Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nathan HPL#20 Review

I can't say enough good things about the HPL#20 pack from Nathan Sports -- the pack I used every day on the AT.  It was somewhat of a last minute purchase before starting the Trail and I planned to use it as a secondary or even tertiary pack behind my normal 2-bottle waist pack and my enhanced Proton pack.  I'm not sure why I had not tried this pack earlier, but once I put it on Day1 I felt no need to use any other. 

Key features that make it a great pack:
  1. Very stable ride -- even with a full load of 70 oz.
  2. Tons of room up front for food and etc. and space in the back for extras (ie. headlamp, emergency bivy, and other miscellaneos things).  I carried enough calories in the pack for numerous 30+ mile sections.
  3. The shock cord is great to put a water bottle to fill-up out of streams/springs or for a rain jacket.
  4. The eating factor.  I've had stomach issues in races that I've attributed to the constriction of my stomach area from the waist belt.  I didn't have any stomach issues while running (albeit much slower than normal) with the pack. 
In New Hampshire the zipper to the section for the bladder broke.  We tried several means of repair, but ended up suffering along with safety-pins over the last 300+ miles.  When I got home, I called Nathan about the pack to inquire if this would be covered under their warranty.  They said to send it to them and they'd check it out . . . well yesterday I got a brand spankin' new pack from them.  How's that for customer service?

I just thought I'd share my thoughts on a good piece of gear for those of you out there that might be in the market for a new pack or hydration system.  (This is unsolicited and I have received no products other than the warrantied pack from Nathan.)  There is a reason the majority of the folks you see running ultras are wearing this very pack!  I just ordered myself the HPL#008 from for races.


  1. My favorite and pack of choice. I am in total agreement.

  2. Welcome to the HPL20 fan club!! I got the first prototype of the Intensity (women's version) back in 2007 and it has held up beautifully. I use a Camelbak bladder as it is more reliable than the Nathan bladder, but I wouldn't change anything else. Well, your model has the bungee cords and I covet those, but in general my HPL20 rocks. Still wondering why folks are still using any other pack!!

  3. I love mine, too. I got the new turquoise color but sort of wish I got the lime green pack.(I know, the color effects the packs usability.) :)

    But feature-wise, about the only thing are some little waterproof pill pockets higher up on the front straps.