“ Brand: Argos / Type: Hydration Pack „
A year ago the thought of exercise left me feeling rather faint and a five minute jog around the block would have had me gasping for breath. However things have changed and although I'm not exactly what you'd call a gym addict just yet I have started going religiously twice a week as well as participating in other sporting activities as well. Back in the summer my friend suggested we go on a long walk and, if we were feeling rather brave, intersperse the walking with jogging. At the time it seemed like a great idea but as the day got nearer I began to dread it, the thought of having to jog for a whole day, even if it was broken up with walking and the prospect of a pub lunch, did scare me! My dad offered to give me his brand new hydration pack and I readily accepted, never quite realising what I was letting myself in for...
The idea of a hydration pack to me implies something small that you carry with you and which contains water or some other hydrating liquid. I was quite accurate with my guessing but I hadn't imagined the actual size of the hydration pack or the fact I'd have to wear it! The Pro Action 1.5 Litre Hydration Pack can only be described as a sort of bullet proof vest, only I'm guessing it would let the bullets through. It's basically a thin vest which covers your back area and has straps that go over your arms and rest on your shoulders so you wear it a bit like a ruck sack of sorts. The back area is what actually contains the water and when it is filled up it resembles some sort of life jacket in a sense. When it's empty it weighs very little but once filled it can contain 1.5 litres of water and expands to 21 by 10.5 by 44cm so it's quite large.
The actual hydration pack is black and red in colour with a mesh padded back. The sternum straps are black and they can be adjusted so as to fit comfortably. It's made of polyester and the material that houses the water is made from something called TPU. The actual water bladder part as it's described on the packaging (the idea of strapping a bladder to my back did initially worry me) can be detached although I can't see why you'd choose to wear the vest just for the fun of it without it actually serving its purpose! It also has two additional pockets on it which can be used to store other items if you wish, I always opt for a chocolate bar as you never know when you're going to get peckish. To access the water there is a water tube which feeds directly from the water bladder to your mouth which is easy to pull out of the vest.
The day came when I was to embark on my marathon walking / jogging adventure in the summer and I rather reluctantly filled up my water bladder which was easy enough to do using a small zip opening and then a bottle type opening. The water went in easily enough and the bottle opening was large enough to even get some ice into which I thought was rather good forward thinking on my behalf. I managed to fill it up without spilling it and carefully screwed the bottle lid back on and then closed the waterproof zip opening. I lifted up the vest and found that it was obviously heavier with the water in it but it wasn't as heavy as I was expecting. I managed to get the vest on and the shoulder straps adjusted rather easily and I was pleased to notice that there was no leaking water and no spillages of any sort dripping down my back.
I set off on my walk and noticed that the vest felt quite comfortable and despite the straps being quite thin they didn't rub my shoulders or dig into my skin at all. Once I got used to the gentle slushing of water coming from behind me I failed to notice I was even wearing my bullet proof vest as my friend continuously referred to it after she'd finished wetting herself with laughter. After about half an hour I was keen to try out the water tube which was easy to pull out and open from the shoulder strap, I sucked the water up like you would through a straw and found that it was deliciously cold still. After about an hour and a half the ice had all melted and the water had adjusted more to the temperature of the air at which point I managed to refill it from a cafe that we stopped in for a small snack (I saved my chocolate bar at this point).
The Pro Action 1.5 Litre Hydration Pack / bullet proof vest with a space for water / baby carrier without the baby harness (delete as you feel best matches the photo) was purchased from Argos back in the summer for £10.99. When my dad first told me I did think the price sounded quite reasonable when compared with the product's name, however upon seeing it I'd say it's a fair price to pay that isn't overly cheap or overly expensive. I've since seen them on the internet and on Ebay for as little as £8.99 so you can get hold of one if you want to for under a tenner which shouldn't break the bank... or your back when you put it on! In terms of upkeep I couldn't foresee any actual costs, as long as you remember to pour out any unused water so it doesn't go stale I can't see why you'd need to buy any replacement parts at all.
I've since actually used this hydration pack on a number of occasions and, despite it working well and meaning you don't have to carry a water bottle when you're running or walking, I can't say I'm a convert despite it still being in my cupboard, I think I've adopted it! Arguably it does mean you don't have to carry a water bottle or take some sort of bag with you for your keys or phone when you're out exercising, but the whole idea of wearing a bullet proof style vest makes me feel a bit odd... almost like I should have a baby strapped to my back! When it's full the water does add a little extra weight to you although the empty hydration pack itself is very light as it weighs just over half a kilogram. I think I'm going to stick to carrying my bottle of water if I'm honest, it's just not worth all the odd looks I got when wearing it!
Thanks for reading.