Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel
HydraQuiver Double Barrel OverviewOrange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel Review
If you are looking at alternatives to your current hydration delivery system or are a first-time buyer considering a backpack-style hydration system, Orange Mud’s HydraQuiver Double Barrel
may be something you should look at.
The HydraQuiver Double Barrel (HQDB) is the creation of inventor/entrepreneur Josh Sprague. Orange Mud
is based in Corona, California, USA and focuses on specialized endurance sports-related products.
Admittedly, the HQDB really couldn’t be considered conventional hiking or climbing gear; and while this review focuses on using the system primarily for running, the HQDB use is applicable to fast hiking and super-ultra light peak bagging (night-naked
running anyone?). The HQDB also might have a possible application for LSD road cycling or mountain biking. Needless to say, there's not really a good use here for dog-route alpine climbing. But whatever your focus, hopefully the following discussion will be useful and give you some ideas/data.
First, full disclosure: I’ve used "Camelbacks" for LSD running and randonée/brevet cycling for years with few problems. I don’t like handhelds
(apparently, handhelds require more energy expenditure than packs (cf: Jenny Jurek
), who knew
?). I don't like waist systems either so everything must go on the back for me. And while Camelbacks definitely have their place, the mountaineer in me is still inherently distrustful
of bladder systems (thrash approaches/bladder leaks/hose freeze ups, etc). Bottles are elegantly simple, cheap, durable, reliable and, for the most part, maintenance free; thus, my interest and investment in a bottle-back hydration system and this review.
Note: this review is based on a December 2013 version/design build. It appears that the HQDB is undergoing continual small design tweaks and changes. So some of the features discussed here may be non-applicable in future releases. Point of clarity as well: CamelBak® refers to the actual products of CamelBak Products, LLC
. I use the word Camelbacks here generically to refer to all bladder-back hydration systems including CamelBak's. Also, I bought my HQDB (not full pop though - got in on sale on the Web), so I'm not endorsed in any way by Orange Mud.
• Medical grade neoprene stretch web on pocket closure.
• Dual interior zippered cargo, accessible on the fly.
• 7 inch #5 nylon coil zipper with black YKK slider (Slider has a sewn-on 2 inch nylon pull tab)
• 1 main storage pocket in body of pack (1 smaller secondary pocket inside of main pocket).
• Quality Velcro main/secondary pocket separator
• 1 small storage pocket on each shoulder pad (2 total)
• Quality buckles (ITW Nexus
brand), elastic cord and cord lock
• Small body footprint on carrier's back
• Adjustable quiver bottom, Velcro seat straps for various height/width of bottles and personal preference
• Reflective logo in between the bottle holders.
• 1" thick Aegis® antimicrobial
• Silky smooth webbing for comfort and a solid fit.
• Canted bottles for easy reach.
• Small hanging/storage loop in center shoulder area
• Lifetime Warranty
HydraQuiver Double Barrel Features on Youtube
• Max 52 oz (1.5L) bottle capacity (26oz +26oz =52 oz) June 2014 Update: It looks like you can carry a third bottle utilizing the elastic cord located between the two bottle quivers. Check out the image of this method care of UltraRunnerJoe.
This kicks the max bottle capacity up to 78 oz/2.3L. A further note, the three bottle system works fine. The elastic shock cord is strong enough to securely hold the third bottle. Party on...
• Rough body measurement: 10 in wide x 9.5 in tall (25.4cm x 24cm)
• Barrel funnel diameters: opening: 3.5 inches max, bottom: 2.5 inches (8.9cm x 6.4cm respectively)
• Quiver barrel length: 4.13 in (10.5cm)
• Quiver barrel slope angle: 8 or 9 degrees (eyeball estimate -I'm too lazy right now to actually calculate it)
• Elastic cord is 18 inches length total (not stretched) and 1/8 inch diameter
• Small pocket dimensions 6 inch mouth, 4.5 inch deep reach (15.2cm, 11.4cm)
pack alone 12 oz.
w/ 1 bottle 15 oz.
w/ 2 bottles 1 lb 2 oz.
