REVIEW: Hydrapak E-Lite Vest

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Product: Hydrapak E-Lite Vest

Cost: $59.99 USD

For the past couple of months I’ve had the opportunity to try out this great little feather-weight hydration pack from Hydrapak.  Up until this time I’ve been a hydration pack virgin, always opting for either my fuel belt or a handheld water bottle, I had yet to tread into hydration vest territory, but I’m glad I finally did!

photo (19)So let’s get down to the specs. This minimal pack weighs in at a mere 9.9 ounces, it’s made out of breathable 5-1 nylon mesh, texever stretch, and stretch mesh, features include 6 front pockets (2 zipper and 4 pouches), an adjustable harness, 1 liter reversible reservoir with plug-n-play connector with a magnetic clip and surge-bite valve.

There are many things that I really like about this vest, as mentioned before, it’s extremely light-weight, which all of us runners love.  I barely even notice I’m wearing it when I have it on.  The mesh back panel which sits between your body and the reservoir allows enough breathability so I never felt like I was overheating or getting hot and sweaty because of the pack.  The water bladder is a good size for mid-long distance runs, and is super easy to clean, post-run all it takes is a quick rinse out and then I flip it inside out to dry.

Bite surge valve works like a charm!
Bite surge valve works like a charm!

If you aren’t requiring to pack along extras like a jacket, headlamp, larger nutrition packets, etc… the storage space provided on this vest is more than adequate.  The two zipper pockets are made of stretchable fabric, creating much more storage than it appears to have.  They are great for zipping in your keys, ID and other important treasures.  The four pouch-like pockets work fantastic for carting around your gels, salt tabs, and other nutrition.  My iPhone fit snug in both of the pocket options, perfect for packing it around so I can take plenty of selfies! 😛

As much as I really love this hydration vest, it wasn’t all rainbows and puppies, so let’s get down to me being nitpicky!  The first thing that I had an issue with was size, you know the saying “size doesn’t matter” but in this case it does. 😉  Now I realize that I’m a petite girl, with a fairly small frame, but every time I run with this vest I have the nagging sensation that it’s going to slide off of my shoulders and fall off.

Action shot of the magnetic clip not working.
Action shot of the magnetic clip not working. The tube should be held in a u-shape to the vest with the help of the magnet clip.

I KNOW that this isn’t going to happen because I’m clipped and cinched in as tight as every adjustable buckle will go, but it still doesn’t take away from that feeling that the straps and upper area of the pack are just too wide for me.  I think an easy fix to this would be for them to offer up size options like some other brands do, perhaps a s/m and a l/xl option to help accommodate those of us who are not a generic medium size.  My next issue was with the elastic holsters above the pouch-like pockets.  After only 2 months of gentle use, they are very stretched out and losing their elasticity, for me, if you’re paying $50.00 for a pack, this shouldn’t happen after this little use.  Lastly, and probably my biggest gripe is the magnetic clip on the tubing that holds the tube to the front of the vest.  I loathe this thing!  photo (17)I get the concept behind it, but the magnet just isn’t strong enough to actually hold the tube and keep it stuck to the vest and I’ve been running hard downhill and had it come undone and whip me in the face.  Not fun and very dangerous.

Overall, I really like this pack and would recommend it to someone looking for a lightweight, fairly minimal pack.  I’ll definitely continue to use it primarily on my mid-distance trail runs as it really fits the bill for that.  Have you guys run with a hydration pack before?  If so, which one are you running with?


  • light weight
  • great storage
  • reasonable price


  • the not-so-magnetic magnet
  • size
  • stretched out elastic holster

PRICE: 3.5/5
LOOKS: 4/5

TOTAL: 14.5/20

xoxo, MLL

This hydration pack was provided by Hydrapak for review.

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Hydrapak E-Lite Vest

  1. I also own this….the latest addition to my hydration repertoire!! I have only had it for about 6 wks so used maybe a half dozen or so times. I feel like I’ve tried them all: Nathan 8 oz x 4 bottle belt, Amphipod belt w/single 16ish oz bottle that sits on small of back, hand held Amphipod…..really, tried just about every configuration!!! I have really come to prefer this for the long run. I am an average-framed gal, so no problems whatsoever with shoulder straps slippage. However, I share your loathing of the not-so-magnetic clip. 😦 I now really use the clip as a secondary method to keep it from bouncing and have started pushing the tube down under the chest strap (kinda between the girls!!) and that works much better!!! Love the zipper pockets, while the little elastic ones are quasi-useless. I just make sure I don’t put anything in there I’m not ok with losing (extra Nuun tablet or two). All in all, I really LOVE it over the waist belts and hand held. Can’t STAND the binding and bouncing in the waist and love having my hands free.


  2. After reading your review, I think I will opt for the other hydration vest I was looking at, maybe you will like it too…The Camelbak Skeeter or Mini-Mule. They are built for kids but are perfect for petite women like us who don’t have the broad shoulders. They also hold an extra 20 oz compared to the E-lite. The only thing I was still stuck on the E-lite for was the pockets at the front of the vest. But overall it seems like it’s worth the trade to have a nice storage compartment in the back. Thanks for your helpful insight!


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