I interviewed Josh Sprague, ultra endurance athlete and owner of Orange Mud
Orange Mud makes innovative Hydration Packs as well as other performance products endurance athletes love.
What is your background and why did you decide to start Orange Mud?
On the work side my previous career was in the medical device manufacturing space, and on the racing side it was a mix of adventure racing, mountain bike racing, and triathlon. The extreme quality focus on the manufacturing side tied in very well with my racing to meld the desire of a functional product with one that is made to last. Every pack that that I’ve purchased
If you could only pick one of your products for a long distance runner to use which would it be?
The Endurance Pack. This is my go to pack for most everything run and riding. I’ve used it for runs up to 100 miles, bike rides to 200+ miles, and even fun hikes, paddling, and more. It’s low profile design keeps the weight high and tight to your back and the chest pockets work wonders for keeping essentials close at hand. It fits guys great, but ladies we actually designed the harness of this for you first with multiple front adjustment points and guys got to benefit from this as well!
These days there are a lot of hydration systems on the market. What makes Orange Mud unique and why should a runner that has a favorite hydration system take a chance on Orange mud?
We focus on stabilizing movement for running and riding. Movement is the real big one as many brands design packs for what’s comfortable to the touch and when you try it on empty. Most use stretch materials now everywhere, but stretchy everywhere has some big problems when you load up the pack. We instead focus on a blend of more structured materials blended with some stretch fabrics in key areas to maximize our stability, resilience under high use, and perform well under any load. Our packs come with a money back guarantee too, even if you’ve sweat in it profusely! On top of this, we offer bottle, flask, and bladder based designs, to fit every type of runner!
It’s funny…..people always ask me “is there research” or “where is the research”. My response is always “when was the last research paper you read that was published in a peer reviewed medical journal”? However it is also my experience that companies and vendors will quote research that is either not theirs, not statistically significant or is not published in any sort of credible journal. What is you opinion on research (regarding hydration and electrolyte replacement) and can you provide our readers with links in case they want to read abut it.
The latest one for me, that I completely disagree with, is the peer reviewed paper on electrolytes and their application with endurance sports. The bottom line is that the author concludes they are not effective and the endurance community has seemingly jumped right on board with this. I completely and whole heartedly disagree based upon experience in very long endurance racing and my own personal use, plus that of countless other athletes that have also fixed cramping issues when going long. This study needs to be fully read to focus on what he studied, and how he measured it to see that it’s data, but not data applicable to longer haul endurance sports. When it comes to endurance sports most research is not tested in larger enough sample sizes, often crudely construed experiments, and with conditions that are so dynamic that it leads to a lot of soft results. I still read it all, but take most with a grain of salt (pardon the pun).
The endurance community is building especially in running. How do you plan to support this ever growing and expanding market and what are your ideas and dreams regarding providing this community with hydration support to help increase their performance and recovery?
I love the changes that we see in endurance sports today. I’m a firm believer of trails are better than roads, and going longer is always worth a try. Our packs from the beginning have been designed for running, especially with long distances in mind. Our design pipeline is going to continually focus on new options in the 4L to 15L category which is key for endurance training and racing. I’m a big fan of bladders and bottles, not as much soft flasks. Granted I use soft flasks, but when I look at refill times, stabilization of the fluids in relation to where to put them on the body, and efficiency with how they sit/store on your pack/body, I believe these two are best. As such, expect to see quite a few new products coming out in 2018 with that in mind!