Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nathan VaporKrar and ExoDraw Review



Nathan Sports is sold in over 45 different countries and was on Inc.’s 500/5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies in 2013.  They make hydration, visibility, and performance gear using industry leading materials.  If you go to your local running store, there will most likely be Nathan products there.

Nathan Sports just came out with a new design for a few of their running hydration products.  They still have all of your favorite packs, waistbands, and handhelds too.  The new line includes the VaporKrar Vests (12-liter and 4 liter) and WaistPak and is named after minimalist ultra-runner Rob Krar. He was born in Hamilton, Canada and is 40 years old.  Rob started trail running in 2012 and ran his first Western State’s 100 a year later where he finished in second place behind Timothy Olson.  Rob was a night pharmacist, family man, and just a regular guy for most of his life.

VaproKrar 4L Vest

Rob Krar spent some serious time helping Nathan Sports design an awesome vest using different materials than other Nathan packs.  He wanted to design a lightweight runner’s vest that was form-fitting, but was still breathable. The VaproKrar4L Vest is made specifically to fit the male torso.  The VaporHowe 4L Vest is the women specific version.


Both vests have two front water bottle pockets and come with two 12-ounce Exoshot soft flasks with extended tubes.  These are basically collapsible bottles with a straw so you can drink out of the bottles without having to take them out of the pockets.  For runs where you can last on 24 ounces of water, this works great.  If you are running a longer distance event, it is a little more difficult to fill than some other water bottles out there.  I really like this feature though.  While the pack comes with 12-ounce bottles, the pockets are designed to fit bottles up to 22 ounce bottles. 


The VaproKrar4L Vest is light weight, weighing only 10.4 ounces without the soft flasks, which add another 6.4 ounces if they are empty.  The material is form-fitting and breathable.  It’s probably one of the best fitting vests because it fits almost like a compression shirt.  There’s no bouncing around and it just feels great. 

There are multiple pockets for storage or to stash your fuel and it is easy to access in a hurry.  There are two zippered pockets in the chest area that are big enough to fit an iPhone 7 Plus and two additional stash pockets in the front of the bottle pockets.  There are pockets on either side and small and large pockets in the back.  The larger back pocket is big enough to use a 1.5 liter hydration bladder (not included). 

The VaproKrar4L Vest is available at the Nathan website for $149.99 and comes in Steel Grey.  You can also find it at a local retailer or online.

Pros:
Plenty of storage
Great fit – no bouncing
Light weight 10.4 ounces
Extremely breathable
Decent price at $149.99

Cons:
The bottles sometimes leak if they aren’t screwed on correctly

VaproKrar WaistPak

If you like to take a little gear with you and don’t need much water, the VaporKrar WaistPak might be what you are looking for.  It uses the same lightweight and breathable material as the VaproKrar4L Vest, but is made as a waist pack. 

The VaporKrar WaistPak has a pocket with a Velcro strip to hold an 18-ounce ExoDraw collapsible soft flask.  The pocket does a great job of keeping the flask close to your body and not allowing it to bounce. 


There is a zippered pocket that is large enough for larger smartphones (up to iPhone 7 Plus) and other running gear.    There are also two stretch pockets on either side for gels or other smaller items. 

There are two synch straps that you can use to secure the VaporKrar WaistPak and there is elastic with grippy material along the top of the pack to make sure the pack doesn’t move around.  The unique thing about this pack is that you step into it. There is no buckle or Velcro, so you will need to order a specific size. 


This is a great pack for shorter runs and it really feels great.  I honestly was expecting the water flask to bounce around because of how the bottle sits in the pocket, but much to my surprise, it didn’t bounce at all.  You can get the VaporKrar WaistPak at the Nathan website for $59.99 and it comes in Steel Grey or Black.  You can also find it at a local retailer or online.

Pros:
Plenty of storage
Great fit – no bouncing
18-ounce ExoDraw soft Flask
Light weight 4.5 ounces
Extremely breathable
Decent price at $59.99

Cons:
The bottles sometimes leak if they aren’t screwed on correctly

ExoDraw 18oz Handheld

The ExoDraw 18oz Handheld uses the same bottle that is used in the VaporKrar WaistPak, but utilizes a special sleeve that makes it a great handheld.  It has a small pocket in the front that allows you to put your keys, license, or cash in for your shorter runs.

The really cool thing about this handheld is the way you hold it.  The flask itself has a rigid ExoSpine™ to make sure the flask does not shrink as you drink.  It makes it easier to hold regardless of how much fluid is left.  The best part though is the ergonomic hand strap that provides a grip-free experience.  You can literally put your hand in and tighten the strap, then you don’t have to hold onto the flask. Really cool idea that works well.


The sleeve’s material is made of neoprene and insulates the flask while providing a sweat-free grip.  It also is removable for easy cleaning.  My one issue with the ExoDraw 18oz Handheld is that it’s not the easiest flask to fill up.  Not a big deal, unless you are using it in a race where you need to refill the flask.  Other than that it is an awesome handheld. 


The ExoDraw 18oz Handheld is a light weight handheld that is easy to use and is super comfortable.  You can get yours at the Nathan website for $49.99 and it comes in Steel Grey or Blue Radiance.  You can also find it at a local retailer or online.

Pros:
One pocket for small items
Ergonomic Hand Strap means you don’t have to grip the flask
18-ounce ExoDraw soft Flask
Light weight 3.6 ounces
Sweat-free grip
Decent price at $49.99

Cons:
The bottles sometimes leak if they aren’t screwed on correctly

Nathan’s Social Media Links:

Nathan states that “No matter how hard you push our gear, we guarantee it.”  This does not include normal wear and tear, but you are covered from any manufacture defects for as long as you own the product.  That sounds great to me.  I definitely push my gear to the limits at times and it is great to have a company that stands behind their products.  I emailed Nathan a while back about a leaky bottle and they shipped one out to me at no charge, no questions asked.  Now that’s great service!

The VaproKrar4L Vest, VaporKrar WaistPak, and ExoDraw 18oz Handheld are awesome hydration options from Nathan Sports.  I am extremely impressed with the fit and feel of all three products.  They each come with innovative solutions that some other companies haven’t come up with yet.  Head over to your local running shop and check them out or visit the Nathan Sports website. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

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