Hydrapak E-Lite Vest Review

July 21, 2012
Hydrapak E-Lite Vest

The Good

  • A no frills hydration vest for the runner who wants a minimalist approach for staying hydrated.

  • Lightweight
  • Ultra-minimalist -- no frills or unnecessary extras
  • Inexpensive

The Bad

  • Limited cargo capacity
  • Carries just 1 liter of water

More of a vest than an actual pack, the Hydrapack E-Lite does an adequate job of keeping runners hydrated although it may be a little too “minimalist” for some. Runners looking for the lightest, most unobtrusive hydration option available will probably fall in love with the E-Lite, but those looking for more capacity and versatility will want to look elsewhere.


When Hydrapak set out to design a hydration solution for runners they made a conscious choice to go the minimalist route. Their E-Lite vest is small and lightweight with a very short list of features that pretty much begins and ends with a few tiny pockets integrated into the shoulder straps. Two of those pockets are barely large enough to hold a cell phone and the others are smaller yet.

Minimalism To The Max
When you get right down to it, the E-Lite isn’t much more than a basic sling for carrying a hydration bladder. As you would expect, the E-Lite is built out of fabrics that are both non-abrasive and moisture wicking, but it is completely lacking in any type of padding on either the shoulder straps or back. Its simple, no-frills design seems to be razor focused on providing runners with a convenient and comfortable way to stay hydrated while on the move, and everything else is simply superfluous. While some runners will no doubt appreciate this bare-bones approach, I suspect the pack could be too minimalistic for many.

With a single strap across the chest and two more along the sides, adjusting the fit of the E-Lite is a simple matter. Once locked into place I found that the vest was surprisingly stable and didn’t hinder motion much at all. Better yet, the pack barely moved while running, although I did find myself routinely readjusting the chest strap, which managed to work its way loose on longer distance runs.


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