 cubic inches (3.28 L), and can turn your Ultra LR™ hydration vest into an ultra light weight trail pack. Unloaded, the vest weighs in at 1.15 pounds (0.54 kg).
So for trial runs or trail hikes, adventure racing or mountain bikes, CamelBak’s Ultra LR™ hydration vest is a welcome addition to any outdoor enthusiast’s gear vault.
The Ultra LR™ retails for around $130.00 and is available at CamelBak.com or your favorite outdoor retailer.