Friday, February 18, 2011

Product Review: Hydrapak Soquel

In the past three years, I have tried numerous methods for carrying water with me on my runs. When first started running, I kept a water bottle at my car and would loop back every few miles to rehydrate, but as my mileage built that method became rather taxing.

So, I did a little research and opted for a hydration belt. The first one I purchased was a total fail. It had a single bottle that was positioned horizontally on my back. The bottle leaked and randomly fell out when I ran. Eventually, I ditched it and moved onto another belt, this time with four small bottles and a Velcro closure. Again, I was disappointed. The belt chafed me CONSTANTLY. I could never get it to sit correctly and I often finished a run feeling abused.

In the past year, I have moved to handheld hydration methods. This has been my favorite method by far, but it too has it's drawbacks. To begin with, the amount of water I can carry is limited. The vessel is small in comparison to that of the belts I had utilized in the past. Also, on occasion, I ended runs with cramped biceps from holding my arm in a rather fixed position. But, aside from that, the handheld seemed to be the best option for me, especially for shorter (under 10 mile) training runs.

And although I was content with my current hydration system, I had always been interested in using a hydration pack. So, when Scott at Outside PR, gave me the opportunity to test out the Hydrapak Soquel, I jumped at the chance.

The Soquel, which retails for $54.99, is ultra-lightweight with just enough storage space to make it perfect for a race or a training run. Here are the specs (from Hydrapak):

Features:

  • Speed Harness Ultimate Mobility Straps (SHUMS)
  • Ultra-Light Weight Materials
  • 360 Degree Reservoir Insulation
  • Applied Mesh Pocket with Elastic Pump Loop
  • Silky Slider Sternum Strap
  • Key Clip
  • Reflective Light Loop

Specs:

  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Gear Storage: 90 Cubic inches (1.5L)
  • 70 oz (2L) Reversible Reservoir II with Classic Connector (Upgrade to Plug-N-Play optional)
  • Measures 13.5" x 6.25" x 2.75"
  • Silicone Impregnated 100D Trilobal Ripstop and 210D Nylon Construction

Colors

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Green
I tested my Soquel on my last long run. And I must say, I was quite impressed.

Despite carrying two liters of water with me, I barely noticed that I was even wearing the pack (I did notice the sound of the shaking of the ice cubes that I put in the reservoir though). It wasn't bulky or restrictive and perhaps most importantly, it didn't chafe.

In addition to the comfort of the Soquel, I also appreciated the large reservior size (2L), ample storage space (pictured below) and easy to use bite valve.

The only drawback I could find to this pack was that I was not able to access the storage compartments while I was running. This was not due to the design of the pack, but rather it's placement on my back. I was unable to reach around and undo the zippers and/or latches. This is a minor drawback that I expect would be seen with any hydration pack.

All in all, I would highly recommend the Hydrapak Soquel.

Note: While I received this product for free, the opinions are all my own.

19 comments:

Jogging with Fiction said...

that's pretty sweet. I've been trying to figure out what to use for my long runs in the summer when I'll actually be able to go outside.

daysrun said...

Love the review of something I need. Bummed that there was no giveaway...darn! Okay, guess I'll have to go shopping...hee, hee!

Disney_Casey said...

Great review I've been researching these so this is a great help

wojoku said...

I love hydration packs. I bought one for hiking last summer and it has been the most used piece of outdoor equipment I have aside from my shoes.

I must admit though, I've never used it for a normal run, only for trail runs where I'm jumping around a lot anyways. I've always thought the pack would be annoying on normal runs.

Maybe I shall give it a try. How long of a "long run" did you go for?

BeePieRuns said...

Maybe you should wear it on your front like a kangaroo?? Lately I've found the best way to hydrate - have someone put water out for you on your route (which can backfire when the park rangers take your cooler b/c they don't want the bears to get it, nevermind that there are NO bears in Chattanooga...)

Shawn said...

I have a CamelBak and love it...great fro the bike and for the long run. Went thru the same process as you....mine has a 1 litre capacity

Deb said...

The only thing I wonder about it is if it would cause you to sweat under the pack when it's hot out. I guess not, since the water is cool?

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I love my hydration packs! I have never felt really comfortable carrying handhelds so when I moved into longer distances (I've never ran more than a half marathon with the jogger) I got packs.

One thing I will say to anyone new to hydration packs is the need to put glide or other product on the area under your pack. Even if you pack is secured snuggly it will move enough that on long runs/races it could cause chafing. Best advice to try and avoid this is to test the shirt and pack combo on really long runs with the same weather conditions as you might have on race day. My back still shows evidence of not preparing correctly for my pack.

As for getting things in and out, I have been able to access the front pocket of my pack while running but have to remove it at aid stations to refill and access the inner pockets. Since I am not "winning" ultras those few extra minutes are well spent to keep me fueled and prepared.

Jen said...

Great review... if I ever sign up for an ultra, this is what I would use.

Funny, I never have gotten chaffed with a belt.

OrangeBlossom said...

I've started using the Camelbak Octane XCT on my long runs. It does have two zippers on the side that I can access gels and such while running. I've even used it on runs when the temp was 15 deg just wore it under one of my layers.

Tricia said...

awesome

Anabela (Bela) Neves said...

Great review! I have seen these hydration packs on some races and always wondered how it is to run with one. I always thought it would bother me, maybe I should get one to try!

Rose said...

I always love your running outfits! They are so playful and adorable.

Jesser said...

How was the bounce?? Everything similar I've run with had terrible bounce that distracted me so badly I could hardly run. I'd love something similar to a camelbak tho.

Marlene said...

I have a similar version from Nathan that I love, although I usually only bring it if I won't have access to a water refill on a really long run or if I need to transport items. It's a great option!

Michelle said...

Dad Wonder uses CamelBacks, but I dislike the plastic taste of the valve. Does this one make the water taste like plastic?

Beach Bum said...

I use a small camelbak and LOVE it too! Never thought of filling it up with ice cubes though -- good idea!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

YOu have great legs!!!

This looks perfect for my runs when I am back home in Nebraska in the summer--I can't keep enough water in me in that humidity!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Always value your opinions!

Anritha said...

Right now, The Clymb is running a sale on these packs for half off. http://theclymb.com/invite-from/link006_7