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Camelbak Alterra : Good for the Long Run

Carrying sufficient water on a long run has previously been a challenge for me. I’ve tried carrying a water bottle in one hand, but can’t stand how out of balance it makes me feel. A waist belt that carries the bottle at the small of my back was an improvement, but still not entirely satisfactory. Enter the Camelbak Alterra.

Made specifically for runners, the Alterra allows me to carry 28 oz/750ml. (a very large water bottle’s worth) of liquid around my waist without sacrificing comfort. The easily accessible reservoir is encased in a soft foam and fabric cover that is about 7 inches in diameter and fits snugly in the small of my back. The relatively large surface area of the reservoir avoids uncomfortable pressure points and is held in place by an easily adjustable strap that smartly clips at my side where padding keeps the clip from biting into my waist.

The waist pack also affords me ample storage, with two zippered compartments that allow me to carry up to 12 gel packets with ease and a cinching system that can accommodate a wind jacket or other top if I find I’ve overdressed or in case the weather turns toward sour. With the Alterra around my waist I can tackle long trails with greater confidence. 

Hands-free access

The liquid reservoir is easy to take in and out of the pack and has a sizeable opening, making cleaning and filling simple tasks. The reservoir cap screws in and out, and, without too much effort, creates an unassailable seal. As easy as it is to get and hold liquid in the reservoir, it is even easier to get liquid out. The drinking tube has a handy clip that I attach to my shirt collar in such a way that the mouthpiece floats in ready proximity, accessible to my mouth with only minimal help from a hand. The waist belt also offers multiple clips, giving me flexibility in how I keep the drinking tube out of the way of my normal arm swing. Liquid is kept at bay yet easily accessible with a soft rubber one-way valve that opens when I squeeze it between my teeth and closes automatically when I release.

Bottom LIne: Allows me to carry substantial water without sacrificing comfort or performance. Convenient for any run, especially long ones, and essential when you plan to leave the beaten path--D.C. (Feb 06)

Price: $45

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