Friday, September 27, 2013

Hydration Pack Review: EMS Squito

After months of searching and online research, I finially found and purchased a hydration pack for my long runs. I've been doing a lot of running (for me) lately, and was growing tired to having to always have my hands busy with the hand-held bottle that I own. I'd been wanting for a while to purchase a hydration pack -- a belt had already been ruled out last time I searched for a hyrdation system.
I ran into a number of problems in my search for a hydration pack for running:
1. Most hydration packs seem designed for biking and didn't have the straps to make them secure enough for running.
2. Many hydration packs were too big for me, since I am very petite. Also, I only need a small amount of water because my longest runs are only in the 10 to 11 mile range.
3. The straps for securring many hydration packs cut right across my bosom. Judging by this feature and the number of large packs I saw, it seemed most hydration packs were designed with a man's body in mind.
Last weekend, however, after an unsuccessful trip to the local running store, we ended up at Eastern Mountain Sports. There they had a pack that seemed to meet all my needs. It was small , 2 liters, and designed for multisport use, including running. And a steal at $60 (plus I got 15% off by signing up to be an EMS member). The pack: Squito.

The pack has the following features:
  • Two nifty storage areas, one inside and one outside the pack.
  • A chest strap that can be moved up and down (to above or below bosom level, in my case).
  • A waist strap.
  • 2 liter bladder. This, unfortunately, does not have a detatching/adjustable hose. However, on the plus side, the bladder does feature a fold-over closure which opens wide on top making airing out and adding water a snap.

I took the pack out for a quick 3 mile run to test it out today. I spent some time in the house adjusting it before hand. Here are a couple of "selfies" so that you can see how the small the pack is.

The short run with the pack went quite well. I loved having my hands free!
  • The pack was very lightweight. It was easy to forget about it.
  • There was very minimal jostling of the pack on my back. All the straps made it stay put.
  • The small size was great. It didn't get in the way.
  • It was fairly easy to drink out of the pack. Water flow seemed smooth.
  • Not having to hold anything in my hands!!!
  • The stop of the straps where they meet near the neck chaffled against me a little bit. This might be resolved as the straps get broken in. Otherwise I'll have to figure out a solution. The chaffing wasn't terrible, but it was annoying.
  • The pockets are great, but hard to access while running since they are on your back. It would be basically impossible to get anything in or out once the pack is strapped on.
It was hard to get my cell situated in the pack after activating the GPS for the running app. Also, I would have loved a small pocket to put gels on the the front of the straps. It seems silly to put them in my shorts when I'm wearing a pack, but I might have to for easy access.

Overall, I'm very excited about the EMS Squito hydration pack. I think that it's just what I've been looking for: a small hydration pack that fits a petite woman. The 2 liter capacity is more water than I'm likely to need. Afterall, it's not like I am running marathons.

I'm also very happy with the color of the pack: black. I'd seen one or two packs online for women, but they were all a bright pink, a color I dislike. (And, seriously, why are all sports things designed for women just a smaller version of the men's colored pink? Not all women like pink. And we're mostly not shaped like men.) The black is great if I decide to take this pack on any of my obstacle course races because it will hide the mud stains.
I just have to work out the bit with the straps bothering the back of my neck, and I think all my hydration needs will be met. I'm excited to take it out on more runs this fall.

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