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REVIEW: Montane Running Packs: Gecko VP5+, Gecko VP20+ and Gecko Ultra V+

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Rob Greenwood puts three new running packs from Montane through their paces, while training for - and successfully completing - a Bob Graham Round.

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 Denning76 28 May 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

How warm was that ultra one? As someone so sweaty that I could probably single-handedly re-wet a bog, I can't help but wonder whether a 'thing' acting as an extra layer like that would get very toasty very quickly.

 petegunn 29 May 2021
In reply to Denning76:

Would the ultra one be OK without a under shirt for those warm days? 

 neuromancer 29 May 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Any comparisons to the obvious Salomon adv skins? 

 Denning76 29 May 2021
In reply to petegunn:

Not sure I'm stylish enough to pull off the exposed midriff look!

Post edited at 15:02
 greg_may_ 29 May 2021
In reply to Denning76:

Nor are a lot of triathletes but they still rock it

 PPP 31 May 2021
In reply to neuromancer:

> Any comparisons to the obvious Salomon adv skins? 

It’s not a group review and I believe Rob said he hasn’t tested Salomon vests which are IMHO the standard for so many runners. 

I’m still not convinced by the waist band that is stretchy Velcro. I had a Jaws 10 and it wasn’t as breathable as a bungee cord is, tended to get dirt/grass stuck and didn’t feel like it was going to last long (it wasn’t user replaceable). I don’t get why Montane is still stuck with it and what are the advantages. It only says it’s quick and secure. 
 

My Salomon Adv Skin 12 has had some stitching failures and had to replace the cord used to compress the bag, so I can’t quite say it’s been flawless either. I got money back after a year of use with no questions asked and DIY fixes haven’t failed. 

 neuromancer 31 May 2021
In reply to PPP:

Interesting that he said that the 5+ was his benchmark for all his bob training and run, whereas most people seem to buy the Salomon 12?

 PPP 01 Jun 2021
In reply to neuromancer:

> Interesting that he said that the 5+ was his benchmark for all his bob training and run, whereas most people seem to buy the Salomon 12?

That caught my eye too. I have SLAB Sense Ultra 5 but I spend most time training in Adv Skin 12. 

In reply to Denning76:

> How warm was that ultra one? As someone so sweaty that I could probably single-handedly re-wet a bog, I can't help but wonder whether a 'thing' acting as an extra layer like that would get very toasty very quickly.

Sorry for the late reply, the bank holiday got in the way of things a little, and I'm off today, but couldn't resist replying...

Funnily enough I was mulling this one over yesterday, as I went out for 16 miles in the blazing 20 degree heat and was faced with the choice of either the Ultra V+ or the Gecko VP5+. In the end I opted for the Gecko VP5+ simply because it's much more open, hence (in my opinion) was going to keep me that bit cooler. That said, this is clearly a very unscientific test.

Whilst it is an incredible strong look, I did wear it without a t-shirt or vest underneath too. You could do the same with the Ultra V+ too, as that is arguably more like a t-shirt/vest anyway; however, I still maintain what I said about about its overall coverage (anything touching the skin will make you sweat more).

I would upload some photographs, but thankfully there aren't any. It'd look pretty 'out there' on even the best of bodies, but mine - especially after the various operations I had on my abdomen last year - is like some sort of abstract Picasso painting and I wouldn't want to scare any children that accidentally came across the page

In reply to PPP:

> It’s not a group review and I believe Rob said he hasn’t tested Salomon vests which are IMHO the standard for so many runners. 

It'd be great to get a Group Test done at some point, as this would - like you say - yield a greater range of opinion. Usually if I have tried something out I'm willing to comment within the thread afterwords, but like you say - in this case I haven't (sorry...).

> I’m still not convinced by the waist band that is stretchy Velcro. I had a Jaws 10 and it wasn’t as breathable as a bungee cord is, tended to get dirt/grass stuck and didn’t feel like it was going to last long (it wasn’t user replaceable). I don’t get why Montane is still stuck with it and what are the advantages. It only says it’s quick and secure. 

Interesting, I quite liked the bungee. I too was worried about dirt/grass/moss, but thus far this hasn't presented a problem, partly because it's very much meant to be worn - not put on the ground. I haven't used the VP+, but that doesn't feature one and my main concern with that would be stability, although it is a smaller pack - hence it probably wouldn't matter quite as much.

In reply to neuromancer:

> Interesting that he said that the 5+ was his benchmark for all his bob training and run, whereas most people seem to buy the Salomon 12?

It'd be interesting to see whether I'd have changed my mind regarding this if I'd had the VP 12+ on review, but the 5+ did everything I wanted and more. I don't tend to pack overly light either, as I like my food too much.

One thing I would say, which is pretty much what I said about the 20+, is that bigger bags don't weigh that much more and carry much, much better than an smaller bag that's been over stuffed. All that said, it often comes down to personal preference.

Glad the review has sparked a bit of interest and debate though. We're definitely keen to keep this sort of thing coming...and I'm not just saying that because I'm doing a lot more running at the moment...

 PPP 01 Jun 2021
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I had running crampons, first aid kit, winter gloves, hat, puffy jacket, camera, food for good few hours, 2x500ml water, etc. in Adv Skin 12 and it has the stability needed. The Velcro strap stretches better with movement but does not solve the stability issue. I just don’t get it personally and this is the sole reason I wouldn’t get one again. I do love Montane stuff too - currently have 4 waterproofs from them…
 

I take your point on mud and grass, but mine still had some. 

 petemeads 01 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Never mind about the running vests, when are you going to tell us all about your Bob Graham experience? 

 greg_may_ 01 Jun 2021
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I'd definitely appreciate more on the running kit side -  few places else I frequent (or want to) tend to do these reviews! 

EDIT: also, well done on your BGR

Post edited at 19:40
In reply to petemeads:

> Never mind about the running vests, when are you going to tell us all about your Bob Graham experience? 

I'm trying/failing to write something about it at the moment, as it's been quite a journey getting there, and life has been pretty busy ever since. Penny (my wife) has been in hospital for the last few weeks, hence I've been on single parent duty, which hasn't left me with much time spare.

As a very short summary:

The plan was originally to do the Bob Graham last year, and to do it in as good a time as possible. I'd put a lot of time into training and felt great, but then my appendix ruptured, I got sepsis, peritonitis, lost 12kg, and I went from being able to run long distances to being unable to walk short ones.

This time around I just wanted to do it, without a specific time in mind (other than within 24hrs). I also wanted it to be quite a personal affair, within which I could reflect on the crazy year, so ran it solo, but with support from my family at the roads.

What transpired was one of the most fulfilling life experiences I've ever had. 

I'll leave the rest for the article which may or may not ever be written


 petemeads 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Now I feel bad about pestering you! Sorry to hear about your wife, and sympathy for your reduced ambition after your illness. I have been working up to the Joss Naylor (old man's BG) and have missed the recces due to lockdowns and now I find myself unable to walk due to sciatica,  which might take a month or so to clear up. No rush for your article, and well done on a solo round!

Cheers,

Pete

 steveriley 16:00 Fri
In reply to UKC/UKH Gear:

Never mind the rucksacks, congrats on the BGR. Nice work doing it your own way
Hope everyone all ok soon.


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