Ounces Filled w/ H2O
w/ 1 bottle 2 lbs 7.5 oz.
w/ 2 bottles 4 lbs 3 oz.
pack alone 340g
w/ 1 bottle 425g
w/ 2 bottles 510g
Grams Filled w/ H2O
w/ 1 bottle 1.2 kilo
w/ 2 bottles 1.9 kilo
Please note that I am a 6'2" and 200 lb guy with muscular shoulders, upper back and chest. My upper body anatomy may not be the "typical" anatomy of a smaller, lighter runner. So some of the access/fit observations might not apply to your particular circumstance.
Pack Bounce While Running:
It's wasn't there. I looked for it and anticipated it, but I couldn't find it. I think the absence of pack bounce is due to the small footprint and the shoulder strap/harness design.
Compact Storage/Travel Size:
When folded along the crease between the two back pads, the HQDB with bottles has a rough volume of 10in x 9in x 6in (length, width, depth) or 540 cubic inches (8,849 cc). Note, the actual volume is probably a bit smaller. This makes for a convenient storage volume for your messenger bag, running duffle
kit or ultra drop bag
. Ditto for those oh so metro
and vainglorious triathlete packs
(ok, that was a cheap shot).
Quality sewing is found throughout the HQDB. The thread appears to be heavier weight (think durable), synthetic and of excellent quality. All exposed seams are taped and sewn over. Body material appears a high-quality, durable ripstop nylon-type material.
Main Pocket Capacity:
Here's what I tested to get a sense of the reasonable max capacity on the pocket.
One Pearl Izumi Zephrr cycling jacket
Four gel flasks and keys, and phone
Also, an internal clip or D ring attachment would be nice inside the pocket to secure keys or lanyard. March 2014 update: it looks like a key ring has been added to the internal pocket.
August 2014 Update: Pocket/Lash Area Access While Running/Racing.
I've noticed that it's hard to access the back zipper pocket while running. That is, you will probably need to stop running to easily access the back pocket/or items held by the elastic cord lash down. It is possible to keep running while you take the system off, but you will probably need to slow down as it's fairly awkward to to it in motion. There are several ways to put the HQDB system on and off, I've found that the best method is the one that is shown in this Youtube video
at time 1:49.
Shoulder pockets are made of stretchy material. Tested pocket capacity can hold 1 Hammer gel-sized flask
(snug). The gel flasks made by Ultimate Direction
fit a little better. Pocket can hold a stuffed max of five 1.1 oz Gu Energy gel
packets (3 gel packs is a more reasonable fit)
A note on shoulder pocket access while running: basically, it takes one hand to pull items out, but it really takes two hands to return the item(s) to the pocket (one to hold open the elastic opening, another to push the items in).
I’m a little concerned about the long-term durability of both the stretchy pocket material and the neoprene pocket cover; ditto for the neoprene use with Velcro and material aging. It seems durable enough, but life’s adventures do tend to throw curveballs at our gear huh? We’ll see how that evolves.
Another quick thought: if you like to use gel flasks on runs on a regular basis, you know the flask mouthpiece can get a little messy. Some of that gel mess
will inevitably end up on and inside this stretchy pocket material. So you may need to think about sponge cleaning the material at your discretion/tolerance.
Of special note to the Smokers & Drunken Summits
™ athletes, Boozefighter
runners and Hash House Harrier
types out there: the shoulder pockets won’t hold the conventional cigarette pack or hip flask. These must go in the larger, zippered back pocket. Obviously, the Vape Rig
will fit nicely in the front pockets though. Rage, rage against the dying of the light..
The shoulder strap webbing has a Velcro-secured, wrap-around webbing sleeve that can be removed. I believe the purpose of these included sleeves was for anti-friction to prevent shoulder chaffing? I was a first a little concerned that the sleeves would slide down on the straps during the long run. This appears not to be a problem as the sleeves tend to stay in place. Speaking of which, removing the sleeves for the short run is certainly an option, but my gut feeling is that they should remain on the straps for those long runs. In any event, what I’ve found helpful for strap chaffing for the long runs is prophylactic use of Bodyglide or alternative
on the shoulder strap areas regardless of backpack hydration system used.
