With the Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest, the brand has added a hydration function to its original running vest – but we’re not sure it needed to… 

Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest


£34.99 / freetrain.co.uk 


  • High-quality, stretch material 
  • Fits well  
  • Easy phone access  


  • Heavier than the Freetrain V1 
  • Doesn’t look as good as the V1 
  • Poor-quality water bottle  

MF rating: 2.5/5  

Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest

The Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest now has a water bottle and phone pockets

Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest key features

  • Phone and water bottle pocket to chest 
  • Shoulder pockets and back pocket 
  • Durable lightweight material 
  • Reflective print 
  • Adjustable waistband 
  • Ventilation holes 
  • Zip-front fastening 
  • 500ml soft water bottle included 

The original Freetrain – the V1 Vest – was released a few years ago, with some slick video promo highlighting the vest’s USP: that central phone pouch, which allows for quick, secure, on-the-run checks.

If you’re expecting an important message or call, or simply like to keep up to date with your real-time stats (like how many more miles of pain you’ve got to endure), Freetrain makes it a lot easier than the alternative running belt option, which requires more of an ‘in and out of pocket’ approach.  

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The Hydro 1 Vest – made from the same comfortable, high-stretch fabric as the V1 – aims to step the practicality up a notch, with the addition of a water bottle holder, sitting to the right of the phone pouch.

Two additional, smaller pouch pockets sit on the shoulders – for keys, an energy gel, etc. – and there’s a bigger pocket on the back.  

All of this makes the Freetrain Hydro 1 a truer ‘running vest’ (essentially an ultra-lightweight backpack) than the original, which offered no more storage than a belt. However, more isn’t always more… 

Man adjusting the Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest

The Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest’s shoulder pockets are ideally sized for stashing energy gels

Is the Freetrain Hydro 1 Vest any good?

The appeal of the V1 (which, we should say, is still available at freetrain.co.uk) is its minimal design. It’s so lightweight you barely notice it’s there, and the central location of the phone pouch (rather than just to the right, as with the Hydro 1) is more convenient, especially when you’re on the move.  

The addition of a bottle holder sounds good, but actually it serves to reduce the efficiency of phone access. And that’s not to mention the complementary water bottle, which – unlike the rest of the vest – feels like it’s made from fairly cheap plastic.

Of course, if you’re going to be out for a long time, you’re going to need to stay well hydrated, but while the V1 knows it’s best suited to runs of the short and sharp variety, the Hydro 1 is trying to appeal to the longer-distance runner. The issue is, there are much more comprehensive hydration packs out there if you need that function.