Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest Review

Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest Review

After scouring my blog, I realized I never wrote a review for the Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L  Vest. It has been my hydration vest for a few years now, and I ran Copper Mountain 25k as well as Underarmour Killington 25k. I’ve done countless hikes, including my 30k Birthday Hike. So I use the Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest…a lot.

But finding a hydration vest can be challenging!

Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest Review

About the Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest:

  • Adjustable front and side straps.
  • It contains a 1.5-liter, BPA-free reservoir with a hose and valve.
  • Plenty of storage, including rear-focused water storage and front pockets. The front pockets provide balance between providing easy access to nutrition and your cell phone to take Instagram pictures (jk…maybe).
  • The front pocket is water-resistant and can fit a phone up the size of the iPhone 8+.
  • Back zippered pocket.
  • Soft perimeter binding helps prevent chafing.
  • Reflective pieces
  • One size fits most

Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest Review

So is the Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Hydration Vest good?

There are a few things I like about the Quickstart 4L Hydration Vest and a few things I don’t.

Let’s start with the good.

I’ve run and hiked hundreds of miles in my Nathan Quickstart 4L Vest. I’ve never felt like it was cumbersome or annoying. In fact, the first time I ever used it was running up Copper Mountain, and I didn’t have an issue. Once you adjust it to the right fit, it doesn’t bounce, and the water doesn’t move. It doesn’t feel heavy on my back, and I’ve never once chafed. For me, it has worked out for all my trail races and shorter hikes.

The Nathan Quickstart 4L comes with a reservoir already. In my question for good hydration vests, I’ve noticed many don’t! Why? That’s one of the most important features of the hydration vest…carrying water.

Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest Review

So What don’t I like?

I wish the Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Hydration Vest came in men’s and women’s specific sizes. I swam for 15 years, so I have broad shoulders. This means most unisex hydration packs will fit me. However, most females don’t have broad shoulders, and if you have more narrow shoulders, it might feel slightly wide. A women’s specific pack from Nathan includes either the Vaperhowe or Vaporswiftra.

The other easily fixed component with buying another hydration vest is size. If you are doing a 24-hour run, or even a 50k, or 50 miles, you might need a more substernal pack. When I hiked 30k, I was out for about 8 hours. I had stuffed more water bottles into the pack (which for hiking is fine), but that would be annoying if I were running. So I would recommend upgrading to a larger reservoir or more substantial pack for long-running races. There is also the Quickstart 6 Liter Vest with more room.

underarmour killington 25k


The Quickstart 4L Vest is just $70, which is cheaper than many of its competitors. I’ve had mine for over 3 years now with no issues.

Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Vest Conclusion:

If you are looking for a lightweight hydration vest, I highly suggest it. I think it’s fine for running under 4 hours, but anything over that, I might want either more hydration or a more substantial pack for running. If you are someone that a “one size fits most pack” will work for and you’re running under 4 hours, this is a great pack. If you are just getting into trail running and don’t want to spend hundreds on a pack, this is also a good option.

In all, it’s a great pack and one I’ve used for a few years now. I’ve never had an issue!

under armour copper mountain race me running

You can find the Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Hydration Vest here

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Questions for you:

Have you tried the Nathan Hydration Quickstart 4L Hydration Vest?

What is your favorite running vest?