August 2014 Update
: Speaking of chafing, I've noticed that when I wear a sleeveless shirt that my armpits are a bit more prone to chafing on longer runs. That is, wearing conventional t-shirt seems to work best with the HQDB harness system. If you do longer runs primarily in muscle shirts, singlets, sports bras or shirtless, this might be something to keep in mind.
Curiously, the HQDB did not come with a chest strap. Me thinks that the addition of a small chest strap would add just a little more refinement or fine tuning relative to how it carries on the wearer. Perhaps the chest strap might be made removable
for the anti-chest strap crowd (you know who you are). Note that the current shoulder strap system on the HQDB hugs the armpit area just a little more unconventionally than a standard Camelback system. That is, a Camelback system has longer straps and longer/lower lash points on the wearer's side/rib cage/lateral-aspect intercostal area than the HQDB. Put another way, the chest straps wrap in front a little wider than the conventional camelback. The straps pass right along and very close to the beginning of the anterior deltoid and tuck under the armpit a bit more as well.The fit of the HQDB takes a little getting used to, but it isn't unpleasant.
Lash Down Area Capacity:
Josh at Orange Mud writes: “a lash down area in between the bottle holders where elastic cord and a cord lock will be to hold down your jackets and such. There will be an optional modular pocket coming out soon that will clip in there too.”
I tested a couple of lightweight windbreakers in the lash down area (Patagonia Houdini and Pearl Izumi Zephrr jackets) and both could be lashed cleanly, tightly and securely with the elastic cord.
Another thought: a third, smaller water bottle might possibly be mounted in lash down area. Currently there are a total of six durable mounting loops that can secure the elastic cord. These mounting loops could be used to lash a water bottle holder, so that a third bottle could be carried. My suspicion is that the bottle would need to be smaller than the standard 24/26 oz bottle; say something like Specialized’s 21 oz. Little Big Mouth bottle
. Perhaps the folks in the Skunk Works at Orange Mud could create an optional modular water bottle sleeve/barrel for that third bottle in addition to the upcoming modular pocket?
(update June 2014)
After a couple of months of usage the reflective Orange Mud decal has begun to de-laminate. If reflection visibility is important to you, night/crepuscular/vespertine runners would probably be better served by adding some reflective tape
to the pack.
Bottle Access (aka, Reach and Return):
[Note: I've been running with the taller 26 oz bottles exclusively. If you plan on using the smaller, shorter water bottles (e.g. ~21 oz size) your reach back access might be compromised. This is especially true you tend to be less flexible in your arms and upper body. Just a thought.]
One hand can retrieve and return the bottle to the quiver on the same side as that hand without issue. That is, after a couple of practice tries, bottle reach and return becomes pretty much intuitive. I think this is key point to make about a bottle-back system because when you are in deep in the distance (26.2m+) the mental acuity can become diminished and the last thing you want to worry about is refocusing your attention just to re-secure your bottle.
To further the bottle reach discussion, it is difficult for me to reach back and retrieve a bottle from the opposite
side of the quiver. For example, right hand reaching back to grab bottle in left quiver. But, with a little practice it is possible to get the hang of putting a bottle back
into the quiver on the opposite side. That is, right hand returns the bottle to left quiver. Just how many angels can dance on the head of pin? Geez, this review is sure splitting hairs. Doesn't this guy have anything better to do with his time? He must be some kinda engineer. Nah, on second thought he can't be. Seems more like a marketing guy.
But ah..I digress...
Also, strangely the most efficient way for the bottles to be used is for them to sit upside down in the quivers. This way, when you reach back and grab a bottle, the bottle is perfectly positioned in your hand for ease of drinking. If the bottles are seated right side up, after you have reached back and retrieved the bottle, you need to pivot the bottle between your thumb and middle fingers to position the bottle for conventional drinking. It's a small and perhaps very minor point, but worth noting. To summarize the tradeoff: Store bottle upside down and you need to remember to fully close the bottle mouthpiece after each use or you lose water. Store right side up and you need to pivot the bottle in hand for effective access to the mouthpiece. Again a minor trade off and point, but each little task that requires that increasing scarce mental focus adds up when you are deep into the long runs.
