Sure, one of the main benefits of running is its means of escape – but sometimes when you’re leaving the office, family, or other everyday stresses behind for a while, it’s nice to know that the world isn’t blowing up around you.  And if you need to keep a lifeline back to the rat race, Nathan’s got a nifty little Shadow Pak to help you carry it.

Nathan Shadow Pak Features:

  • Power stretch mesh to accommodate larger items
  • Gusseted pocket to hold items securely
  • Incorporated I.D. / medical emergency card
  • Limited-stretch belt with featherweight buckle
  • Reflective accents for visibility
  • Available in 6 colors
  • MSRP $20

Nathan Shadow Pak Review

Keeping it simple is something of a lost art – but there’s great satisfaction in using gear that serves a basic, specific purpose very effectively.  The Shadow Pak is one-dimensional; it won’t keep you hydrated or stash your gear, but if you just need to carry one small item, you probably can’t find a more convenient way to do it.

Yes, there’s an iPhone in there. Serioisly.

The single pocket has an innovative design that holds a flip phone very securely, but also stretches enough to accommodate an iPhone and even the larger Droid smart phones.  The gusseted construction keeps bouncing to a minimum regardless of what size phone you’re carrying.  There’s a bit of room left over for a key or money or other small objects, if you’re OK with them rattling against each other along the way.  I was pleasantly surprised to find very little moisture transfer through the mesh fabric onto my phone inside the pocket, even with runs of more than 1 hour.

Nathan Shadow Pak ID pocket

Emergency info card tucks into well-labeled compartment

Runners who like carrying ID and emergency contact info are also covered with the Shadow Pak, which features an information card that’s clearly marked from the outside for easy recognition by emergency personnel.  Reflective accents also provide a small dose of increased security if you’re on the road in low light conditions.

Worn over the shirt for improved comfort

The Shadow Pak is so small and lightweight that you’ll barely notice it’s there.  The only drawback I encountered was some mild skin irritation when worn directly against the skin, but on top of a shirt this wasn’t a problem at all.

The Good

  • Very small and lightweight
  • Accommodates small flip phones and larger smart phones
  • Secure, bounce-free ride
  • Holds emergency contact info

The Bad 

  • Potential irritation against bare skin

The Bottom Line: Nathan Shadow Pak

Nathan’s Shadow Pak is the perfect size to carry the bare safety or communication essentials, with an ideal weight and shape that’s practically unnoticeable.  If you’re looking to almost leave the world behind on your next run, it makes an ideal little companion.

Buy Now: Shop for Nathan Hydration 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. Blane: Short answer: I love them. Those are KSOs. Long answer: go to my website and click the Vibram tag, or look at the product reviews on the right sidebar. Tons of info there for you.

Leave A Reply