Water is the key to sustaining life, more so than food or shelter. Without water, we perish; staying hydrated fuels our cells and maintains optimum functioning as we navigate our way from task to task.
If you’re an avid long distance trail runner and log more than two hours a day on the trail, staying hydrated is imperative not only for maintaining and benefiting performance, but also for survival and safety. If you haven’t considered a running vest before, here’s why you should add one to your kit.
Carry extra weight without getting off-balance.
If you've ever been on the backend of a two-hour trail run and you're getting that shaky, jello-legs, can't-think-straight feeling, you've gone way too long without hydration and replenishment, the consequences of which can range from slightly uncomfortable to downright dangerous. For any serious long-distance runner out there, it's imperative to carry adequate hydration with you — one 16-ounce water bottle just isn't going to cut it. That's where a running hydration vest comes in: by carrying the weight of water on your core instead of in your hands, you can keep your digits free and carry more weight.
You can carry more than just water.
A running hydration vest can let you carry as much as a dozen liters of water, but not just that. Vests also include space for snacks, band-aids and energy supplements. Depending on how far you'll be running and for how long, you'll want to pick a running vest that can accommodate the amount of water and snacks you'll need to stay fueled.
Hydration vests make it easy to carry enough water, instead of just "some."
The amount of water you'll be carrying is highly individual and is based off height, weight, exertion, and how much water you lose through sweat. A general baseline for rehydrating is 1-2 liters of water per hour, plus energy supplements to replenish minerals lost through sweat and exertion. Another simple measurement comes from the U.S. News and Health Report: take half your body weight, and drink that in ounces of water. For example, if you're a 150-pound adult, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water (2.21 liters) minimum before you head out on your run; during the run, replenish with 1-2 liters per hour.