August 2014 Update
: Racing Steeps and Reach and Return
. I've noticed that if you are ascending or descending technical steeps and you don't want to slow down, it's pretty hard to access or return the bottles and keep the same fast pace. What does this mean? If you racing into a steep, technical section and you have the bottle in your hand, you may have to wait for easier terrain to slow down so as to return the bottle to quiver. If this is a longer section you may be holding the bottle for some time. Oppositely, if you are already in the steep section and want to access the bottle, you will have to slow down to get at the bottle. If you find yourself racing steep trails (up and down) exclusively, you may be better served by handhelds or a camel back-style hose system for that particular event.
I will admit I was a little concerned about how well the bottles held in the quivers given the twists, turns, ducks, vicissitudes and unanticipated movements that trail running can throw at you. That being said, the standard Specialized water bottles hold in place remarkably well
. The slopping funnel design of the quivers makes for enough friction to hold bottles in place but at the same time does not compromise easy bottle entry/exit.
FWIW, I also tested the HQDB standing still and trashing around with unconventional running movements (including leaning over far forward) and the fully-filled bottles held. For the peak bagging application though, I'm not sure about how well the bottles would secure during an epic thrash approach however.
Water sloshing noise seems a little louder than a conventional bladder system, but I soon forgot about it. Granted, I'm easily distracted while running (one of the few benefits of Monkey Mind
I suppose). Oddly, the water slosh sound seemed to lessen with both bottles half filled while on the run.
Alternative/Unconventional Bottle Use:
Let's quickly revisit the Barrel funnel diameters listed in the Key Measurements section above: opening: 3.5 inches max, bottom: 2.5 inches
I think these measurements will dictate the type of bottles that will work well with the quivers.
FWIW, I tested the Camelbak Eddy .75L water bottle
and it can fit in the sleeves ok, but it gets a little tight down at the bottom-end of the barrel sleeve. That is, it tends to seat and ride a little higher in the barrel than optimum. And forget about the ubiquitous and much loved Nalgene Wide Mouth 32 oz. water bottle
. ¿Qué puedo decir? It's just not prudent at this juncture.
After-market Gel flask/shoulder pocket/MP3 player mounts:
I like my fuel super handy (hey, water, fuel and distance
..the simple things in life right?) So I have a gel flask mounted to the shoulder strap on my other running rigs. I use the Ultimate Direction Gel Flask Clip On
Currently the shoulder straps on the HQDB don’t have any easily accessible cross webbing to mount something like the gel flask clip. There is a an elastic cross strap that is present on the straps, but it is located so tightly between the strap buckle and pocket flap that it really is unusable for a flash clip purpose. Admittedly, the use of a gel flask clip with the HQDB is a moot point anyway, because the built-in shoulder pockets can carry the flask instead. If you are looking for larger front area/shoulder pocket space on a running rig, you may be better served by the increasing number of ultra running vest rigs out there on the market. Oh! Speaking of running vests, check out Orange Mud's new Vest Pack
. And, check out UltraRunnerJoe's review
of the Hydraquiver Vest Pack.
Bottle-Back System vs. Bladder-Back System: Pros/Cons
HydraQuiver Double Barrel bottle-back system compared to bladder-back hydration system (aka. camelbacks)
Please note, comparison of Bottle-Bladder hybrids
is a whole other and different discussion.
