RW Tested

We tested over 20 back­packs to bring you our choice of the best op­tions for ev­ery­thing from a trip to the gym, to a train­ing run, to a multi-day trek through a desert

Runner's World (UK) - - Contents -

Back­packs for run­com­mutes, ul­tras and more

1 / PATAGONIA FORE RUNNER VEST 10L BEST FOR SIM­PLE COM­FORT

Light and compact with a 2L hy­dra­tion blad­der, this hugs the back neatly and has a breath­able mesh foam panel to pro­vide com­fort and struc­ture. There was min­i­mal side­ways ro­ta­tion, thanks to the chest strap and the side ad­just­ing straps, while the two small ex­pand­ing pock­ets were handy and the wa­ter­proof coat­ing made it per­fect dur­ing show­ers. £100, patagonia.co.uk

2 / MOUN­TAIN HARDWEAR SINGLETRACK RACE VEST BEST FOR ULTRA TRAIN­ING

A very light pack that wraps around your torso like a sec­ond run­ning top and, with its handy shoul­der-strap pock­ets, al­lows easy ac­cess to gels, bars and water. There’s also space for a blad­der and an ex­tra top or jacket in the back zip­pered pocket. With a 6L ca­pac­ity there’s not much to this, but if you’re trav­el­ling light and long it’s a very fine op­tion. £50, ac­cel­er­a­teuk.com

3 / OSPREY DAYLITE PLUS 20L BEST FOR WALK­ING COMMUTES

A sturdy pack with plenty of space for daily com­mute needs: the tablet sleeve was per­fect for keep­ing work doc­u­ments un­crum­pled. How­ever, you need to keep weight to a min­i­mum for on-the-run com­fort since the un­padded waist/hip and chest straps are nar­row and dig in if you pull them tight to min­imise bounce. £40, os­preyeu­rope.com

4 / RYU QUICKPACK LUX 1.1 BEST FOR THE GYM

It’s a shame that the Quickpack doesn’t have run­ning-spe­cific straps be­cause in every other way it’s a treat. It’s a light, 18L bag con­structed with a moulded shell de­sign to help you fit in the max­i­mum amount of kit. It also un­zips at the front for easy ac­cess and pack­ing. With its solid build, leather straps and weather-re­sis­tant wax coat­ing, this a good longterm in­vest­ment. £143 + ship­ping, ryu.com

5 / OMM ULTRA EIGHT BEST FOR SMALLER RUN­NERS

This one fo­cuses on fit and com­fort rather than fea­tures. It’s a min­i­mal 8L pack with few flashy at­tributes but the weight-to-dura­bil­ity ra­tio is im­pres­sive, and our tester found it an ex­tremely com­fort­able ride with the (moder­ate) load locked tight against the body. The straps are ad­justable, but we reckon this is best suited to those with a slen­der frame. £38, theomm.com

6 / SALOMON AGILE 2 BEST FOR RACE DAY

The is stylish, sleek and good for go­ing fast for short dis­tances, but not much else. The idea here is to keep the weight and di­men­sions down, and help you to carry es­sen­tials with­out com­pro­mis­ing your run. Our tester packed in a spare top, 1L blad­der, phone, keys, wal­let and a cou­ple of gels. It was so light he for­got he was wear­ing it. The only gripe was a fid­dly chest strap. £60, salomon.com/uk

7 / DEUTER SPEEDLITE 20 BEST FOR SHORT RUN­COM­MUTES

This is sturdy with­out be­ing heavy, with a nicely ta­pered shape that hugs the back. It has one main pocket, a smaller one on top and easy-ac­cess mesh storage on the out­side, as well as two bot­tle hold­ers. (It’s blad­der-com­pat­i­ble, too). On the run it stays put, thanks to the thin chest and waist straps, but on the down­side the stiff shoul­der straps rubbed a lit­tle. £60, deutergb.co.uk

8 / RAIDLIGHT ULTRA VEST OLMO 12L BEST FOR MULTI-DAY EPICS

This is a size­able piece of kit, with enough com­part­ments, zips and at­tach­ment loops to keep even the most me­thod­i­cal packer happy. It’s de­signed for long, tough events such as the Marathon Des Sables; it’s nicely and log­i­cally de­signed, fits well and is sur­pris­ingly light. How­ever, our tester did note a cou­ple of fray­ing seams af­ter sev­eral good runs. £80, ul­tra­lightout­doorgear.co.uk

9 DHB SLICE 15L / BEST FOR THOSE ON A BUDGET

Wig­gle own brand dhb has a loyal fol­low­ing be­cause it sells very de­cent kit at rea­son­able prices. The light, neat, slim and ro­bust Slice is a good ex­am­ple. The shoul­der, chest and waist straps are eas­ily ad­justable and it sits snugly in the mid­dle of the back. There are few flour­ishes but if you’re look­ing for a bar­gain you won’t be ex­pect­ing those any­way. £23.99, wig­gle.co.uk

10 / IAMRUNBOX BACKPACK PRO BEST FOR CAR­RY­ING SMART CLOTHES

If you strug­gle to get to work with­out your smart clothes get­ting crum­pled, here’s your so­lu­tion. It’s a rigid box (vol­ume is 10L) that will take shirt, top/ trousers and skirt plus un­der­wear and keep them folded and fresh as you run. There’s also a shoe-car­ry­ing at­tach­ment and it’s all far more comfy to run with than it ap­pears. £134, Iamrunbox.com

11 CAMELBAK ULTRA 10 VEST

BEST FOR MARATHON TRAIN­ING This is al­most a very good pack. It’s well de­signed and there is room to fit in all you need for a long train­ing run along­side the in­cluded 1.5L blad­der (with its new no-drip, noz­zle). But run­ners who don’t like a high-sit­ting pack should look else­where, and it may take some strap ad­just­ment to en­sure a sta­ble fit. £110.49, sportsshoes.com

12 UL­TI­MATE DI­REC­TION JUREK FKT VEST

BEST FOR A TRAIL MARATHON The Jurek here is ultra-run­ning leg­end Scott Jurek, who does things such as run­ning the 2,189-mile Ap­palachian Trail in 46 days. He de­signed this 9L pack and his ex­pe­ri­ence is ev­i­dent, from the high-back de­sign, myr­iad en­try points, ar­ray of pock­ets, clips, bungee hol­sters, whis­tles and more. He’s thought of ev­ery­thing and then put it in the right place. £110, wig­gle.co.uk

13 GRIVEL MOUN­TAIN RUNNER COMP

BEST FOR TRAIL-RUN­NING ES­SEN­TIALS A tiny but mighty 5L pack that’s per­fect for those who prize dura­bil­ity. It won’t fit much more than a 500ml bot­tle, keys, phone and a gel but it emerged un­scathed from a cou­ple of mucky for­est runs and gave the im­pres­sion that, come the apoc­a­lypse, cock­roaches will be wan­der­ing around with th­ese on their backs. £60, griv­elgb.co.uk

14 RONHILL COMMUTER XERO

BEST FOR SECURE FIT De­spite the name we don’t think this 10L pack is ide­ally suited for com­mut­ing, largely be­cause it won’t fit enough stuff in un­less you pack light, ow­ing to the in­flex­i­bil­ity of the ma­te­rial used for the main com­part­ment. But that same in­flex­i­bil­ity keeps things in place, while the ad­justable fit is ex­cel­lent and the pack clings tightly to your back. £80, ronhill.com

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