Gear Review by MPF Athlete Iliana Dimitrova.
There are three types of trail runners, or so I thought, (1) hydration vests, (2) water bottles, (3) hydration belts, that was until I tried the Nathan Elite 2V Plus. I always considered myself a hydration vest trail runner; so you can imagine my skepticism when I was offered the opportunity to "test" drive the new Nathan Elite 2V Plus as part of our mountainpeakfitness.com trail running team. At a sunny weekend morning during a trail run at Harriman State Park and then a 7mile hike at Bear Mountain State Park, I used the Nathan Elite 2V Plus for over 6 hours. My initial reaction was that I'll be all chaffed from it, as chafing is unavoidable for me regardless the hydration system (vest or in this case belt). I was pleasantly surprised about the Nathan Elite 2V Plus performance and the airmesh moisture-wicking backing which prevented any chafing.
First let's start with the tech specs. The Nathan Elite 2V Plus has a fully adjustable waist belt. In the past, I used a race belt during a road marathon and have attempted to train with hydration belts before but was never successful due to the belt riding up my waist line and also having a felling of tightness around my tummy. This was not the case with Nathan, I was pleased that I never experienced neither of the two (a riding up belt or suffocating feeling) during the 6h + hours I used it.
During the past two summers, I've noticed that my water / hydration consummation had decreased significantly on the trail. While, in the past I was able to run for 2h+ hours carrying without water, now on the trail I needed 1L of water per hour. That meant, running only with two 22oz bottles for over 3h+ will be challenging. The Nathan Elite 2V Plus has two 22 oz. (650 mL) Hydration Bottles with QuickClip. By having a limited supply of water, I was able to re-evaluate my actual hydration need, and was pleased to find out that I will not die from having only 1.3L of water for 3h+. The fact that the bottles had a quick clip is a a great design as it will allow me to use the bottles as stand alone and be able to attach them to a vest. The Nathan Elite 2V Plus is designed with dual angled, insulated holsters with XTS cradles, this allowed for a very easy access in and out of the cradles, which was another concern that I had - ease of use to take the bottles out and put them back in while on the run without stopping. Nathan has done an amazing design job with the proper positioning of the cradles.
One knows to always carry a light wind / rain jacket in the mountains, as weather is unpredictable. The Nathan Elite 2V Plus has a large, dimensional pocket with zipper closure where my jacket fits perfectly. This pocket is great for any other essential trail running needs - a long sleeve shirt or a headlamp / flash light or pair of gloves / hat. The pocket is perfectly situated at the middle of the belt and having zipper closure comes very handy during training or racing
Imagine having two more additional pockets. Yes, the folks at Nathan added to the Nathan Elite 2V Plus twin removable Power Stretch Mesh front pockets with zipper closures. I decided to experiment so during the first portion of the run at Harriman, I used the pockets to carry my nutrition; and at the second portion at Bear Mountain, I decided to remove them and to use the large back pocket for that.
The Nathan Elite 2V Plus has numerous cleverly designed features, that I actually didn't notice. One was the Shock Cord with one-pull tension lock for jacket or gloves and a waterproof I.D. / medical emergency card holder. I noticed this when I got home and examined the belt closely. However, I'm optimistic that I will be utilizing this feature on my next trail adventures with mountainpeakfitness.com
The Nathan Elite 2V Plus has reflective detail which is perfect for night running or racing. It weights only 16.8 oz, that explains why it's Karl Meltzer's preferred race hydration system. Now, it has become my favorite one, too.