Overview of the Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak:
The Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak is an innovative belt with a lot to love. Designed with input from the most well-known beard in ultrarunning Rob Krar, the VaporKrar Waistpak is comfortable, breathable, and adds just the right amount of extra carrying capacity you might look for in considering whether to wear a waistpak or not. With only a couple of suggested areas for improvement this belt is one of the two best waistpaks currently available.
- Weight: 2.1oz (59g) –without flask; 4.5oz (127g) – with empty 18oz soft flask
- Sizes: offered in three sizes to accommodate 23in (58cm) – 40in (101cm) waists
- One 18oz (355ml) Hydrapak-manufactured soft flask included (not the best threads but better than the issues with the VaporKrar pack)
- MSRP: $59.99
Presenting the Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak
Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to four areas:
- What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the product.
- What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the product better.
- How it compares: my current go-to waistbelt and how this product compares.
- Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase or not.
- Purchasing Information: where to go to purchase this product.
I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!
- Step through design. I’ve not had luck with any waistbelts that utilize a buckle or other types of non-step through designs. They always bounce if the compression doesn’t fully wrap around your waist. Thankfully, the VaporKrar is a step through design with the added benefit of having side cinch straps and silicone grippers on the inside of the belt. This design and material choices keeps bouncing to a bare minimum.
- Good use of the space. You get pockets all around the belt. The front pocket is a secure, zippered pocket that is big enough for a modern smartphone. Two stash pockets, one on each side, can hold plenty of gels or other smaller items. The rear pocket is pretty big and large enough for a 18oz soft flask or other sized items. Overall, there is very little wasted space on the belt – booyakasha!
Four pockets surround the Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak. The step-through design keeps bouncing to a minimum.
- Adjustability without bouncing. Normally I prefer packs and belts to be offered in plenty of sizes to limit the bounce and compress really well. Even though this waistpak is only offered in three sizes the side cinch straps do a good job of tightening things down depending on what you are wearing. This comes in handy when you only want to wear shorts in the summer underneath or need to layer up in winter with additional layers.
- I know, I say this a lot, but I really like streamlined products and the Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak is an example of a solid, streamlined design leading to a solid end product.
What could be improved?
- The soft flask. Unlike previous Nathan softflasks I didn’t have issues with this one leaking but rather just didn’t love the shape. It’s not as flat or wide as other soft flasks available and I think because of this it sits a little further away from the body when full. This causes just a bit more bounce compared to a wider, lower-profile soft flask like the UD Body Bottles.
You can use just about any 18oz or smaller soft flask with the belt if desired.
- The height of the rear soft flask pocket. If the rear soft flask pocket was just a bit taller it would make soft flasks quicker and easier to take out, drink, and replace while on the run I think. While it’s nice that it’s a really tight-fitting pocket for the soft flask it’s perhaps just a bit too small.
- Removal of the Velcro attachment points. Three of the four pockets use a tiny, little piece of Velcro as the attachment point to open and close. Either a wider strip of Velcro should be used or I’d love to see a magnetic or other type of closure system. I’m already seeing some loose threads on the Velcro and before long I’m anticipating needing to bust out a needle and thread. Plus, the rear soft flask pocket’s Velcro enclosure doesn’t always hold due to the height of that pocket and the tiny strip of Velcro used.
The Velcro attachment points, particularly on the rear soft flask pocket, are too small.
Similar waistbelts to compare with:
- Naked Running Band (review here): The Naked Running Band weighs the same, breathes as well or better, has a lot more capacity, and is more versatile as it includes both a jacket/ pole and race bib attachment points. It also costs $14 less. The only downside is that the current version of the Naked Running Band is less durable (but soon to be updated I’m told!). If you can overlook the durability issues, or wait for the updated version, I would opt for the Naked Band all day. If you don’t need as much capacity and want something available now that should last a few years or more (minus the Velcro attachment points) the VaporKrar Waistpak is a great option.
Should you purchase?
So, the $60 question – should you purchase the Nathan VaporKrar Waistpak?
In a word, probably. If you are in the market for a running hydration belt it’s one of the two best waistpaks available today.
Questions, comments, or feedback on this product? Please share!
If you’re interested in purchasing this product, please first check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.
If that’s not an option, please consider using this affiliate link for Amazon. The return policy is great, and it’ll drop a few nickels into URP bucket if you decide to keep it. Thank You!
And thanks for reading.