Adventure Racing 101: Gearing Up – The Salomon Skin S-Lab Hydration Vest

Emma & Nikki Noosa Run

Pic Sam Frysteen

In precisely 2 weeks (EEK!) Emma, Layne and I will be checking as Team Spirit for The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge. This is one adventure race not to be taken lightly, and the gear list itself is enough to challenge us. (Stay tuned for that one on Thursdays post as I share the insights from the course designers and their top tips).

As I write this, Em is out getting some kayak 101 experience with some local adventure racing experts and I’m waiting for a phone call from the local bike store to let us know our super surprise mountain bikes are ready for collection – can’t reveal too much on that now but we are pretty excited and Layne has already taken hers off-road last week.  Better late than never when it comes to getting to know your gear.

If you’re a mad runner or mountain biker and have been clocking up the miles then no doubt you’ve had to look into hydration systems to have with you for those longer sessions. I’ve had lots of different packs dating back over 20 years now from Scott & Dakine hydration packs when cycling, to Fuel Belt waist and hip systems for running.  The challenge for our adventure race was to find a hydration pack that could be worn for ALL activities (bike, kayak, run, abseil etc) and also hold key gear such as first aid, maps, spare clothing, food and liquids. It also needed to be lightweight, super comfortable, a joy to run in and fit like a glove!

Salomon SLab 12 Series

After weeks of searching and trying on different packs I came across the ferrari of hydration packs for endurance racing. The Salomon Skin S-Lab Series Hyrdation Vest. This vest is designed for:

  • BALANCE
  • FORM FIT
  • LONG DISTANCE RACING

Lucky for me I met another uber enthusiastic person to share their knowledge with me on selecting size and gearing up for the day  – San Francisco Running Company’s Jorge Maravilla. Here’s our exclusive interview together, in-store in Mill Valley, CA – for me this place demonstrated the heart of active living.

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My 8 top tips on finding the right hydration vest

1. Do your research – REALLY! Look around, ask around, figure out what your goals/needs are and search for the pack/system that best suits

2. Try different packs on  – run/jog and check your range of motion

3. Think about what items you need to have with you as essentials – if you need extra storage pockets for example, amount of hydration you will commonly need

4. Look for a system that allows interchangeable bladders and don’t forget if you have a 10L you don’t need to fill the bladder all the way to to the top on lighter runs/activities

5. Ask some experts  = people in your area that race regularly or already use this type of gear. They’ve most probably tried a variety of products and can share their knowledge to help you out

6. Join in some races, runs, bike rides and activities so you get to test your gear out!

7. Pack it full and run/bike/kayak with your pack to get used to the feeling and training with your gear is essential

8. Clean your bladders regularly and replace them every 6 months or so pending how often you use them. Air dry and avoid mould and mildew building up in between use

If you’re about to embark on an adventure race and would like some info, tips and feedback then drop me a line or tune in for the next blogs.

Also if you’d like to share an epic adventure as a guest blogger on adventure racing then send me your story and if it’s a good fit then I’d love to share and inspire with your successes too.

Special Thanks to Brett & Jorge of The San Francisco Running Co and my Mill Valley uber hosts Tom, Cyndi, Haydn and Sterling Fischer-Deveraux – love you guys!

As always get out there and create the life you want!

Health & Happiness  –

Nikki x

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