Nathan’s Elite Series of waist hydration packs are designed to make the difference between reaching your performance goal and bonking late in the game.  The Elite 1 Plus pack adds a nutrition flask to an ergonomic bottle carrier for those who want a combination of energy sources to help push the pace.


  • XTS Cradle
  • Angled, insulated holster
  • 22 oz. (650 mL) fluid bottle
  • 5 oz. (150 mL) nutrition flask
  • Dimensional zippered pocket
  • Airmesh moisture-wicking backing
  • Shock Cord with one-pull tension lock
  • Limited-stretch waistbelt
  • Weight 8oz.
  • Fits 26” to 42” waists

Nathan Elite 1 Plus Review

To angle or not to angle?  That’s the first question to consider with waist-mounted bottle carriers.  Upright bottles can be reached with either hand, but tend to have a bouncy ride.  Angled carriers are generally more comfortable, but obviously favor one arm’s reach more than the other.

“Angling” seems to be the predominant design nowadays, and Nathan angles their Elite packs with two highly effective ergonomic features.  First, a 70/30 positioning system places 70% of the bottle below the waistline, minimizing bounce quite well.   Second, the holster is made with Nathan’s XTS cradle system that flexes to the contours of your waist, with a wide-mouth opening that facilitates quick access and replacement even at full speed.

Anlged holster with XTS cradle

Pack stability is further enhanced by a limited stretch belt, which expands just enough – 20% of its original size – for abdominal comfort and relaxed breathing while keeping the load snug against your body.  Excess belt length is easily managed by Velcro strap closures so they’re not flapping around on the run.

One of Nathan’s strengths is bottle design, and the 22-oz bottle that accompanies the Elite 1 Plus has several noteworthy features.  Soft polyethylene plastic is nicely textured for a secure grip.  A wide screwtop mouth allows easy filling and cleaning, and the silicone nozzle stays secure to prevent leakage.  There’s a handy QuickClip with finger loop for use outside a waist pack – for example, attached to a belt or backpack.

22-oz bottle and 5-oz flask

Atop the bottle holster sits a dimensional zippered pocket with internal key clasp.  It’s adequate for storing bare essentials, but neither my small flip phone nor my ultra-compact (Black Diamond Spot) headlamp fit in there when the bottle was in place.  About the only practical thing you can carry is a pack of gel … but you’ve already got a holster for that.

The nutrition flask is a separate holster accessed by the left hand, and holds 5 oz of energy gels.  Since most gel packets are just over one ounce, there’s room for four packs of gel in the flask – more than enough calories to outlast your 22-oz fluid supply.  An ideal setting for this pack is during an ultra where you want to make sure you have your favorite gel on board, and you’ll have aid stations every several miles to refill the fluid bottle as needed.

If you’re not carrying gel, the holster area of the pack goes un-utilized – ideally, a larger pocket in this area would increase overall storage capacity.

Good Elite 1 Plus

  • Angled bottle holder for rapid access
  • Limited stretch waistband very comfortable and stable
  • Ergonomic bottle positioning

Bad Elite 1 Plus

  • Very minimal storage space
  • Gel holster space is wasted if flask is unused

Bottom Line: Nathan Elite 1 Plus Waist pack

If you’re a frequent consumer of energy gels, the Elite 1 Plus is a great way to make sure you have all the calories you need on the trail.  If you’re looking for stowaway space alongside your fluids, take an additional means of storage with you.

Buy Now: Find Nathan Gear at REI 

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.


  1. Looks like a great design and the gel combo is nice. I’ve been using a Deuter hip pack recently and it’s a nice way to carry liquid while snowshoeing and winter trail running.

    • How do you keep the bottle in place. I just bought one and as soon as I start running the bottle falls. Is there something that I forgot to do?

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