Gear Review: Nathan Sports X Trainer Mutation

I was first introduced to Nathan Sports’ Hydration Packs in Glenwood Springs, Colo. I was browsing a gear store in the downtown area and happened to see the X Trainer Mutation Pack hanging near some jackets. Like a stray dog, I had to bring it home with me. So, I took it off the rack (noticing it was the only one left) and tried it on. I was sold!

At first, I was a bit apprehensive thinking the X Trainer was a fanny pack.  I hate fanny packs: They’re goofy looking and I certainly don’t like the social status that follows wearing one.  However, the X Trainer isn’t a tote for your wallet, keys, cell phone and prescription medicine – it’s a hydration pack for short running excursions. 

Although Nathan manufactures winter hydration packs (something I plan to review later), the X Trainer is perfect for the summer and cooler seasons.  It’s lightweight and comfortable to wear during a leisurely run.  The pack’s ultra-light Tech Mesh provides a nice exterior and can hold items in place with ease. 

The limited-stretch mesh elasticized waistbelt gives the X Trainer a snug fit for waists 26 inches to 42 inches.  The Shock Cord one-pull tension lock is perfect to temporarily store a jacket, gloves, a hat or whatever else needs to be removed and stored while running. 

One feature that I was immediately attracted to was the X Trainer’s water bottle storage area.  While running, I could easily move the 22 oz. water bottle in and out of the insulated holster, right or left.

The water bottle is an average size too – nothing slimed down or awkward.  The bottle’s cap has a clip for use on other packs.  I took the bottle with me and attached it to my pack on a mountain hike – very convenient.  The spout of the bottle’s cap is a soft rubber, which helps when running.  Nothing is more frustrating then drinking from a water bottle that has a hard plastic spout.  

The bonus 5 oz. water bottle (known as a Nutrition Flask) further complemented the X Trainer.  The Flask is easy to use and perfect as a backup for an extra running boost. 

The X Trainer’s 20 oz. water bottle sits at the base of your back, horizontally.  The 5 oz. bottle sits on your right hip, horizontally, stored in a mesh sack with a bungee Shock Cord.

I review a lot of gear and I’m generally pretty choosy about what I test.  Nathan’s X Trainer was a welcome change from the norm.  I can’t wait to review Nathan’s winter lineup! 

For more information on Nathan Sports gear, visit  To purchase the X Trainer Mutation on, click here.