Trail packs are a must have for anyone hitting a long distance ride promising any number of possible mishaps. Water, nutrition, cell phones, identification and repair tools are all necessities for any rider. Seasoned riders have their gear set to be as unnoticeable and lightweight as possible. There is certainly a noticeable trend in the pack market going towards a reduction in size and increased convenience. With less bulk, more efficiency and just enough water, the Sholdit Hydrosport Athletic Vest from Sholdit is a prime example of this movement.
The slightly elastic and extremely comfortable material of the Sholdit Hydrosport Athletic Vest is made up of 92% polyester and 8% spandex, providing for a breathable yet durable fit. Donning the Sholdit Hydrosport AthleticVest is simple enough as you slide your left arm through the vest and zip up the right side from the waist up. Compression of the vest provides the athletic fit I look for in any riding gear and ensures that sharp feeling on the trail. A double layer design houses a 1L Platypus hydration pack tucked into the back of the vest. The spigot attaches to the top of the hydration pack and wraps around the back up to the left shoulder.
The Platypus hydration pack spigot attaches to the pouch through a compression fitting on the top of the pouch and the mouthpiece is a bite to drink type. Filling up the pack is simple enough and its housing is a open slit in the back of the vest where the pouch slides in.
The Sholdit Hydrosport Athletic Vest was a comfortable alternative to wearing a typical hydration backpack while still providing the storage capacity needed on a bike. The compression of the vest bestowed confidence and the moisture wicking ability of 92% polyester is about as good as you can ask for in an athletic garment. With the zippered chest pocket I could carry all of my crucial items within arms reach, a significant improvement from having to whip my backpack around the front of my body and struggle with my snacks and phone.
The chest pocket actually had another pocket inside, large enough for snacks. The main pocket was plenty large enough for a cell phone, wallet and keys. Even my bike tool had room to come along for the ride. Bike tubes and levers were a no go but that was nothing a saddle pack couldn’t handle.
My only major complaint was the design of the Platypus hydration pack. Unlike the most popular designs where the tube delivering water runs from the bottom, allowing gravity to do what it does best, this tube attaches to the top. Therefore, it requires significant suction to generate flow and if the bag has any air in it, it can vacuum shut. Once I managed to vacuum the bladder, the vest had to be removed and the hydration pouch opened to vent. I should note that this was only a problem in the beginning before I realized what was causing the issue. Just be forewarned, once it vacuums, its tedious to fix. The other problem with the Platypus hydration pack is the mouthpiece. To open the valve I literally had to gnaw on that valve to get flow. Other designs I am familiar with are not quite so difficult to operate and even have flow restrictors to control how much water you can drink at a time. Hopefully, future designs will improve upon this design.
Once I had the hydration pack tuned, the Sholdit Hydrosport Athletic Vest was optimized and comfortable. Long bike rides with a backpack can make for sore spots in the shoulders and a sweaty back. With the Sholdit Hydrosport Athletic Vest I felt light on my feet and quick in the turns. My center of gravity was right where my body wanted it to be and not altered by the presence of a bulky bag. The breathable material was a must have in the summer heat and in the winter, it fits snugly over any cold gear you might have. The Sholdit Hydrosport Athletic Vest absolutely has a place on a bike and I foresee its presence strengthening as the industry moves to reduce pack weight.
The Sholdit Hydrosport Athletic Vest is currently on sale for a steal at $49.99. Most jerseys made from spandex and polyester cost that at least, not to mention the cost of a hydration bladder. My complaints became a whole lot less significant when viewing the product accordingly. In fact, if you can overlook a slightly tricky bladder, you have one of the best investments in packs on the market today.
Check out the sale at the website HERE.
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