Gear Review: VaporAir Hydration Pack

I’m not much of a runner, but my friend and colleague, John Moffitt, is; so when an opportunity came up to demo the new NATHAN Sports VaporAir hydrations pack for long distance runners, I knew where to turn. John does some heavy trail running in the Rockies and had had mixed luck with previous packs.  Here is his review: 


The Nathan VaporAir

Guest Gear Review by John Moffitt

I have been using an ancient running vest from Nathan for many years.  I used it in several ultramarathons and other trail races, along with long training runs. I have liked it.  However, when the VaporAir showed up, I was excited to put my old one down and take the new one for a spin.  

My initial impression was it felt snug and comfortable, like a glove.  It looks good—black with some neon yellow that’s reflective. The front chest pockets were accessible and the magnetic mouthpiece was held firmly in place.  I took it for a short run in the woods. It fit well to the body and was stable going downhill. I had some trouble initially getting the fit right. I felt like it was restricting my breathing.  

After several runs and playing around with the multiple adjustment straps, I dialed it in and have been very pleased with the fit.  The bladder holds a lot of water and is solid. No leaks, easy to clean, nice quick release from the straw—I was pleased. I was skeptical that the magnet for the mouthpiece wouldn’t hold, but it proved me wrong; it holds despite the terrain. 

There are a ton of pockets, which means tons of space for stuff, which means I have to be careful not to overpack it! The front inner pockets provided enough room and easy access for my phone. I found the other chest pockets great for gels and/or bars and other stuff.  The pack itself is light and I found the fit to be stable despite how much water/stuff is in the pack. I have put in about 60 trail miles with the longest time wearing the pack at about 3.5 hours. It was just as comfortable at hour 1 as hour 3.5.  

If there is anything I could critique, its the straps. While I have found it to fit snug and ride well on rugged terrain, I have found my breathing to be somewhat constricted when breathing deeply at high altitude.  Perhaps having some elasticity would allow for stretching to account for the expansion of the rib cage. I haven’t found the inner strap adjustment system to be easily altered. The need for adjusting typically happens during the run and I’m too stubborn to stop and work to adjust the pack. So, maybe that’s on me to figure out.

Overall a total positive experience. Look forward to many more miles with the VaporAir.

—Guest reviewer John Moffitt is a bearded dad, husband, teacher, musician, beer drinker, mini-van driver who likes bourbon and running long distances in the woods.

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