• Bottles more durable than bladders
• Bottles better allow for electrolyte mixes, chia seeds and fueling pastes/soups (dual bottle system allows for one pure water/one drink mix for optimum choice)
• Bottles easier to clean than bladders (think drink mix residue)
• Bottles easier to share with running partners/pacers while running (vs. hose mouthpiece)
• Bottles faster to fill/switch out for racers and time fighters (yes, I’ve read the Tao of Pooh
• Bottle replacements much easier to obtain out in field during organized athletic events, road trips and remote international travel. You really gonna find that fancy replacement North Face bladder in the hardware store in Lovelock, Nevada? Struck out? Don't worry you can always drown your sorrows just up the road at Crazy Corners (a Hazzard County Boar's Nest
of the mind..and if you go, tell'em Jesus
• Bottles easier to work with for water filtration/purification systems (i.e., unsupported runs using iodine tablets, pre-cached water filters on your route, or LifeStraw
SSDL: suck, spit and drink later
• Empty bottles can be used for easier/additional storage when not used for liquids. That is, you can use one empty bottle to store energy bars
, electrolyte tubes, small first aid, etc. (vs. using a bladder)
• Bottles system is simpler in function than bladder system (read: fewer things to go wrong with it). Really the HQDB has only four critical "moving parts": 1. the back pocket zipper, 2. the shoulder strap buckle, 3&4. the water bottle cap thread and drink nozzle. FWIW, the zipper doesn't bear much (if any) load so it should be reliable for years. The Specialized water bottles have been 100% reliable for me in all types of adventures. To further the point about simplicity: you ever fill your bladder, put it back in the pack, only to find that the hose has somehow been pinched/kinked so you can't draw water? Now you gotta repack the bladder..
Or how about this one? You ever been hours deep into the Rat Feed
and you go to draw water from the hose and no luck? You're out of water right? Well, unbeknownst to you somehow the hose mouthpiece lock was flipped on but you're too run drunk
to notice. So you keep running down the yellow brick road with water in bladder thinking..Gee..I'd sure like a drink right now..A new meaning to liquid stupid
• Bottle replacement cost much cheaper than proprietary bladders
• If important to you: OM HQDB Made in USA
• The HQDB may have a smaller liquid storage capacity than larger capacity bladder systems. That is, the HQDB has a max 52 oz (1.5L) bottle capacity (26oz +26oz =52 oz) when used with the conventional Specialized water bottle. Update: with a third, smaller bottle, capacity is up to 78 oz/2.3L.
A larger bladder system may hold more than 52 oz.
• Water bottles lack the convenience of a bladder mouthpiece. What does this mean? It usually is much easier when using a bladder hose-based mouth piece to hydrate on climbs/uphills/fast downhills. That is, with a hose-based mouthpiece you can hands-free “bite breath” (hold the hose nipple in one’s mouth with one’s teeth) without greatly disrupting your breath cycle. You can balance heavy breath intake and sips/water draws while still maintaining max speed/balance/focus and complete unobstructed views. Recall, when you lift that bottle to draw liquid you inherently block your view (even when you're drinking out of the side of your mouth). This can be important for passing/racing on critical, technical sections when time, hydration and mental focus collide and are of the essence. Still unclear? Go fast run a steep, rocky, technical section of singletrack whilst thirsty. With water bottle in hand, take a drink of the bottle while maintaining same speed
. Keep doing this while running up the section and observe how your mind and body reacts.
OM HQDB vs. other bottle-back systems
Currently the closest similar systems to the Orange Mud HQDB that I am aware of are two products by Ultraspire
(a subsidiary of Elite Creators
based out of St. George, Utah, USA).
Ultraspire Ribos Race Vest
Ultraspire Kenetic Race Vest
While I have not used either Ultraspire system, I have seen the Ribos first hand. It looked interesting. At my last long dirt run I spoke with a French ultra runner about the Ultraspire Ribos he was using. He said that he really liked the Ribos system. When I mentioned my skepticism about the bottle reach-back access, he said that it wasn’t a problem for him. He did mention that he needed to slightly adjust his running arm stride a little wider so as not to hit the bottles. Hmm.. I’m still a bit cautious because the system requires proprietary water bottles. That is, it appears that the Ribos requires bottles that have the finger loops for the easiest reach-back access The ubiquitous Specialized® 24/26 oz water bottle
might not work very well as a substitute with the Ribos/Kinetic models. June 2014 update: the Utraspire web page now says: "Comes standard with 2 Human 26 oz bottles but will hold any standard bike bottle."
[My question: Yes, the Ultraspire systems may hold
conventional water bottles, but will they easily work
with conventional water bottles?] As a side note, if you ever want a life-time supply of these Specialized-type water bottles, volunteer or stop by the bike aid stations at your nearest big 140.6 triathlon event. Participants intentionally
throw these bottles to the road by the hundreds. !!?? Go figure.
