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Low capacity race vest

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L Josslad 14 May 2020

Hi,

I've just started running again and find myself looking for a race vest/pack and wondered if anybody has used any of the following:

Montane Via Gecko

Salomon Adv Skin 12

Inov-8:

Race Elite

Ultra Pro 5

Ultra Pro 2-in-1

Basically, 99% of its use will be to carry water, a jacket if required and a few other bits and pieces. The Salomon and 2-in-1 would likely be too big for most use but if they're stable when empty or remain useful with optional pack removed then they may make sense, particularly for longer outings, bad weather or even fast-paced hikes.

I'm drawn to the Montane for its simplicity and price but will happily defer to other more experienced runners!

Many thanks.

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 Roadrunner6 14 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

I like my ultimate direction one. Ultra Vest 4.0.

TBH I don't think there is a major difference between brands. The big choice is bottle systems.. 

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L Josslad 14 May 2020
In reply to Roadrunner6:

Thanks, I'll have a look at those. So much choice, it's difficult to navigate all the options!

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 mountainbagger 14 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

I have same make as Roadrunner6, but older version. Good, fits well on me, limited but enough space for few snacks and a spare top, phone etc. I really like the soft bottles. Lasted quite a while so far.

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 SouthernSteve 14 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

I have an old Salomon Adv 12. I like it, the zips are a bit stiff after 4 years. I had the 5 which was too small and sold it very quickly. Janet has the Montane equivalent, I am jealous of the better organised pockets and Velcro strap, but I don’t feel it fits as well.

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 Ridge 14 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

I have the inov8 race elite, and find it a good no frills vest. I've had it a few years now and it's pretty much good as new.

Not seen the Montane gecko before, but it seems to be at the same price point as the inov8. Worth noting that with the inov8 you get 2 x 500ml hard flasks included, whereas you'll need to buy a soft flask for the gecko. The inov8 will also take a bladder (not included) if you prefer that to bottles, can't see anything that says the gecko can. I think just having a flask on one side might feel a bit unbalanced when full.

The gecko seems the better option in terms of zipped pockets for phones etc and the side stash pockets. The inov8 has 4 smallish stash pockets at the front for keys and energy bars etc, but if you want a phone or hat/gloves to hand you'll need to use one of the bottle pockets (I've added a tiny krab to hold the pocket closed when I do that).Obviously you then end up in the same situation as the gecko with a single bottle pocket.

All depends if you value larger water capacity over handy kit storage IMHO.

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 r0b 15 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

Check out the Decathlon race vests, I've got an older 5l one which IMHO is as good as the name brands for a fraction of the cost

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 Clint86 15 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

Funny. I'd largely forgotten about consumerism, brand names and unnecessary 'stuff' over the last 7 weeks. Not looking forward to the return to 'normal'.  

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L Josslad 15 May 2020
In reply to Clint86:

Sounds nice! I always seem to spend more on kit when I can't use any 🤔

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L Josslad 15 May 2020
In reply to r0b:

Thanks, I'll have a look at those too. I've had a lot of decent gear from them 👍

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L Josslad 15 May 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Thanks, useful insights there 👍

I think the idea with the Montane is that a second bottle can be stored in the lower, left-hand zipped pocket. People have commented on the resulting imbalance though.

Inov-8 probably edge it with the included bottles, thanks for pointing this out.

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 Jim Hamilton 15 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

A couple of years ago now but Ultimate Direction was the most comfortable I tried on (went with the SJ ultra race 3). The Inov8 vest had shaped solid bottles which were uncomfortable just standing around in the shop!

Post edited at 09:53
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 Ridge 15 May 2020
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

Never found the inov8 bottles uncomfortable, but you do have to get the side straps adusted right to bring the bottles forwards to a good position.

Only issue, as with all hard bottles, is the sloshing noises when part full. They're a 500ml bottle and can squeeze down to about 250ml, but after that air starts to get in. Not a major issue, but worth the OP noting.

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In reply to Josslad:

I had a Montane 10L one that’s quite customisable size wise. They are S/M and M/L and comfortable enough to size up/down. I am not big fan of bottles being so low and the bottle pockets not being the same. It’s just too much hassle with the pipes running up. I eventually lost too much weight and it’s too big for me now. 
 

I have Salomon Slab Sense 5 and Salomon Adv Skin 12 now. The former is great for races, but it’s a bit thin and doesn’t fill me up with confidence I’m not gonna lose stuff. Adv Skin 12 is a bit thicker material, but contains zips and has more structure to it. It’s pretty stable when empty.

I still have Slab Sense 5 in Medium that’s just too roomy for me. Small is perfect, until you gain few kilos again. It’s a bit like a shirt, you can’t fluctuate too much in size. 

Have you seen Salomon Agile 2? It’s cheap, simple and would be large enough for your needs. It rubs into my sides/armpits on longer runs (18-20 miles), but would be my choice for training. 

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L Josslad 15 May 2020
In reply to PPP:

Thanks. I haven't seen the Agile 2 so will have a look at that too. Good to hear the Adv Skin 12 is pretty stable when empty(ish) - they seem very popular so remain a strong contender.

Montane appeals to me for simplicity and light weight - I was a big fan of theirs when climbing but wasn't sure how their running gear stacked up. Seems as well regarded as any, in the main.

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 SouthernSteve 15 May 2020
In reply to PPP:

Three Salomon vests. My wife would kill me!

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In reply to Josslad:

I honestly don't think you can go wrong with most brands, it really is down to what you need, what you prefer and how much money can you spend. 

Saying that, I would advise to order multiple sizes, then fill up bottles and try jogging around your house. You might not feel restricted/loose in your shirt when your body weight fluctuates (+/- 3kg), but hydration vests are a nightmare, in my experience. 

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L Josslad 16 May 2020
In reply to PPP:

Great advice, thank you 👍

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 George Ormerod 16 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

I've got the Salomon Adv Skin 12 which is really comfy, loads of pockets and it cinches down well if you don't fill it - I wouldn't want anything smaller really.  It comes with 2 x 500ml soft bottles and takes a bladder too (extra cost), there's pole attachments as well (a few options).  It fulfills its main job for me brilliantly, which running with 2 dogs, seems to be carrying an inordinate quantity of dog shit comfortably.

Post edited at 22:25
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L Josslad 17 May 2020
In reply to George Ormerod:

Thank you. I think this might be the one, shit or no shit 😂 The fact it cinches down so well puts to bed my main concern about wanting a single pack to essentially perform as a minimal vest yet allow me to carry more when the mood or need strikes.

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 drunken monkey 18 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

I've got the  Adv Skin set 12 and find it really good. Very comfortable to wear even when full on an ultra race.

I had the old Adv Skin set 5 before this, but find that the 12 has better storage and is easier to access what you want or need when on the move without needing to take the whole thing off or dislocate yer shoulder to try and get into the back!

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 girlymonkey 18 May 2020
In reply to Josslad:

Can I just do a wee thread hijack and ask if anyone has any recommendations for a small running rucksack which has a smooth fabric next to the body? I currently have a 3l capacity camelback which I run with, and it is a good size and I have always found it comfy...until I wore it recently with a vest top! The fabric is, like most of these things, a wicking mesh type fabric, which rubbed my back raw due to the vest top not covering my whole back. I dont want a vest type system, I don't like having stuff packed on the front of me, it feels too bulky (I am tiny). Any suggestions for a small rucksack which is nice on the skin?

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