Tag Archives: hydration

Review: SPI H20 Venture Hydration Belt

Disclaimer: I received a SPI H20 Venture Hydration Belt to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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I am always looking for things that will make my run easier, or make a necessary part of my run easier, like staying hydrated. I’ve used the same waist belt hydration pack since 2006 (seriously), and I have a regular SPI belt that I use on shorter runs, so when I jumped at the chance to try something that combined the two.

For full transparency: I’ve been dealing with a quad strain since my half marathon last month, so I didn’t get out with the belt *too* much, but I did get to try it a couple times and feel the review is an accurate reflection of how it works.

What I received to review

Photo from SPI website.

Photo from SPI website.

From the website:

The SPI H2O™ Venture Series hydration belt is bounce-free, easy to use, and eliminates cumbersome bottle holders. The SPI H2O Venture Series is a unique product because the two, 8 ounce bottles that can be placed anywhere on the elastic allowing runners to maximize comfort. This running belt is built for durability and can keep up with your longest runs. Go for a hike, run a marathon, go mountain biking. The Venture Series will effortlessly keep your water and other essentials right where you need them! The belt pocket is big enough to hold the iPhone® 6S Plus or the Samsung Galaxy Note 5® as well as keys, ID, and more.

The Good


Like I said, I’ve had the same hydration belt since 2006, so I was excited to see how they have evolved since then, and I was pleasantly surprised. I wear my belts low and on my hips anyway (which greatly reduces bounce to begin with), but I found that the SPI H20 belt was bounce-free, as promised. I varied my speed from walking to a brisk run and it stayed put (and didn’t leak, either!). 

The band is pretty wide, so it’s really comfortable, and fits waist sizes from 27″-48″, so it will probably fit you, too!

I love that the bottles just slide on AND there’s not lid to pop up! They are no-spill, and then only work when you squeeze them. And the mouth of the bottle is big enough to fit ice cubes!


The plastic part that the bottle connect to the belt with is connected to the bottles, so it’s super easy to wear it as just a SPI belt, too. The stretchy pouch has enough room to hold a cell phone, key, and headphones.

While it’s not water proof, it does have a WeatherGuard design to keep out dirt, dust, and the occasional raindrop.

The Not-So-Good

There are two 8 oz. bottles, for a max of 16 oz. of hydration. While this probably isn’t a bid deal to most, and I don’t usually consume more than that on my longer runs, if you were heading on a lengthy adventure, you might want to have more water.

There are two loops on either side of the pouch that are supposed to be for gels. I couldn’t stretch either one out very far at all, so there was no chance that I was getting a gel in there. The good news, is that I could probably fit the gel in the main pouch with everything else.


The Bottom Line

If you like hydration waist belts, this is a great choice. You can wear it with or without the bottles, and it holds just about everything you would need for a decent run. I definitely recommend checking it out and snagging a discount on one below!

The SPI H20 Venture Series SPIbelt retails for $44.99. You can get 10% off and free shipping with the code “abbie10” until the end of May!

Check out Christine’s review, too!

Join us on Twitter for #Bibchat on Tuesdays at 7 pm MST!

Review: Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuiver

Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuiver to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


As you may have heard, I’m training for the 3-day TransRockies Run in the mountains in August. I usually wear a waist belt with hydration, but have been looking for a lightweight backpack type option that would allow me to comfortably hold a little more stuff. When I saw the Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuiver, I was super excited to try it out and see if it would work for my big race.

What I received to review

From the website:

Tired of bouncing and sloshing hydration packs? Solution found, meet the HydraQuiver™. The HydraQuiver sports a silky smooth webbing, long spandex pockets to hold your phone while running, an interior rear cargo storage and a secure zipper pull.

Thick foam padding and big air channels provide ample support and maximum breath-ability. The running water bottle is easy to reach and replace thanks to a wide funnel opening and perfect retention. We use a reusable BPA-free water bottle to make refills quick and clean up easy. Unlike a hydration bladder, these are much easier to wash! For your nighttime safety we have a reflective logo on the bottle holder.

Features: Capacity – 140 cu in ~ Weight without bottle, 7.2oz/204 grams, with bottle 10oz/282 grams ~ Super breathable nylon ~ Secure storage with headphone port ~ Bottle: BPA Free 25oz ~ Patent pending


The Good

It’s definitely light, even with a full bottle of water. Even though it’s light, and there is a minor amount of sloshing (it is a bottle of liquid after all), I didn’t feel like it was bouncing or moving at all.

It holds quite a bit of water. The bottle holds 25 oz. of hydration liquid, which is more than enough for me for pretty much any run or hike that I would be on.

