By 303 Ambassador Erin Trail
Full disclosure: I am an Orange Mud fanatic. I got my first OM pack – the HydraQuiver Double Barrel – in Sept 2014, and ever since then I’ve been in love with the brand. That pack is literally my security blanket on every run I do. The only problem with the pack? It won’t work for mountain biking, and well, if you run far, you need to be able to hold more liquid than that pack provides. OM founder Josh Sprague posted on his website over a year ago that he was developing a hydration pack and I’ve been pestering him ever since. The pack took a while and several complete overhauls from the original, but in May 2016 it finally arrived. He was at the Primal Colorado Bike Expo, conveniently located next to the 303 tent and I got to see the pack first hand. And then I got one the following week, in green.
A little bit about Josh. He is an athlete himself and wasn’t happy with the hydration packs that were on the market. He knew he could do better and literally sewed prototypes himself at home. Once he developed his first pack, it was off to the races. After a few years of building the business, he had enough demand to turn it into a full time venture and family business. He recently moved from Corona, California to Castle Rock, Colorado and frequently rides Hidden Mesa with his family. He’s all about making high quality gear that’s multi-functional and 100% focused on athlete’s needs.
So, about the Endurance Pack … The first thing you notice is how light it is. The pack weighs 9.5 oz and is mostly black with green, orange, or grey accents. The pack doesn’t extend all the way down your back like most bladder packs – the footprint is similar to the HydraQuiver line but a bit longer due to the bladder. The pack fits pretty similar to the HydraQuivers – the reservoir sits on your shoulder blades and it fits very close to your body. Also: and doesn’t bounce. At all! It’s highly adjustable, with adjustable side straps and two front elastic cross-chest straps. Part of the super smart design is that these front straps can be placed anywhere you like vertically along the front, making for a fully customized fit. The elastic was intentional, so you could make the straps as tight as you need but they’ll also stretch as you breathe and move. The pack is loaded with features, including a 70 oz HydraPak with a quick disconnect tube and high flow bite valve. The bladder itself is super easy to clean (you can flip it inside out and toss it in your dishwasher). The main cargo area is made from a tough stretchy fabric that is deceptively large. There are 3 main cargo pockets; one for the bladder (which gets affixed to the pack by a Velcro tab at the top of the top of the pocket), there’s another top-opening pocket, and an outer zipper pocket with a key clip. If you need even more storage, you can get the trekking pole attachment and shock cords, which are really handy if you want to bring a light jacket along with you. On the front side of the pack, there are Velcro pockets on each shoulder that are large enough to hold your phone, and there are two deep front pockets on each side with a cinch cord which are handy for carrying nutrition. Essentially, this pack is set up for short jaunts or for 100 mile endurance races. It can handle everything.
I personally wanted the pack for Xterras and mountain biking, but it works well for running too. I’ve worn it on several mountain bike rides and also wore it for Xterra Lory. The pack is light, functional, and comfortable. And it looks cool too. And did I mention it doesn’t bounce? That right there is the best feature of all – you barely even notice you’re wearing the pack.
The pack is available for purchase online at OrangeMud.com. The Endurance Pack costs $134.95 and you can get the trekking pole attachment and shock cords for an additional $15.