Product Review: Nathan VaporKrar Waistbelt

Tim Mosbacher is a staple in the Missoula running community. He is currently trying to run a marathon in every state and has experience with a variety of running products. As a RErun Ambassador we asked him to test out the Nathan VaporKrar Waistbelt and share his thoughts. You can follow more of Tim’s adventures here.

One of the many reasons I like Run Wild Missoula training classes is that there are usually aid stations involved. Without aid provided, packs are a necessary evil. I hate carrying water and gels.  So when the classes end, I, like many people, create my routes based on where I can stop and get water.  So many loops will involve the River Front Trail due to the drinking fountains. Once they shut off in the fall, I am even more challenged. The Nathan VaporKrar WaistPak is going to change that.

I have owned a number of Nathan products in the past (two vests, water bottles, water belt, hipster belt). I hated carrying water bottles in my hand while running roads (I prefer it on the trails), and the water belts in the past had too much movement for me, even with the tiny bottles. Vests are the same as bottles: they work well on trails, but are uncomfortable when running on pavement. The VaporKrar has none of these inconveniences.

The VaporKrar is a combination Nathan Hipster with a water belt, albeit composed with a different material. It has a zippered front pocket large enough to carry a cell phone, two velcroed side pockets to carry gels, and a velcroed back pocket with a compression system that is made for an 18oz soft water flask or a light jacket. 

I love how the VaporKrar feels while I run. That is, I do not feel it even with 18oz of water. The compression system, which is made to tighten on both ends of the pocket, makes the pocket not move at all. The literature says that it provides a “bounce-free ride, even at Rob Krar’s speed.” Well I never ran at Rob Krar’s downhill speed, but I’m pretty sure I did some miles faster than what he can run up a 20% grade, and I can attest it was bounce-free!

The 18oz soft flask is designed to be used with the Exodraw Handle, which I have not tried. But I have heard from other trail runners that carrying soft flasks on long runs is a lot nicer than carrying hard bottles. Combined with the Waistpak, this seems like a great feature.

I have worn the VaporKrar on most of my runs the last month. It just doesn’t bounce on me, so even on shorter 10 mile runs I have worn it just in case I get thirsty. The one negative complaint I have is one that people would have with any compression system. It is pretty easy to remove the bottle even with some compression applied with the straps. To get the bottle back in is a little more difficult, and I have found that is easier to release all of the compression, insert the bottle, and then recompress. And all of that can pretty much happen only when you are stopped.

The pack has an elastic waist band. This makes it form fitting. I am not sure how long the elastic will last. It does tend to get twisted on removal. When it is empty it has a tendency to fold over (might just be my extra stomach muscles) but it is not noticeable while running.

I highly recommend the Nathan VaporKrar WaistPak. It is perfect for runs where you only need 18oz of water at a time. Stop into the Runner’s Edge and tell them Tim sent you.