Gear Review: AMIHAN Crosswind Hydration Vest

Backgrounder:

Crosswind Hydration Vest/Backpack:

  • Lightweight, minimalist vest-style backpack
  • Two large pockets at the left and right front strap, capable of carrying 500ml bottles
  • Can carry a 1.5 Liter hydration bladder at the back
  • Made of light materials for a comfortable stable ride
  • A slight upgrade from its best-selling 1st hydration vest, the Fast-Track
  • Weight: 274 Grams
  • Local brand, Made in the Philippines

The AMIHAN Crosswind

Finally, i’ll be able to give my old, tried and tested Ultraspire Surge Hydration Vest a well-deserved rest after serving me almost 4 years of trail running that survived all kinds of abuse including submersion in river crossings, heat, rain, mud and other harsh trail conditions.

Ever since, i’ve been on a look-out for another hydration vest that would complement my Ultraspire and i’ve been seeing a lot of this local AMIHAN vest which looked good, lightweight and durable. Since early this year, the AMIHAN vest, particularly the “Fast Track” model has been a constant fixture to all trail races i’ve attended, indistinguishable with the other vests trail runners were wearing like the Salomon S-Lab, Ultimate Direction, Nathan and Ultraspire.

Since the Fast Track, a new and slightly improved AMIHAN vest has now been released in the market and is called the “Crosswind”. The pack is again minimalist, which is designed to carry two, 20 oz water bottles up front. It can also be set up to place a 1.5 water bladder at the back although the bladder doesn’t come free with the unit itself.

FEATURES:

FRONT:

  • Stretch bottle holsters to carry two 20 oz bottles with tightening cords. (I use the other holster to place my pocket camera).
  • At the back of the holsters are zipped pouches to carry one 5.5 smartphone and the other you can use for stacking a 4.7 iphone. If you just carry one phone, the other pouch could be used to stack candy bars, keys, gels and other small essentials.
  • Two reflectorized loops on both sides of the vest to loop and secure your water hose outside or use it to tie-up a bandana, running cap or whistle.
  • Two adjustable fastening clips to secure the vest to the contours of your chest.

BACK:

  • The main compartment has a zippered opening at the upper right side to insert your 1.5 hydration bladder (reservoir) if you intend to use one. If a bladder won’t be used, it can contain an extra shirt or a light wind-proof jacket, additional trail foods, etc.
  • A bungee cord you can use to tie up your light-weight jacket, to loosen up to maximize capacity on the main compartment.
  • Another zippered opening located on the lower left of the main compartment to easily access small valuables at the bottom most part of the compartment.
  • The lower half-part of the compartment is stretchable for that extra capacity and compression.

FIT and PERFORMANCE:

Just one 14k trail run and i am totally convinced!

I was able to test run this gear yesterday during a 3-hour familiarization run of the Sierra Trails Adventure Race 12k route which is going to be held on October 16, 2016 to start and end at the Ten Cents to Heaven in Tanay. (Registration details here:  http://www.pinoytrails.com/pinoy-trails-sierra-trail-adventure-challenge/)

Before using it, i recommended that you loosen-up the lower side straps first, adjust and secure the thin straps on the upper chest side then adjust anew the lower side straps to tighten or loosen. This way, you will able to gauge its feel and adjust accordingly for the right fit.

Starting my run, i immediately felt the snugness of its fit, very stable and no wiggles nor bouncing whatsoever. Putting a 16 oz Salomon water bottle in the right pocket and my camera on the left holster with my iphone on the back of the right holster, the run went smoothly as if nothing was strap on my body. Even without a bladder at the back compartment, it was quite light, not hindering my movements.

I didn’t have to reach for anything at the back because everything i needed was conveniently secured on the front pockets (a gel, fitbar) and they were easily accessible even while running. And because of its airmesh it allowed plenty of air to move around your body, no feeling of stickiness on your back.

CONCLUSION:

The AMIHAN Crosswind race vest has a lot going for it: light, versatile, snug and it has everything you need, from adequate hydration, lots of storage and a very nifty look.

PROS:

  • Ultra light, very secured adjustments to your body.
  • No bouncing or wiggles whatever you put at the front or back.
  • Gives lots of storage! Have a 5.5-inch smartphone? No problem! You can put a small camera, light jacket and plenty of food in all its compartments.
  • The mesh seems to be built of high quality and its very breathable.

CONS:

  • The elastic tightening cord on the holsters seems to break up when over-pulled to fasten the lid of a water bottle. This happened to the vest of one of our runners. I suggest not pulling the cord anymore to fasten the noose of your bottle. Just tightening the pocket with the tightening button will do.
  • The bungee cord at the back seems to inhibit the zippered opening of the compartments. You will have to pull up the bungee cord a bit in order to pull down the zipper unhampered. A small hassle, but not a major one.

Still, the AMIHAN Crosswind is one excellent companion for your ultras, trail runs and mountain hikes. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed!

At P1,600.00, it’s a great bargain!

And the greatest PLUS to this all? This race vest only costs P1,600.00*, just a third of the price when you buy those international branded labels which are also all made in the Philippines!

Grab one now while supply lasts!

*Bladder/Reservoir and water bottles not included

 

Advertisements