The pocket was surprisingly big. I thought it would just be a small pocket, but it actually goes behind the bottle and spans the entire width of the pack. It can easily hold keys, a phone, and a snack. There is also a clip for your keyring to keep that in place, which is a nice feature. The headphone port made it easy to plug in headphones and string it through without having to leave the zipper open.

There are also a couple velcro pockets on the shoulder straps that are perfect for a gel. It was actually stretchy enough that I could fit my phone into it if I wanted to keep it close to snap pictures of my hike or trail run.

Under the velcro pockets is a little band that you can double up your straps, which kept them conveniently secure instead of flopping around.


While I found it more difficult to grab my water bottle for whatever reason, it was super easy to get back in the pack. The top of the bottle holder is wider than the bottom, which makes it easy to pop back in and keeps it pretty secure. You can lean over or and it isn’t going to just fall out.

The padding on the back was comfortable and the air channel gave some breathability. Of course, it still got sweaty, but I didn’t really notice that my back was sweaty until I took off the HydraQuiver.

The materials are high-quality and the pack is durable. This pack is well-made and I can tell that it will last a long time. It’s sturdy and easy to clean.

Photo from Orange Mud website

Photo from Orange Mud website

The Not-So-Good

As I mentioned before, I am on the hunt for a solution that will allow me to carry more for my longer adventures and eventually, the TransRockies Run, so I was excited to see that the HydraQuiver has a built in area to strap down a jacket. Unfortunately, you have to purchase a separate “cord and cord lock set” for an additional $4.95. I was bummed that it was a separate purchase, instead of it being included with the HydraQuiver.

I had a big issue with the fit. It was easy to put on, easy to adjust, but chafed my armpits and rubbed the top of my shoulders (through my shirt). It didn’t matter if I tightened it or loosened it, the straps don’t have any padding beyond the shoulders and rubbed my inner armpit. If I tightened it to where it was close to comfortable, it restricted my arm movement. If I loosened it too much, I the shoulder padding/pockets were too far back. I couldn’t figure out what the issue was, but after several runs, I never felt comfortable with the pack, which was really disappointing.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there are so many things that I really like about this pack, but when it comes down to it, if it’s not comfortable to wear, it’s just not going to work. I think Orange Mud is a great company, but this pack is not for me. That being said, there were other BibRave Pros that really loved the pack and didn’t have the same issue with the fit, so you may want to check out their posts, too – Katie, Samantha, Shannon, Jessica, and Emily.

The Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuiver retails for $84.95 and comes in black, gray, orange, and pink. There is also a double barrel version if you want to hold more water, and a Vest Pack that has a chest strap. If you want to try out Orange Mud for yourself, use the code “BIBRAVE” for a 15% discount!

Join us on Twitter for #Bibchat on Tuesday, May 3 at 7 pm MST – Orange Mud will be there and may be giving away a hydration pack!

Review: MESTRENGTH Performance Hydration Drink Mix

Disclaimer: I received a 10-pack of mixed flavors of MESTRENGTH Performance Hydration Drink Mix to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

You may or may not know that I’m currently training for the TransRockies 3-day Run in August, which means LOTS of long and back-to-back runs. I’ve been starting my search for hydration options that are going to help me both hydrate and recover for my next run, so I was really interested in trying MESTRENGTH.

mestrength box

What I received to review

From the website


The Good

The powder has limited ingredients: Electrolytes (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium) and creatine, citric acid, natural flavor/color, and stevia. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, if that’s important to you.

All of the products, whether you buy a single flavor or the mixed flavors sampler, come in a prepackaged stick packs. You don’t have to measure or think about it – just mix it with 16.9 or 20 oz. of water and go.

I think the cost is pretty reasonable – just over $1/serving for 16.9-20 oz. of hydration (the 10-pack is a little more expensive at about $1.80/serving).

mestrength ingredients

The Not-So-Good

Unfortunately, the flavor wasn’t for me – I’m not a huge fan of stevia and it tasted both sweet and tart. I watered it down from the recommended 16-20 oz. to 24 oz., and still didn’t think it made much of a difference. That being said, other BibRave Pros, like Frank, LOVE the strawberry kiwi.

The Bottom Line

I like that MESTRENGTH has the limited ingredients and the price is pretty good. The product has no calories, which I think some people would really like, but I want some calories for my long runs. There is also no sugar, but I think that real sugar over Stevia would have improved the taste.

But, just because I didn’t like the flavor, doesn’t mean that you won’t. The 10-pack is a great way to sample the flavors and find out which ones you like and don’t like.

Have you tried MESTRENGTH? What did you think?