A backpack and waterbottle in one, the Mirror 15l Hydration Backpack by Trespass claims to be comfortable, convenient and to save trail runners and mountain bikers time whilst out and about. So how does it stand up to a 6k kayak and 6k run in the hot, humid temperatures of Hong Kong? Eliza tested it out at an Action Asia event.
I’ve never had a hydration backpack before. To be honest, I’ve never thought I’ve needed one. When I run, it’s around London and if I need to, I either carry a bottle of water in my hand or put it in one of the pockets of a backpack I usually run with. Finding myself signed up to a race across water and mountain sounded like the perfect opportunity to test it out.
At 7am, less than 24 hours after I touched down in Hong Kong, my friend arrived at the flat I was staying at and jostled me to get my stuff ready. I proudly brought out my rucksack. “Look what I’ve got!” I exclaimed proudly. My friend glanced at it and nudged a similar rucksack by her feet. Oh. She already had a hydration backpack. Slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a novelty but also relieved that I’d brought along the ‘right’ gear (I’ve never done a kayak and mountain run before, let alone in 32’C heat), I encountered my first challenge – filling it up with water. Thank goodness my friend was here to help. She took out the water bladder, we filled it up and carefully slotted it into it’s padded section against the back. Unfortunately for my friend, we discovered her water bladder had a hole in it so she didn’t bother running with her rucksack.
As I was the one with the rucksack, all the essentials including suncream and the map went into my bag. To my surprise, it was really comfy. And whilst it looked small, it felt like there was enough room for everything I needed. It was a huge change from the clunky standard backpack I’d run in before that chaffed my shoulders and banged against my back as I ran. Getting water out was something I’d not anticipated being a challenge. I hadn’t inspected the mouthpiece and halfway up the Dragons Back wasn’t the best place to start. I admit, I got pretty frustrated with it as I wrestled with the opening whilst trying to keep running. The terrain was rocky and steep and it didn’t feel like we were even running across a trail. No matter how hard I sucked, nothing would come out. The answer, it turns out, is in technique. Having make sure I’d turned the valve the right way, I didn’t need to do much to draw out the water. I absolutely hate funny tasting water yet did it taste of plastic? At that stage, I couldn’t tell.
What I do know, is that I felt like I definitely had the advantage wearing the hydration backpack. There was no hassle of trying to swing a backpack off my shoulders and fumble around for a bottle, let alone have the added distraction of running with one. I generally don’t tend to drink much when I’m running so I didn’t need all the water I’d put in there so for me, it would last a long time.
Upon our final stretch of kayak, we overturned – a welcome dunk in the refreshing sea. I didn’t even remember I had my backpack on until after we’d returned to dry land and I was removing my life jacket. The contents were soggy but the bag itself had survived 35’C humid heat, sweat, a sea dip, being dragged through mountain shrubbery and the blazing sun.
I can honestly say I’m quite surprised at how useful and comfy the hydration backpack was. I often run to meetings and normally use a generic rucksack but there’s no way I’m going back! I also loved the colour – the description called it Yellow, but in reality, it’s more lime. Now, who wants to come on a long run with me? We can hydrate as we go!
Who’s it for? Anyone who hates carrying a water bottle when they run and also wants a place to keep keys, some money and maybe a top.
How much? €33.90
Where to buy: www.trespass.com