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Nathan VaporShape Women’s Running Vest Review: Cool Hydration, Abundant Storage, and Cozy Comfort…but Strange Color

The Nathan VaporShape took me by surprise with its sleek profile and multitude of pockets and storage. It was everything I loved about my Nathan Intensity pack, only SO much more!


Here are some of the product details on this loaded-with-goodies hydration pack:

  • Designed specifically for women
  • Body mapped for ultimate fit
  • Adjustable 4-point strap system
  • Sliding front V-shape sternum strap and single rib cage strap to adjust fit and secure load; designed specifically to accommodate female body shape
  • Breathable mesh and rear 3D Cooling Channel for comfort; helps move moisture away from the skin
  • Ergo-Response System keeps water and gear close to the body for maximum no-bounce comfort
  • Front holster for optional 22-ounce bottle for additional hydration
  • 70 ounce (2L) slide-seal Hydrapack bladder
  • Magnetic clip for keeping tube in place
  • 360-degree reflectivity for running at night
  • 2 vertical and 2 side cinch straps of Bladder Control System to adjust fit on-the-run; helps maintain stability and prevent bouncing
  • Large rear top-load expandable mesh zipper pocket for holding lightweight apparel
  • Rear internal zipper pocket for sunglasses, headlamp, phone or other items (fits iPhone 4 and 5)
  • Front zipper pocket for nutrition or small accessories
  • Small front water-resistant Velcro pocket for electrolyte capsules
  • 2 side mesh pockets for gels or small essentials
  • Attached safety whistle on a bungee
  • 3 bungee trekking pole attachment points

The Vapor Series of packs come in a choice of sizes: Small/Medium or Lg/X-large. I loved that it starts out already close to the right fit, with plenty of straps to customize it exactly once you have it on. The VaporShape is also gender specific and made to fit a woman, but the dudes are not left out because there is also a pack for you, the VaporWrap.


Nathan VaporShape – For the girls.

The first thing I noticed about the VaporShape when I set out on my trial run was that it fits lower on the back than what I’m used to with my other packs. (Nathan Intensity and CamelBak Annadel) I liked the feeling, and the weight of the water seemed to be evenly dispersed on my back. I spent a few minutes adjusting a strap here or there as I ran along and within the first mile or so I already had a very comfortable fit and knew this was going to be a great hydration pack for me. I have had no chafing issues at all and the fit is more like a light hug across your torso, rather than hanging from your shoulders and creating sore spots which I’ve had trouble with on other hydration packs.

I laughed a little bit about the small safety whistle that was attached with a little bungee strap. But wouldn’t you know it? It came in handy while running in Angel Fire, New Mexico when I found out there was a bear nearby. I alternated yelling “Hey bear” with whistle shrieking, just to make sure he knew I was around the corner. Yay for safety whistles!

This pack has pockets upon pockets. A place for everything! I can easily fit my largish Galaxy S4 phone in one of the side hip pockets and a ziplock bag of candied ginger in the other side pocket. Chapstick, salt caps and a handful of gels fit in the easy to access front pockets. A LOT of nice sized pockets yet I never feel too bulky.

Hip Pocket

Hip Pocket

Left front pocket

Left front pocket

The pack has three main pockets on the back for larger items or things that you don’t need quick access to. There is also a very handy bungee on the back of the pack for holding a lightweight jacket. On the front, there is a zippered pocket on the left and on the right is a long holster pocket that will hold a 22-ounce water bottle for additional fluid if needed. I use it to hold food and just cinch it up. It’s been a great multi-purpose pack for me as I use it as much for storage and carrying supplies as I do for hydration thanks to the ample pockets and storage options.

Front storage

Front storage (may be used for additional water bottle or to hold other items)

Something new to me was the insulated bladder. LOVE this! It works well and has kept my water cool for so much longer into a long hot summer run. It’s an insulated sleeve that the bladder slides right into.

Insulated Sleeve

Insulated Sleeve

The only thing I would change about the VaporShape, and I do mean the ONLY thing, is that the color is white. And we all know trail running and the color white are not very compatible. 🙂 With that said, it washes very well and all of the dirt and stains so far have come out with no problems. It looks like brand new every time it’s washed. (and since I’ve started wearing mine, I believe there is now a dark grey color option available if you can find it.)

A running buddy loved the look and fit of my pack so much that she purchased one as well and wore it for Jemez 50-miler. She wanted me to make sure and mention that it’s worthwhile to read the enclosed instruction booklet on how to adjust the straps for the best fit. If you adjust them in order and do this the first few times, it becomes second nature and is well worth the few seconds you spend adjusting before a run. Another thing to note is that I do very little adjusting once I have my fit just right. The straps stay put and don’t slip so I very rarely have to do any mid-run tweaking.

Test driving at New Mexico's Angel Fire Trail Run

Test driving at New Mexico’s Angel Fire Trail Run

I would recommend this pack for the runner or hiker that is needing ample storage and the ability to really dial in their fit for ultimate comfort.

– Julie Dolph

If you have worn the Nathan VaporShape running pack, what are your thoughts of it?

If you are interested in the Nathan VaporShape, you can purchase it at Running Warehouse (Shoes, Packs, Clothes, Lights, and more…plus 2-day free shipping!).


About the author

Julie Dolph Julie’s running journey began 13 years ago and has since learned so much about herself. She learned about personal strength and perseverance. Anything is possible! Three years after starting this trail running journey, Julie is proud to have finished a variety of distances up to 50 miles. For more information on Julie, check out the About page where you can visit her adventure blog.

2 Responses to “Nathan VaporShape Women’s Running Vest Review: Cool Hydration, Abundant Storage, and Cozy Comfort…but Strange Color”

  1. on 13 Jul 2015 at 5:08 am tracy

    Thanks so much for this review. Im waiting on mine to arrive in the mail and im hoping its as good as you state. Thanks again 🙂

  2. on 20 Aug 2015 at 11:37 am Julie Dolph

    Hi Tracy!

    Have you got to try out your pack yet? Interested to know what you think about it. I’m still using mine two years later and still love it! All of the girls in my trail running group have one and love them as well. Hope yours is working out well for you!