Gear Review: Nathan Intensity Race Vest

Nathan Intensity Race Vest
Nathan Intensity Race Vest

I just got this pack and took it out for a 12-miler and now I am wondering why I wasted so much time with hydration packs strapped around my waist. This was awesome.


First, the technical points from the company:

  • Built with women’s specific shoulder straps and torso length
  • Holds 2 liters of liquid
  • Dual front pockets, one zippered.
  • Two zippered rear pockets
  • Shock cord for jacket/gloves
  • Vertically adjustable sternum strap with a tube clip

My thoughts on it:

  • I loved how adjustable everything is, side straps to sternum strap… everything could be moved for optimal comfort.
  • Lightweight, so it was comfortable while I was wearing it and it didn’t bounce around at all.
  • The pockets on the front were easily accessible, so I could stash fuel there and it was easy to grab as needed.
  • I could keep my iPhone in one of the front pockets so I could listen to it without having to strap it onto my sweaty self, it felt protected at all times.
  • No bouncing. I felt more balanced and less encumbered than I ever have with belts.
  • It was pretty breathable. I was worried my back would get overly hot and sweaty, but it actually felt fine, even though I was running in 80 degree weather.

The only bad thing I have to say about this is the possibility of ending up hauling too much. While I was running I was seriously thinking: “During a race, I could carry my phone and some Action Wipes and money and ID and some toilet paper (just in case) and bar of some sorts for post-race fuel in case the race food sucked and…” Hell, I could probably convince myself I could carry a brick in there if I thought I needed it.

This is a really well made product. This is the first time I have ever used a backpack hydration system and found it a much easier way for me to get fluids in while keeping on the move. The bite-valve was a little weird for me to get used to at first, simply because I didn’t realize it had to be pulled forward a little to get the flow going, but once I figured that out I was all good.

Love this thing… LOVE IT!

Note: I got this through my own hard-earned dollars.


  1. isn’t it the best??!! I’ve been using mine a lot lately with really long, hot & humid runs. It does the job. Amazingly, it still felt comfortable after 3+ hours.

    • It’s nice to hear that it works for you in the humid runs too. I don’t have much humidity, but it’s nice to know it won’t get heavy with perspiration if I do run in that kind of weather!

  2. Nice review! I always think of people on the trails with Nathan vests on as really hard core runners. Something about that aesthetic has made it an automatic assumption.

    I have a camelbak that I run with, and the night before a long run I’ll put the whole thing in the fridge – it really helps to keep everything cool.

  3. Thanks for the review. I have a Nathan waistbelt with two botttles, but I’ve been thinking about getting something that holds more water. Have you ever used a Camelbak? I’m curious how this vest compares to a Camelbak. Is the main difference the wider straps and pockets in the front? Also, how easy is it to clean? Thanks!

    • I haven’t used a Camelbak, but the design of this one intrigued me with the front pockets and how it’s made to be balanced on a woman’s frame and for running. It was pretty easy to clean, just the tube flipped around a little crazy when I was trying to remove it… but once I figured out how the pieces fit together I was able to control it!

  4. I’ve always known a waist belt would NOT work for me, so I’ve never really bothered trying anything beyond a handheld bottle (and I HATE handhelds because I hate having to carry ANYTHING in my hands when running). This might be something I could deal with, though. Thanks for the review!

  5. Now you’re seeing why I have always loved my Camelbak, but yes, that can be a temptation – you want to start to carry so much more stuff in there than you could carry in a hydration belt. Glad to hear too that your back didn’t get too hot because that’s definitely a possibility with those!

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