There are many advantages to writing for a running blog, but one of my favorite things is getting to test products that are brand new to the running community, especially when they come from smaller companies. In my experience, it’s these smaller companies that put out the best efforts to design things the right way .. Practical, high quality, useful. The inventors of the world start out as consumers, and they are the ones who are driven enough to turn the “if only there was a product that did this” into a reality that the rest of us can reap the benefits of. Clearly Drankful is one of those companies, and their effort and innovation shines brightly.
Ryan Prinzing, a 7 time marathon finisher, made it his mission to find a better way to carry water for the long haul, and worked tirelessly over two years to develop Drankful.
“Prinzing worked tirelessly in his apartment between training runs and a day job to design a hydration pack that solved his needs: one that would feel smooth on any terrain, reduces the awkwardness and sloshiness of the reservoir, and actually feels good to wear. Bottom line, said Prinzing, “I wanted it to move with you, not against you.”
I’ve both worn and reviewed many hydration backpacks and vests over the years and am constantly looking for the best. I want something that’s lightweight but that can also hold my running essentials without hurting my back. I want something that won’t bounce, that can withstand the heat on a hot day, and that can hold either handheld bottles or a bladder. And selfishly, I want something that looks good as well as feels like an extension of my running form. Handful will cover all of these requirements.
The Drankful Stealth Hydration Pack is different than any other pack I’ve tried. It’s built different and positions itself on your body differently too, with a lower center of gravity and a very secure fit. It looks different too, simpler and sleeker, with a weatherproof and durable design.
The first thing I noticed about the Drankful vest is that the hydration bladder that comes with it is in a horizontal formation rather than a vertical placement like all the others I own. It looks smaller, but it still holds 1.5 liters, which is more than enough for me for most runs. Additionally, there’s a spot for the bladder in the bottom of the vest, on your low back, but I suppose you could potentially also wear it up high on the back of your shoulders like another vest. There are plenty of holes and pockets for either option. There are also pockets in the front for handheld bottles. These options afford a runner a lot of versatility. You can wear either the bottles or the bladder and have a lot of room for other things in the vest depending on which way you go. You could even carry two bladders, for an ultra run or for one with electrolyte and one with water. There are enough holes for hoses on BOTH sides AND both in the top and bottom of the vest, to make any of these configurations happen. Again, it’s really whatever floats your boat.
Let’s talk pockets and storage space because this is HUGE. There are two little pockets on the outside that are the perfect size for gels, blocks, or GU packets. There are also two nice and stretchy zippered pockets in the front that will keep your stuff from falling out, and they are right beneath not two but FOUR hole openings for hydration bottles or whatever else you need. All of the fabric for the pockets has enough give to hold my mondo-cell phone even in it’s huge Otterbox case and I think you could stuff all of them pretty full. There are lots of hidden features to make “grab and go” easy and efficient.
There’s ample room in the back of the vest, with two chambers, which makes up the “drawbridge.” This is a baffle divider that separates the reservoir from your lighter gear, creating two shelved spaces. The bottom section is zippered and the top half has an easy hook and button closure. This organizational setup will ensure that your pack contents will be well-distributed rather than sitting in one big heavy lump on your back like some vests. You can also keep your gear and your hydration separate this way.
The claim is that the reservoir sits away from your back like a pillow and takes pressure off your spine. This allows no room for fluids to slosh or move around like other hydration packs. I wasn’t sure if I believed this, as the sloshing around is my biggest complaint with most hydration packs. But I can attest that this claim is 100% accurate. I took the Stealth Hydration Pack on a quiet morning run with my friends and everyone forgot I had it on because it was completely silent even with a bladder full of water. Even better, I forgot it was on too which is amazing since I’ve been having a lot of lower back pain lately which makes me hesitant to carry much on a run. PROBLEM SOLVED!!
The design of this pack is super comfy, with soft, anti-chafe material, and though it’s snug to prevent bounce, it’s not stiff or hot. It’s made with sweat-wicking mesh that’s very breathable and takes the heat off your back in the hot, hot sun. It’s also got tabs in nooks and crannies that help make it more expandable. There’s even reflective piping along the back for early morning or late night visibility.
This pack is game-changer. I honestly didn’t have high expectations for yet another hydration vest, but when I received mine in the mail and saw the design in person, I got really excited to try it on. It’s truly a magical pack that will be used for many adventures in my future.
The Stealth Hydration Pack launches on Kickstarter TODAY – August 3rd 2021. In addition to the Hydration Pack, there will be a Mountain Bike Hydration Waist Pack and a Running Waist Pack available with the same reservoir that’s used in the Stealth pack.
Drankful will be giving a portion of each pack sold directly to a program that creates wells for villages that need access to clean drinking water. Your purchase will help ensure that more people will get the water that all people both desperately need and deserve. Check out the Kickstarter page, which goes live on August 3rd!! My advice is don’t wait! Get this pack as soon as you can!!
Products & Price:
- Stealth Hydration Pack ($169) Here’s a link to the Kickstarter page, going live on 8/3!
- Unique square-shaped 1.5 L Hydrapak bladder/reservoir
- Dividing baffle (drawbridge) with hook-and-loop closure
- Hidden expansion with 6 external attachment loops and 2 bungee cords hidden and tucked away when not in use
- Gusseted pockets lay flat when not in use
- Bluesign-approved highly durable water-repellent fabric with reflective seam piping for nighttime visibility
- Hydration tube tunnel system throughout the pack
- Wicking, breathable air-mesh back with added air vents (for breathability and comfort) is also anti-chafing
- Abundant but low-profile pockets include 8 in the front, 2 on the sides, and 3 in the back, as well as an interior sunglasses/gel pocket inside the top flap.
- Highly versatile for any activity
More about DRANKFUL:
Founded in 2019, Drankful is a new hydration pack company aiming to empower athletes by providing them with the smoothest way to move with their hydration, because every adventure deserves to be experienced comfortably. Launching its first products on Kickstarter August 2021, Drankful will continue to promote equal access to the outdoors while giving back to global water charities.
Drankful’s mission is “to bring power to athletes by providing them with the smoothest way to move with their hydration.” To this end, they’ve designed the sleekest, most low-profile, best-looking, sloshless carrying system ever made.
Thank you to Drankful for providing us with a sample pack. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.