Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest Review

Nathan-HPL-020-Vest-1The Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest offers broader hydration solutions that some of its other models. Nathan makes running vests that sit anywhere on the spectrum between ultra-light stripped-down “minimalist” models and fully loaded hydration vests with lots of extra storage space. We think this top of the line iconic vest is better than its predecessors, as it features much lighter weight fabrication and an easy to adjust mechanism that is both non-intrusive yet present when you need it to be.

Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest Product Description

Nathan’s line of hydration vests are always seen at high-level endurance events. With their clever design, very lightweight composition and versatility, Nathan has continued to convince numerous professional athletes to invest in their athletic running gear. The Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest is no exception, and we’re going to take a closer look at this running vest to see if it’s right for you.


  • Comfort and Fit

This vest has 3 adjustable straps; one sternum strap and 2 front shoulder straps. It does not allow for a complete adjustment, but it’s flexible enough to achieve a comfortable fit, which we found rather easy considering the light weight of this race pack. Also, the sternum strap is equipped with tube clip, although at most times, we didn’t find much use for it. But someone certainly will!

With a dry weight hovering around the 10 oz range, it will be tough to find a hydration vest that is lighter weight, and as a result, offers more comfort. The next thing you will notice about his vest is how loose the pack is fitted, which is done intentionally. It uses what Nathan calls the 3-way propulsion harness. Essentially, this means that the pack can slightly move in an ‘up and down’ rhythm with your body’s running movements, which reduces the bladder’s lateral movement. Of course, however, when the hydration bladder is full of water, you will be able to feel a little bit of bouncing, but it won’t feel excessive; you just need to make sure that you’ve squeezed all the air out of the bladder in order to avoid having water slosh around. Nathan-HPL-020-Vest-4

  • Storage

The Nathan HPL 020 Vest has 2 front pockets; 1 holstered and 1 zipped; along with 2 rear zipped pockets. There’s also a shock cord on the back side of the vest for the storage of jacks and any other loose articles. It is a minimalist pack that is meant to reduce weight during long runs, but at 276 cubic inches of storage, you’ll be able to take everything you need with you on your run.

This vest has a total of 6L of storage capacity, including the 2L hydration bladder. This could be both a good or bad feature depending on your preferences. If you are looking for a very small, ‘minimalist’ pack with very limited storage capacity, then this isn’t the hydration pack for you. But if you’re in search of a mid-size pack with a good amount of storage space that can carry most of your water and be able to give you the fuel you need for long runs, this is a great vest to consider. Despite its impressive storage capacity, it’s still relatively lightweight.

  • Hydration

All of Nathan’s vests utilize a similar type of hydration bladder as well as a patented bite valve that’s highly functional and known for its durability, easily maintenance, and cleaning. The Nathan HPL 020 Vest comes with a 2L hydration bladder, which has a 70 oz capacity, and also comes with the ‘pull and bite’ drinking nozzle, which is a feature we particularly liked on this vest.

  • Leak Prevention

This might seem like a very basic requirement for any hydration pack, but since leaking is so common in other racing vests and hydration backpacks, the leak prevention feature of Nathan HPL 020 Vest is really worth mentioning.Nathan-HPL-020-Vest

  • Inexpensive

This pack has been on the market for a couple of years now, and it will be difficult to find a cheaper vest at this caliber. We think that makes this vest a great choice for first-timers because it’s inexpensive, well-designed, and extremely durable.


· Good adjustment features
· Breathable and lightweight material
· Has a shock cord and additional storage in its back compartment
· Easy maintenance and cleaning
· Sturdy water bladder system


· Limited front compartment space
· Although we personally didn’t experience this, we heard a couple of friends mention that the back pocket raises the center of the gravity.


Without a doubt, the Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest can be your ultimate trail and a running hydration vest. At 50 miles or beyond, it remains as comfortable and lightweight as it was on your one-mile run. Its three-way propulsion harness minimizes the bounce and its quality construction reduces the chafing. This helps prevent damaging the technical apparel. With this vest, carrying water and supplies for many hours has never felt so easy.