Picture yourself out for a long hard snowshoe run or hike, working up a sweat, then trying to take a drink out of your water bottle, but nothing comes out. Drat! It’s frozen solid again. This has continually been a source of frustration for the avid snowshoer.
Nathan has long been recognized as a company that makes great hydration systems. If you go to any ultra marathon, chances are very good that you will probably see Nathan systems well represented. So, if any company is going to come up with a solution to winter hydration, Nathan is probably the one.
With this in mind, I was excited to take the Nathan Storm waist pack out for a snowshoe run on the first cold day of winter.
The Storm features a one litre water bottle that fits horizontally in the waist pack of the holder. The water bottle is shaped kind of like a banana, so is contoured to fit securely and comfortably around your back. The thinsulate padding of the waist pack not only prevents the water bottle from freezing, but also provides extra padding for comfort.
The only part of the water bottle that is actually exposed to the elements is the lid, which has a different design than that of other Nathan bottles. Initially, I was concerned that I would not be able to open the flip off cap while wearing heavy gloves, however I was surprised at the ease it opened when squeezing the sides of the cap and pulling slightly.
Two small compartments are located on the front of the waistband and an additional compartment in the back provides plenty of room for food, extra gear and accessories. The exterior shock cord can be used to easily stow away your jacket if you become overheated.
The coldest day that I have been able to test the Nathan Storm in so far was during a two hour snowshoe run at -20C and was pleased to be able to drink freely the entire time.
The only improvement that I could see being made to the design of the Storm, would be if it was possible to pull the bottle out of the pack each time you wanted to take a drink instead of having to remove the entire waist pack. However, if the only way to prevent my water from freezing is to keep the bottle intact and fully insulated, then I am okay with that and have quickly gotten used to it.
Having tried a number of winter hydration systems in the past, I would have to say that the Nathan Storm is the most comfortable and reliable model I have yet to come across.