Over the last few decades, I’ve used more hydration systems for running than I can remember. My current favorite is the Ultimate Direction Solitaire.
You should be able to purchase this pack locally or online. The lowest online prices are on eBay.
Perfect Size Waist Pack for the Ridge Run
I’ve been using it for the last couple years in training and racing and have had great success with it. It is a good size for runs of a few hours or less or in races that have aid stations where you can refill the water bottle. There are enough pockets to hold a thin wind shell and extra fuel. I’ve used it in a five hour trail marathon and even a half marathon on the road.
The horizontal orientation of the water bottle sleeve causes less bounce when running as opposed to a vertical or slanted sleeve.
Modifications to Make it Trail Worthy
Off the self, it lacks a few things that are easy to fix.
- First off, I added a gel flask holster.
- Second, I sewed a couple of straps to the water bottle sleeve. On one end I sewed a nylon strap across the opening to create a wall or end to the sleeve to prevent a bottle from slipping out the back. On the other end, I sewed an elastic strap that I stretch over the neck of the water bottle securing it in the pack.
- Third, I trimmed the excess webbing from the waist belt to custom the fit to my waist.
- Last, I also cut off the loop on the top as I did not see any reason for that.
The water bottle that it comes with, just plain doesn’t work. The top or nipple is a pain to work with and wastes a lot of time futzing with to take a drink. Fortunately, there is a cheap alternative replacement bottle that works great.
Sorry for the poor quality of the the following pictures. It looks like my camera is dying.
Gatorade 24oz Bottle with Twist Top
You can buy these for about a buck a piece in cases of 4 to 24 (at stores like Wal-Mart or Dollar Tree) and they come ready filled with sugar water (Gatorade). I reuse them for all my hydration system(s) – Backpacks, Vest packs and Waist Packs. These bottles are the cheapest and best water bottles I have found. What I really like about them is the twist to open cap or top. This top works way better than pull or push nipple tops that are common with most water bottles. They are convenient to open and close and drink out of. I rarely aspirate when drinking and running when using these bottles. The top doesn’t leak and the bottle squeezes easy to facilitating squirting fluids into your mouth.
The 24oz bottle size works well for the Ridge Run. You can start off with the bottle full and start drinking early on in the race. Then, just remember to refill and top it off at each aid station. If it is a hot dry day, you may end up drinking the entire 24 ounces between each aid station and totally refilling it 3 to 4 times. This way you could end up drinking a total of over 100 ounces of fluid if needed.