A few weeks ago I received a test sample of the Jurek Endure from Ultimate Direction. The Endure is a lightweight hydration waist pack that holds two 10 oz. bottles and has two places to store a bit of gear or nutrition. The Endure weights in at about 6 oz. when empty and is made of a very lightweight nylon that is water resistant. The front pocket can hold a cell phone and some nutrition, or a number of gels and chews if you don’t carry your phone. The rear pocket is a bit smaller, but easily holds some nutrition and gels. The rear pouch also has bungees that allow you to store a very lightweight windbreaker between the bottles.
Testing the Jurek Endure:
I’m currently training for the Last Chance 50K in a few weeks, so I’m putting in quite a few miles every week. On my longer runs, anything over 15 miles, I like taking a larger hydration pack, so my use of this pack has been limited to less than 14 miles, but I’ve put over 45 miles on the Jurek Endure since I received it, so I’m pretty comfortable telling you about my experience. Most of my running has been on paved trails and sidewalks, with only a bit of trail running. The weather has been cool, but not unseasonable.
Jurek Endure Pros:
First, this is a very lightweight waist pack. There is no extra material anywhere. The mesh backing, that the water bottle holders attach to, are nearly transparent. The webbing belt is very thin, which I thought might be an issue, but more on that later. The front pouch is made of a lightweight, treated nylon that’s very thin and light.
This pouch easily held my Samsung Galaxy S3 with the standard battery and my ear buds plugged in, though it took some negotiation to get the ear bud plug into the pouch. Even on my longer runs, the phone never got damp from sweat, though I recommend facing the screen forward in the pouch.
This pack offers significant nutrition storage between the front and back pockets. Even with the phone in the front pocket, I could store a few gels into the same pocket without issue and probably could have done better if I really tried. The back pouch is more suited for gels, but I was able to get some chews into the back pocket without issue. I’d recommend, though, breaking the chews out of the pack and because most are too long to fit comfortably into the back pouch.
Regarding the bottles, they fit well into the pouches and the bungee system keeps them from bouncing around, although I didn’t always use the bungees and never had a problem with full or empty bottles bouncing out.
I didn’t carry a windbreaker at any time, but did test to see if mine fit (I’m an XL). It was tight and made the rear pouch unusable, but it fit.
Jurek Endure Cons:
Initially, I was worried about the thin webbing belt. My experience has been that larger belts help keep a waist pack stable. Once the pack was properly adjusted, this wasn’t an issue, but is something to keep in mind if you prefer a thicker web belt.
The bottles included in the Endure are well made and the lids are made of a hard plastic. When using my teeth to open the valve, these bottles required a bit more force than other products we’ve tested. Since they are made of hard plastic, they’re a bit rougher on your teeth. I expect that the valves will loosen up with additional use, but it’s worth being aware that they’re harder to open with your teeth. Due to the bungee system that crosses the bottle pouches, the pouches collapse a bit when you remove the bottle. If you have the pack snugged down tight, this makes it a bit more challenging to get the bottle back in after you take a drink. I found myself using my hand to open the pouch a bit and then sliding the bottle back in. The bungee system that holds the bottles in work very well, but took a little getting used to when clipping the bottle back in. However, the bottles stayed in place even without the bungees over the top.
The final challenge was the velcro used on the rear pouch. It’s a thin strip and when I put two packs of chews in the rear pouch, the velcro wasn’t big enough to always close and hold the chews. I didn’t lose any chews, but I had to be careful to make sure the velcro closed.
Jurek Endure Overall:
Overall, I like this waist pack. It is very well made, holds a great deal of nutrition and small gear, and fits very well. The cons are real and could be easily corrected, but many of them are personal preferences, so your mileage may vary. For me, the real selling point of this pack is the weight. I’ve tested other packs that were much heavier and the extra weight led me to not use them on shorter runs. Generally, I carry hydration on runs over 5 miles and nutrition on runs over 7 miles. With this lightweight pack, I wouldn’t hesitate to take water and food on any length run. The balance with two full bottles is perfect, even for larger runners like me, and when properly adjusted, it almost disappears and doesn’t bounce a bit.
I’d recommend this pack for any runner, especially for those of you that are careful about carrying too much weight.