Nathan HPL #028 Race Vest Review

Introduction
The first time I saw this vest was at the American River 50. A few people were using them to store their gels and extras and running pretty light meanwhile I was sloshing around with 3L on my back. The light bulb went off and I realized that I could have carried a handheld for this race because the stretches between aid stations were manageable without having to carry as much fluid. I did my research and found that Nathan had discontinued the pack. NOOOOO!

Naturally the fact that it is discontinued made me want it even more. In trail running I have discovered trails cannot be run the same way. Some trails will push your physical limits and others your nutrition limits. #028 fits in that happy place where you can carry all you need but not bog yourself down with the water weight or if you prefer to run with handhelds. I said this pack was discontinued…why review it? Well I emailed Nathan directly asking if it was coming back and/or if they had one in the back somewhere. I never got a reply from them but a few days later dirtdawg50k tweeted that Zombie Runner had them in stock. So I picked one up.

First Impression
It weighs nothing. I can fold this vest and fit it in a pocket. Guaranteed this is going into all drop bags from now until forever because its light, takes little space and is versatile.

Construction
-Lightweight: 4.5 oz. = 4.5 oz. remnant of the overpriced warm beer you’ll simply not let go of, nurse status.

-Material – Breathable mesh – you can sweat a ton and this will keep the air flowing.

-Vertically adjustable sternum strap and adjustable side straps. This system is the Pythagorean Theorem of pack adjustment. No one cares how much theory and thought went into making it…but we all know it and it works.

-Dual front essential pockets – 1 mesh, 1 zippered

-Power Stretch Mesh back pocket for stowing jacket, gloves, and/or sleeves and has a reflective logo for those early morning/ late night runs.

Testing/Performance
When travelling to Chicago I elected this pack because of its versatility and weight. I knew running in a new city I would take pictures (camera) but I would have to have all the essentials (salt, gels, first aid kit, phone) because you never know what the climate (96 and Humid then thunderstorm) will do to you. The vest did not disappoint. I even used to run with Ray from the Geeks in Running Shoes podcast. The vest was light and I could adjust while on the move which is a big boost since I never felt I lost time or momentum. I have also taken it on trail runs and it has performed well. If you are a handheld runner but need more space than the credit card size pocket most handhelds give this is a product with your name on it (figuratively unless you own a sharpie).

Conclusion
Love the vest. It is a go to for me for night running when I am going a short distance but need to carry a headlamp. The only thing I would add to it is a waterproof pouch (like the new Endurance Pack) for salt caps. Besides that it is a perfect vest for its niche.

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