Nathan Endurance Hydration Vest Review
Since January, I have been testing out a fantastic new hydration vest from Nathan Hydration. It’s the Endurance just released this year. The Endurance is fairly close overall to the classic Nathan HPL #020 that I, and many others, have loved. Here is the #020 on the left, and the Endurance on the right:
The most notable difference is the topmost opening for refilling the bladder. The Endurance has a velcro top flap and side zippers, which make it easier to slide the bladder in and out. The outer pocket has moved down lower, which is nice when you have it packed with heavier items.
Another nice tidbit are two additional micropockets on the front of the vest. They don’t fit much, but are handy for a small bag of S! caps, keys, peppermints, etc. They have also changed out the open fishnet-style mesh on the right front pocket and outer left front pocket for a tigher mesh. This is minor, but a nice improvement so things like the corners of gel packs don’t snag up as much. One of my favorite features/coincidences is that my HTC Incredible fits perfectly inside the left front zipper pocket!
I think one of the best improvements is the new bite valve. The new Endurance bite valve is on the left below and the #020 on the right. The new valve is a twist valve, and the old valve pulled out to open and pushed in to close. The old valve used to drive me nuts. In winter it would freeze up. When I tried putting HEED in my #020 pack at the Zumbro 100 mile last year (very bad idea) the valve would get stuck closed and I even ripped it all the way out once trying to pull it open with my teeth. I suppose the twist valve would also gum up with HEED, but I have so far much preferred the twist open approach; I can even pull it off one-handed.
My winter testing was very hampered due to cold Minnesota temps. On some of the extremely cold runs I would put hand warmers inside the pack against the bladder down by the outlet valve to prevent freezing, and then tuck the bite valve down my collar against my skin. This would delay freezing, but on long runs the exposed shoulder portion would still freeze out. On a frigid run in Fargo I left the bladder out completely. I put a water bottle and a Gatorade bottle each inside a wool sock, packed them with Clif bars and gels, and then put a hand warmer in each sock. The good news is that everything stayed room temp even at -28 F windchill, and the Endurance stored everything without a problem.
I have way too many hydration packs in my closet, but the Nathans are the only ones that get used on a regular basis. I wore my #020 for 31 hours at Zumbro last year, and it was totally comfortable the entire time. The Endurance seems to use the same vest system, and provides the same comfort as the #020. I am loving this vest, and with our Spring thaw its back in action on a regular basis.
Disclosure: Nathan has provided me with products for testing. But I have also spent (plenty of) my own money on Nathan products!