Nathan VaporHowe 12L Race Vest

Nathan VaporHowe 12L Race Vest specs:

Weight (including bladder) = 12oz.

Storage capacity = 12L

Bladder capacity = 1.8L


Lots of pockets comprise the main back pocket to compartmentalize gear: multiple clothing layers, plenty of food, 1.8L top-fill bladder (included) and/or 2 soft water flasks (not included), phone, headlamp, water treatment, spare batteries, etc. Essentially, it’s a minimalist’s day pack.

Equal sized front pockets for load symmetry

Zippered front pocket (with safety whistle) for secure and easy-access phone storage

Back stash pocket that can be accessed on either side without taking pack off


Elastic straps for secure trekking pole storage

Lightweight, stretchy woven material that fits snug but has a little bit of give and seamless construction for anti-chafing

Integrated adjustable straps for customized fit

Magnetic hose clip for secure but easily accessible hose storage

Not a lot of straps/hooks/pulleys/etc for long hair to get caught in

Sits high on back and has an hour-glass shaped bladder: both for anti-bounce

Reflective taping for visibility

There’s the info. So what’s my opinion? In love. This pack has become my go to for long runs, trail runs, and day hikes. There were many prototypes of this pack during its inception. Each version was tested by a trail ultrarunner who was a part of the design process from the beginning. She said what she wanted, and each time she modified what didn’t work until it was perfect. She’s small chested like me, which is probably why the female design of the vest doesn’t have too much curve in the front, but one reviewer of the vest said it fit perfectly for her C-sized chest.

Another one of the many things I love about this vest is that my hair doesn’t get caught in it. I have very long hair, so even in a pony tail, it falls down my back. Therefore, with packs that have straps/clips/hooks/bungees/etc. on the back of the pack, my hair will get tangled up and then I will need to cut my hair out of it. I can avoid the entanglement by doing braided pigtails that lay in the front, but it’s easier and feels breezier for me to just have a pony tail. So I greatly appreciate that I can sport a pony tail with this pack without risking my hair getting tangled in it.

There is a men’s version available. I can’t speak for it from my own experience. But men I know that have it, love it.

I have never experienced chafing with this pack. And although I sweat A LOT and so this pack has been dripping with sweat on multiple occasions, I haven’t felt overheated on my back while wearing it and the smell hasn’t stuck on the fabric.

And as with any hydration vest, a bladder sleeve and tube sleeve is a good idea. Without the sleeves, I have had water freeze in the tube on especially cold days and have had to drink very warm water on especially hot days.

There’s a smaller version of this pack, VaporHowe 4L, which is on my Want List, that doesn’t have quite as much storage and so would be great for shorter trail runs and long/group runs around the city.

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