Nathan VaporAir ReviewSeptember 4, 2015
- Well thought out storage pockets
- Built in whistle
- Easy access bladder
- Very light
Nathan ditched a ton of weight—Nathan says 50 percent—over the Vapor Air's brother the VaporCloud, without hacking away on features or durability. It is the most expensive pack in the review. The pack boasts an impressive amount of storage, well thought out features, and it carries really comfortably thanks to being exceptionally light.
Coming in as the lightest of the test, with an overall weight of only nine ounces, our testers noted how comfortable the VaporAir felt. Four different sizes made getting a snug, comfortable fit easy. Designed with two wishbone chest straps to hold the pack snug across the chest while additional straps cinched to pull the pack snug against the back and to keep it riding high. Soft, breathable fabric and attention to seam placement prevented testers from chafing or irritation areas.
STABILITY IN MOTION
The Vapor Air’s load lifting straps help pull the load in tight to the back and higher than some vests. The center of gravity sat closer to the shoulders than the waist, where it felt more stable. Combined with the other fit points the whole pack felt more like clothing than a piece of gear. The water sloshed, but with a few tugs of the various fit straps we could usually compress the pack enough to cut it to a minimum.
The two-liter bladder slides into a dedicated pocket for easy access and refills. And it turns inside out for easy cleaning. The really long hose was easily fixed with a pair of scissors. When not in use a magnet holds the hose out of the way.
Nathan says there’s five liters of storage beyond the bladder’s 2 liters of space, however it felt like a lot more. Pockets on the vest straps kept food and pills close at hand. They’ve even dedicated one pocket to trash—think, energy gel packs—lining it with plastic for easy cleaning. A waterproof pocket is ideal for pills. Other pockets hide all over this pack. Fully loaded or with mostly just water, it is easy to stay organized and find what you need on the move.
QUALITY OF CONSTRUCTION
Nathan’s attention to detail is evident throughout the pack. For instance, they lined all the perimeter areas with chaf-resistant elastic binding. Stitching looks solid and we didn’t see any sign of wear.
There’s enough capacity here for warm weather hiking. There’s even a hiking pole holster for carrying the sticks when you don’t need them. It fit a little snug for hunching over handlebars, but it could work for small framed individuals.