Nathan Vapor Air Hydration Vest Review

Erik Johnson

Erik moved to Colorado in 2007 to ski. Fast forward to 2017, Erik is still an avid skier, but loves to trail run and mountain bike as well. Over the past several years he's grown an affinity for winter trail running Erik is based out of Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two boys. His 3 year old Sven is quickly taking to skiing and he couldn't be more proud.

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17 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    How did you like the top shoulder adjustment only on this pack? Did you adjust more as the bladder depleted? I was wondering why Nathan didn’t include the waist adjustment as seen on the wrap and cloud on this model.

  2. Jason says:

    Also, yous may be the onky existing review out there on this model. Can you comment on the vest up to date? Do you still feel the same way as you did in December?

  3. Erik Johnson says:

    Hi Jason – Like you, I was worried about not having a waist adjustment. However, the Air still comes with two chest adjustments that you can tighten and slide vertically to get your desired fit. From a design standpoint, I think they eliminated the clip to shed some weight. From a functionality standpoint, I don’t think you need it. The two clips on the chest provide enough adjustment to prevent the pack from sloshing around on your back.

    As I depleted the bladder I did not tighten the shoulder straps because I was not getting any “back slap”. Luckily, they are easily accessible so you can adjust them on the run if need be.

    So far I do not have any complaints. Visually some of the clips and some of the straps seem dainty. However, I have not seen any durability issues to date. Coming for the HPL #020 this pack was a huge improvement. The features are well thought out and the fit is outstanding. At 9.3oz its amazing what features they fit into this bag.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.


  4. Kenny says:

    Thanks for the review Erik. In your view is the smart phone compatible pocket capable of accommodating an iPhone 6?

  5. Erik Johnson says:

    Hi Kenny – sorry for the delayed response. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 with a small case and my phone fit in the media pocket on the shoulder strap and the pocket on the waist band. The material is stretchy so an iPhone 6 should fit if you don’t have a case on the phone. With a case it might not fit. I use my phone for GPS tracking and found it difficult to take the phone in/out of the pocket while on the run. I needed to stop running, take the phone out, check it, put it back in and then continue running.

    Hope this helps!

  6. Jason says:

    I found that the phone fits best in the pocket up front made for a water bottle since I tend to take it out to look throughout the run.

    Update- I bought both the air and cloud and ended up with the air. In the end it’s just so light and you barely notice it while the cloud felt more substantial (better long term?) and slightly more noticeable.

    I do wish they kept the waist straps on the air. I find myself pulling the straps down from riding up. When running withe the cloud I just cinched the waist straps and it didn’t budge. Both have little to no bounce.

  7. gil says:

    does this vest fit 20oz. bottles up front?

  8. Erik Johnson says:

    Hi Gil – I just went and checked. It does fit 20oz bottles on the front pockets. Since I use the bladder, I cannot comment on the performance/comfort during runs.

  9. gil says:

    can you post a pic of the bottle in the vest? if possible.
    appreciate the info. thanks.

  10. Erik Johnson says:

    Hi Gil – the comment field does not allow me to insert pictures. However, I posted a public picture to my G+ account. Even though I didn’t run with the water bottle in the vest, it felt bulky and I feel like it would be difficult to take in and out of the pocket while on the run.

  11. GIL says:

    nice! thanks for the awesome info!!

  12. Sal says:

    Hi Erik,
    I have heard alot of hydration packs especially with the ones with the pockets on the side do cause chaffing. Have you had any chaffing, rubbing, or discomfort as you move your arms with the side pockets? I am considering the vapor air, but, just doing some final research.
    Thanks Erik.

  13. Erik Johnson says:

    Hi Sal – The Vapor Air is the second Nathan vest I’ve owned. I’ve had the Vapor Air since last fall and have not experienced any chaffing whatsoever. As long as you have the vest dialed in and are wearing a wool or poly tech tee you will be good to go. Pull the trigger and get yourself a Nathan!

  14. Eric says:

    Hi Erik,

    Great review. So you removed the mouth piece and cut the hose with scissors? Any problem with the mouth piece fitting in the hose snug after you did this? I just purchased the VaporAir and agree, the hose is too long.

  15. Erik Johnson says:

    Hi Eric – Yes, I removed the mouth piece and cut the hose with a sharp pair of scissors to get a clean cut. If anything the mouth piece is too snug after you cut it. You will need to use a lot of force to get it back in. But, once you get the mouth piece in, you won’t have any issues. Lesson learned, make sure you measure your desired hose length with the bladder full. I almost made the mistake of cutting the hose too short because I did not take into account the hose length I would lose when the bladder was full. Good luck!

  16. Yadd says:

    Hi Eric- Just wan to ask is the sternum strap is stretchable? I had problem fitting in with my previous pack which the sternum strap is non stretch material. 🙂

  17. Mark Ranum says:

    Nice review Erik! I have been using the vest for the last two months and completely agree with your assessment of it. The length on my hydration hose was too long as well…but like you say, it is a simple cut and adjustment to make it the perfect length. I would rather have too much than not enough….thank you Nathan Products! I will agree with you on the noise part of this thing… is silent…but that is all in who is filling it and how they do it…Remember Kids……air bubbles equals noise and sloshing..removing those on any hydration pack will almost make it silent! I know you mentioned it in your review…but the storage and placement of the pockets on this vest are so on point it is ridiculous….lots of room and the perfect employment…Well done Nathan!

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