French ultraguy also liked the waist belt on the Ribos whereas I was a bit skeptical about it (friction /weight/clutter). Note: the Ribos requires the proprietary Ultraspire MBS belt to function properly. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask him the ultimate gear-design/tech weeny question: Anything about it you don’t like?
Pricing Analysis/Acuity and Comparison (aka Bang for Your Buck):
I'll leave this to you and William Stanley Jevons
HQDB Use for Hot-Weather Long-Distance Cycling: some thoughts
Brief thoughts about using the HQDB for hot weather, long distance bicycling:
I’ve used conventional camelbacks with success on hot, steep climbing rides (for example absurd, relentless, face-slapping demotivators like the The Killing Fields
on SRCC’s Terrible Two
, Dissolute, damned and despairful, crippled and palsied and slain
, ughh..Escape! Escape!). But after awhile, the weight of a fully loaded camelback can begin to add to or induce lower back soreness after hours and hours on the bike.
that the benefit over the standard camelback is that the weight of the HQDB sits higher on the back so it doesn’t put as much weight directly on the lower back (as well as having a smaller footprint). That is the upper back muscles are more able to distribute the weight load on and down the entire back easier than a camelback that must do this closer to the lower back. Also the downward gravity pressure handled by the back is easier because the upper body where the weight is carried is more directly supported by the arms on the handlebars. Think of the HQDB weight as more closer to the end of the supportive angle on a triangle. hmm...
All this discussion about using the HQDB on an LSD ride is a moot point for me though. Here's why: I loaded the thing with full bottles and leaned far forward to simulate my position over the bars. The shoulder straps immediately tightened up and I realized that I couldn't hold this position over the long haul without it affecting my comfort and breathing. Note: your body may be different, so it might work for you on the bike.
Also note, for the hot steeps where on-the-fly hydration is critical, one might be better served by a camelback (note the bite-breathing technique mentioned above). Ditto for mountain bikers.
On the other hand, for the road cyclist who needs additional water bottles, he or she might be best
served by just adding additional water bottle cages. For example, one might install a seat post-mounted double water bottle cage like something that Profile Design®
Another thought FWIW, lately it seems more and more bicyclists are joining the boycott against Specialized®. The company has been accused of "harassing" the smaller bicycle gear companies (aka, the little guys
) with cease-and-desist legal threats (e.g. Volagi Cycles
and others). What does this mean? If you are looking for alternatives to the Specialized water bottles consider the following companies. Note that I don’t think that these bottles are as good quality as the Specialized ones. Ditto for the Purist
version of their water bottle (a GREAT
bottle IMO). And at this writing obtaining a larger capacity may be problematic, but at least there are other choices.
Trek Water Bottles
Elite Water Bottles
Tacx Water Bottles
Camelbak sport/bike bottles
Running Fahrvergnügen, Final Thoughts, Takeaways, etc.
1. The HydraQuiver Double Barrel is
ready for prime time. Game On
2. I like it a lot.
I don’t love it (yet), but I’m keeping an open mind.
3. I believe I’m going to get years of good use out of the HQDB. Nice.
4. I rate it 4.2 out of 5 stars.
I have to rate it 4 stars for Summitpost due to rounding. (Sep 2014 Update
: Ok, it appears the relationship is getting serious. This pack is now my go-to hydration pack. I'm kicking up the rating to 4.4
5. The 4.2 rating is due to these features on the HQDB:
• lack of small, lightweight (yet effective) chest strap
• lack of adequate/useful lash point anchor on the shoulder strap for add-on gel flask/pockets
• pocket mouth design makes for slightly awkward item return to pockets and long-term durability of pocket material in question
Remember, this is just one crazy Andinisto's opinion. Check out other peeps' thoughts here:
Ultrarunner Joe's Review
Bicolano Penguin's Review
And So It Goes blog review
AH ROC Review
Certified Buyer reviews at Orangemud.com
Orange Mud HydraQuiver Double Barrel on Amazon
Anyways, I’ve hoped this rambling on has been beneficial in some way (wat dat? No help you say?, hmmm.. maybe these guys
can assist). Additions, comments and corrections are invited. Good luck out there on your next adventure. Stay hydrated and be well
p.s. Lotsa good Running Fahrvergnügen
¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!