The North Face Sailfin

Review by Review
Thursday 17th August 2006

The Sailfin hydration pack looks nice, and appears to be a quality piece of kit. I was keen to give it a try for running, biking and walking.

The first few times I used the pack were whilst I was out running. I found it to be really quite uncomfortable, and was disappointed with the fit. I was forever fiddling about with the various straps, and still it was jiggling about and I was aware of it all the time. I was about to give up on it, but gave it one last try, and somehow managed to get it adjusted just right. Since then it has been fine.

For someone who hasn’t used a hydration pack before, I found that it was brilliant for helping me to drink more often, and have found that my recovery from runs has been better (ie I am not waking up with headaches the next morning from dehydration!). I have used it on long walks, where I just took the bladder out, and put it in my rucksack. The volume of the Sailfin is 1.5 litres, which is ok for most of what I do, but I did run out of water mid way through a 20 mile walk on a hot day! The bladder is insulated which means that the drink stays cool. This was a welcome feature.

The second problem I have with the pack is that whenever I try to fill it, I end up soaking the outside of the pack (and often me) in water. The large opening in the bladder whilst good in that it fills quickly, is positioned in a way to make it difficult to get it away from the tap to being done up without spillage.

Nice features are the elastic straps where you can put a windproof, and a pocket inside for your keys. There are other models with more pockets, which may suit other people.  As with all North Face products that I have had, the material quality and buckles are good. There’s a little whistle on one of the straps which could prove useful for emergencies. The articulated bite valve is also good, as you can adjust it for easy drinking whilst riding or running.

My two toddlers love the pack, and it encourages them to drink lots more water which is great. It needs some supervision though. They were using it in the bike trailer and got into a fight. One of them had it in their mouth, and the other pulled so hard that they made a hole in the valve. Now it leaks!

The pack retails at £39.99, which seems like a good price for a very useful bit of kit. Just try it on first and make sure you can adjust it to a comfortable position. 



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