I’ve always had a difficult time figuring out how to hydrate myself on the run. Hydration belts never fit me right and slide around, causing pain, numbness, and chaffing. Hand-held water bottles have made my forearms cramp up and I usually toss them before I get too far. Until this past summer I’ve pretty much gone without.
I used a hydration back pack while training for my May marathon, but since it was mostly winter/early spring running, I was in long sleeves and mostly covered. As soon as it started warming up and my tank tops came out, I discovered some serious chaffing around my neck and shoulders from the straps. Not to mention how heavy the pack was. I opted not to run with it in the VT City Marathon, which ended up being a very bad idea. Record heat and humidity that day made for an extremely brutal race that ended up being canceled at the 4 hour mark. I suffered some serious dehydration and barely made it through the finish line on my feet.
Summer training with my pack wasn’t working out, so I went out in search of something lighter & smaller. That’s when I discovered the Dolfin Pack. I’ve only put a 115 miles on the thing, but I have to say, I love it! I purchased mine in August through their Website and it arrived in less than a week. I purchased this one in navy and lime green because at the time they were out of stock in the color I wanted, though they have lots of options. I bought the version 2 with the 1.5L reservoir, but I could have gone with the smaller one since I’ve never consumed more than a full liter on any runs. I wore mine during the Hartford Marathon and was glad I did. It helped me stay on pace and avoid the congestion at aid stations. It was certainly a life-saver during the prolonged summer that New England experienced this year!
Affordability: At $45, I found this pack to be extremely affordable. In fact, the cost of other brands and models is why I’d put off purchasing one for so long. A+
Comfort: The continuous Velcro straps across the front are fully adjustable, so it can fit a fairly small person. My 7 year old son wore it when we went to Disney and it fit him well. It fits snuggly (on an adult) so there is no bouncing or chaffing. When I wear it, I cannot feel the pack at all. And because it fits so snuggly and the elastic straps are wrapped in neoprene, I’ve been able to wear it with tank tops (and topless!) without any issues whatsoever. (Honestly, I think that really is the best part about it.) Because it’s Velcro straps, there aren’t any dangling ends to deal with either. A+
Functionality: It is certainly designed for athletes. My husband who is 6’1″ & 270 lbs (not an athlete) tried to wear it on a bike ride and couldn’t get the straps across his chest. While I love that it fits me (an almost average sized female) and my kids, it might not fit larger men. The pack is also “no frills”. There are no pockets except for the main compartment for the reservoir. While I can fit my phone and a granola bar or a few gels in there, they aren’t easy to access while moving, which meant I had to find a different way to carry my fuel. That was kind of a bummer since I was trying to avoid any waist belts. But, the lightness of the pack certainly makes up for the lack of pockets. I’m still attempting to devise a way to add a small pocket to mine. B-
Overall, this is a fantastic piece of running equipment that I would highly recommend, especially if you are a female athlete or a minimalist runner who doesn’t need much aside from water. It’s comfortable. It’s affordable. It’s functional. I’d say it’s a winner!