Yes, this is a review however, before I begin, let me assure you that I paid for the item myself and have no connection with or sponsorship by Nathan. I wish I did 🙂
If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you’d know that I’m giving trail running more of a try and, in the lead up to the Surf Coast trail half marathon, decided I needed a hydration vest. I didn’t make the final decision particularly early though and ended up buying said hydration vest the night before the run, 10 minutes before picking up my running bib.
I had previously been looking at the wide range of hydration vests and was in a bit of a quandry as to what to get – I didn’t want to spend a fortune on something I wasn’t sure how much I’d use and was also wary buying it so close to an event and not having time to test it.
While browsing through The Happy Runner (amazing running shop in Torquay), I saw the Nathan Zeal and thought it was perfect (especially as they were offering 20% off for Surf Coast trail entrants!). Holding a 2L bladder and still having room for all the other bits and pieces, this seemed to balance being big enough but not too cumbersome.
I got it home and adjusted it to fit – I’d read advice which said to loosen everything to the max then put it on and readjust and that worked perfectly.
The next day, full of all my essentials, I put it on and set off for the 21kms of the Surf Coast trail half marathon. Probably not the best idea to test this on such a long run but I didn’t have much of a choice. I’m pleased to say it passed with flying colours.
My biggest concern had been chafing (which, frankly, I get on every run anyway, usually in new and spectacular places) and I did get a little from the chest strap but I’ve since adjusted where it sits and haven’t had further problems. I had also been worried about it moving around or the water sloshing but I barely felt it once it was on and didn’t have any movement from it. It was very comfortable and so convenient to be able to drink as I went and not rely on aid stations. Having a big enough compartment to stow my long sleeve top once I heated up was also great.
So, my verdict is that I love it. I had only heard great things about this brand of hydration packs and can confirm that I am now a devotee 🙂