Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ultimate Direction Wasp & Wink Hydration Pack Review

Ultimate Direction Wasp & Wink Hydration Pack Review
FYI - do not forget to enter my 70.3 Ironman giveaway to win a $25 Gift Card to TriVillage.  See my post here
For those of you who know me, I am the type of person who researches the heck out of an item before I buy it.  I believe you get what you pay for.  I like to buy once and love the item I buy.  I do not want to go back out and find a replacement because I purchased a PO and when I find an item I love I like to share it with my followers.   
This leads me to my new favorite running item.  The Ultimate Direction Wasp hydration pack.  This is my new security blanket.  I LOVE this hydration pack. 
I spent over a month researching the best hydration packs for running and basically only two names reigned supreme (the Nathan HPL 020 and the Ultimate Direction Wasp & Wink) Both are great packs but the Nathan is made more strictly for street running and has very little (if any) storage space for longer trail runs.  Many people also do not like Nathan’s bite value.  The Nathan is made more for city slickers.  The Wasp is made for runners who like to get dirty. :-)  But the Wasp is still great for City Slicker runners.  Unlike most hydration packs, all three packs are made with runner's specifications in mind. These are runnering packs more than they are hiking packs (although the Wasp and Wink would work for light hiking).
I live and run in Florida where temperatures in the high 90s are fairly normal so I need to keep hydrated.    I also need a pack that is does not make me hotter (temperature not looks – nothing in the world will me look hotter :-) ) and still stay comfortable.  I thought running with a hydration back would be a bear but after several runs with the Wasp I LOVE it.  I do not even notice it is there.  It stays cool.  The straps were comfortable.  The pack rode high on the back so it did not hinder my run or my back.  The back ventilation kept it cool to use.  There two mesh pockets in the front are great for storing GUs, bars, iphones, etc.  They are also really easy to get stuff in and out of.

Her X-mas presant (I love the Xmas lobster jammies)

Bonnie needed a hydration pack for her 50K trail run (see this post) so for Christmas I bought her the Ultimate Direction Wink.  The Wink is the female version of the Wasp.  They are basically identical.  She was a little skeptical of the pack at first but after her 50K run, she now LOVES her pack.  She even suggested I do I review of the packs.  The volunteer filling the water bladders kept asking us the name of our packs because they like them so much.  They said they were the easiest and fastest bladders to fill all day.  They also like that fact that it had some storage.
I will not bore you with all the details of the Wasp because other bloggers have already gone through this trouble.  Below are many great reviews of the Wasp (and the Nathan 020).  They go into the pack in vast detail and will give you all the specifics.  Let me just tell you I LOVE mine and HIGHLY recommend it.
You will probably need to purchase these packs online.  It is hard to fine either the Nathan HPL 020 or Ultimate Direction Wasp/Wink in a brick and mortar store but it is fairly easy online.

FYI - do not forget to enter my 70.3 Ironman giveaway to win a $25 Gift Card to TriVillage.  See my post here
Dont just take my word for it see other people reviews
Review of the Nathan HPL 020


  1. I've got a generic hydration pack I picked up for recreational hiking and have ended up using it for some longer runs just to test it out and if I was to get another one - one specifically for running - the issue I would focus on is the strap location in relation to my neck.

    I agree that it's great to have a high riding backpack because it's less likely to slosh around, but between the top of the backpack and the top of the two shoulder straps, I get a wicked brush burn on my neck. How does the Wasp/Wink hold up on that aspect?

  2. @Kurt - Neither Bonnie nor I have had any issues with the shoulder straps and "brush burns". After adjusting the straps correctly you will forget you have the pack on your back.

    The Wasp, Wink and HPL are all made specifically for runners. The Wasp and Wink have more storage than the HPL making it a little more versatile.


  3. Bought the Narhan about two weeks ago. Love the fit (I am short so fit is often a big problem for me) and the bladder. But after all of three uses one of the straps completely ripped off. Sort of a POS.

  4. I love my hydration pack! I actually did a review of the Nathan Intensity It is super comfortable and it has front pockets, which is definitely key on a long run!

  5. I need one of these because I am not coordinated enough to manage water bottles AND pedal at the same time.