Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nathan HPL #759

The Kalenji Pack has been sent back to Decathlon store. Still feel a bit sad about it.

Now I own a HPL #759 from Nathan. Even though this pack is from around 2007 and the version I have now was redesigned in 2009 I have not yet come across this one (neither on the web nor on a race). Of course so far I was not really looking for something that would allow for some self-supported long run ... very long run. Now this pack is not really available anymore and even though it is old I was able to purchase one at runmarkt.de.

Specifications:

  • Two-way propulsion harness
  • Dual molded Rocket Holster offer two bottle position options: angled for quick, one-handed bottle access, or horizontal for storage
  • Two 22 oz. Hydration Bottles
  • Zippered main compartment with 1200 cubic inch gear capacity
  • Compression Wings stabilize load and provides storage for hiking poles
  • Dual front pockets, one mesh holster, one zippered
  • Power Stretch Mesh back pocket for jacket or gloves
  • Vertically adjustable sternum strap with tube clip
  • Honeycomb Mesh shoulder straps and back panel add comfort, prevent chafing, and dissipate heat
  • Honeycomb Mesh padded wraparound waistbelt with dual dimensional, Power Stretch Mesh pockets
  • Lightweight, breathable Wall Mesh with soft perimeter binding that feels great against skin and won't damage technical appareal
  • Hydration Bladder-compatible (bladder not included)
  • Weight: 28.0 oz.
Actually I have not yet figured out what is meant by the two bottle holder positions and how to adjust or change respectively them. Also need to get used to the "Compression Wings".

So after some miles of more serious trail running with the HPL #759 I know that the angled position is indeed easier to access but if the pack is really loaded to its limit including the 3L hydration bladder the top of the bottles really rub and hurt my back because the lower part of the holster tend to point more to the outside of the pack.
So coming back from the run I tried to figure how the horizontal position should look like and if that would cause less pain...
Since I got also other stuff to do I gave up not before writing an email to Nathan asking for help.
Et voilà ... here's the answer, thanks to Andy from Nathan:


photo by andy choi





Bottle in "horizontal" position. This is where you could add a few more items into the other opening of the holster.
It is indeed difficult to get the bottles in and out while running but it does work and in this position the bottles can't bounce on your back.

photo by andy choi






This is the more obvious way to insert the bottles and called the "angled" position. It's easier to get bottles in and out while running ... but its still not too easy ;)










So this one has plenty of space for all kind of stuff. I particularly like the shoulder strap pockets (well I'm used to those from the HPL #008).
The 3l Platypus Hoser which I originally purchased for the Kalenji does fit nicely into the #759.

Besides the bottle holster issue I personally dislike that the pack (at least if fully loaded) sits a bit to low on the back. Will see how to works for really long runs.


Q: So why do I buy an basically outdated pack?
A: Because it seems just the right pack for me and my current needs and I'm satisfied with Nathans products and its quality.
Q: Alternatives?
A: The closest match to this one now seems to be the Fastpack from UltrAspire which is not too surprising since Bryce Thatcher has designed both of them or at least was involved.
Another alternative would be the  Salomon Advanced Skin Slab 12 (needs extra shoulder strap bottle holders and has small bladder  1.5l).
Q: Why didn't I go with the Fastpack then?
A: It seems not yet available and its not yet clear to me how the support for hydration bladder looks like.

Update:
I now have a confirmation from UltrAspire that the Fastpack  has hydration bladder support and a 3l reservoir will fit into it.
The Fastpack should be available in Europe/Germany about end of August 2012.

I think I would really like to get my hands on one of those once it's available.



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