For a runner, few things are more annoying than water bottle carriers that flop around when you’re on the go. GoLite has addressed the issue with its No Bounce bottle packs, available in six models. (Three of the packs include one bottle, and three include two bottles.) We tested both the HydroSwift and the HydroSprint models.
The HydroSwift comes with two 21-ounce bottles, and during several trail runs we found that the pack was impressively stable. It conforms well to the waist as well as the lumbar region, and there is no noticeable shifting, flopping or movement of any sort with the bottles. The keys to the stability are cinch straps on the sides of each water bottle sleeve. As you tug on the nylon cinch straps, you pull taut small cords that wrap around the bottle sleeves. Basically, this allows you to bring the bottles closer to your body and restrict their movement without having to over-tighten the main waist belt.
There is only on flaw in the system. We found that when the cords closed down tightly on the bottle sleeves, it was harder to extract the bottles. By loosening the cinch straps, we were able to retrieve the bottles more easily, but then the pack did not sit so securely until we once again tightened up the straps. As so often happens with gear, there is a tradeoff, and you’ll sacrifice some convenience for a pack that rides exceptionally well.
One very convenient aspect of the HydroSwift is its storage capacity. The waist belt has two flared pockets that easily held our keys and gel packs. Plus, the pockets have elastic material allowing you to pack in more than you’d think. The long, corded zipper pull tabs were easy to grasp, and a thumb tab at one end of the zipper allowed us to close the compartments without much fidgeting. There is also a V-shaped pocket between the bottle sleeves, and it proved large enough to hold a wind shirt.
The HydroSwift also felt pretty comfortable. The parts of the waist belt that ride on the hips and the portion that sits against the lumbar area are lined with soft mesh that covers thin padding. The mesh is designed to be breathable, though some of our testers found that it still got pretty moist from sweating. However, the mesh did dry quickly as advertised.
The team also tested another No Bounce bottle pack, the smaller HydroSprint, which carries one 21-ounce bottle and has a small holster for a gel flask. As promised, it too was indeed no-bounce and was considered comfortable by both our female and male tester. The waist belt managed to adjust to small and large needs, and the control system on the water bottle holster allowed for infinite control. Testers particularly liked the placement of the front mesh pockets for those extra goodies – gels, ID, keys, doggie snacks, etc – that you sometimes need to carry, and we appreciated that the pockets didn’t add unnecessary extra bulk. Although our testers aren’t fans of gel flasks, we found that the small holster nestled next to the bottle holster was ideal for a small emergency jacket or our dog’s water bowl. We like this pack enough also to make it one of our go-to’s at SNEWS® headquarters.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: HydroSwift $55; HydroSprint $40