Group Test: Backpacks

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  February 17, 2020

For run-commutes, longer runs and ultra races, backpacks for our gear that don’t shift while we do is essential.

I Am Runbox Backpack Pro

IAMRUNBOX Backpack Pro
£137.99 | Tester: Caroline

While the price means it’s an investment piece, for run-commuting the Backpack Pro is spot on. It’s a solid case designed to carry clothes and laptop while you beat the traffic on foot. Surprisingly lightweight, there’s no bounce, largely due to the padded straps and close fit. It’s water resistant and there are some inspired touches, noticeably a folding assistant card to help clothes stay fresh.

TNF Flight Race MT 7

TNF Flight Race MT 7
£100 | Tester: Tina

The front of this pack gives it the edge; it feels very secure across your chest, and the nozzles of the two soft flasks angle inwards cleverly so it’s very easy to drink from them – they don’t wave around. The padding makes it very comfortable, even on long hilly runs, and there’s ample stash room plus stretchy loops for more kit. The pack stretches with you so it’s excellent for comfort, too.

Ultimate Performance Tarn 1.5 Hydration Pack

Ultimate Performance Tarn 1.5 Hydration Pack
£31.99 | Tester: Geri

This lightweight hydration pack has a decent-size pocket for keys, money and food. The pack has fully adjustable chest, shoulder and waist fastening straps to ensure comfort and no bounce. A breathable air mesh allows air flow to assist with body temperature regulation. It’s great value.

Proviz Reflect360 Running BackpackProviz Reflect360 Running Backpack

£59.99 | Tester: Beccy

Made with exceptionally reflective material, you won’t worry about being seen wearing this! Light yet spacious, it’s designed to keep weight off your back and it feels very supportive. Zip pockets on the waist strap allow easy and accessible storage.

Gregory Maya 10
£65 | Tester: Susan

Lightweight and functional, this pack has a multitude of storage options plus room for a hydration bladder. It has a front zippered pocket, stretch-mesh side pockets and a zipped interior pocket. The fit is snug, with no moving parts and a good suspension system for rough terrain.

Solomon Adv Skin 8 Set

Salomon Adv Skin 8 Set
£115 | Tester: Tina

It’s hard to fault this female-designed vest for comfort and fit – it’s shaped to eliminate pressure on your boobs. Long nozzles on the two included soft flasks mean you can drink on the go without rummaging around for your bottles. Storage is bountiful and it’s incredibly lightweight.

Montane Via Gecko VestMontane Via Gecko Vest
£70 | Tester: Louise

Weighing only 200gm, you hardly notice you are wearing this vest. Easy to get on and off, it has three-point stretch harness straps, with adjustable hooks and multiple attachments points. It has plenty of pockets, which are very easy to reach, with a larger one at the back big enough to carry a light waterproof. It also has an underarm pole attachment. Comfortable and stretchy, this will take you for miles when you’re out on long runs.

RonHill Pioneer 8LRonHill Pioneer 8L

£80 | Tester: Susan

A premium vest that is so lightweight, you really won’t notice you are wearing it. It’s compatible with a hydration system and has plentiful pockets and storage. The stretch webbing and panels, when combined with two elasticated, adjustable sternum chest straps, mean you can get the perfect fit. It also has two stretch mesh pockets with an adjustable draw-cord closure to fit bottles in. Also easy to get on and off.

INOV-8 All Terrain 15INOV-8 All Terrain 15
£55 | Tester: Geri

This is a very lightweight backpack designed for running or long hikes and it’s easy to use on the move. Access is simple through the roll-top closure and it handily compresses down in size for lighter capacity. The backpack length can be adjusted for better fit and comfort, and it has handy pockets for your essentials so there’s no need to rummage through the main bag. This is the perfect bag for trail running and it looks great too.

Camelback Women's Ultra Pro Vest

CamelBak Women’s Ultra Pro Vest
£99 | Tester: Louise

Very light (only 150g), this running vest has stretch overflow pockets and a secure section for your phone – you aren’t short of storage with this practical option. With two collapsible quick- stow 1.5L bottles for water, it’s perfect for hotter months. It also has trekking pole attachments and reflectivity strips on the back. In a striking shade of aqua it looks fashionable, too.

ASICS Running Backpack

ASICS Running Backpack
£40 | Tester: Esther

This comfortable, waterproof backpack is great for mid-length runs, with handy pockets on the front of the straps for gels and bars, a zipped section
at the back for your bits and pieces, as well as a Velcro pocket to stuff in a water pouch. It has a super-handy kangaroo pouch in the lower back for items you need to get to quickly. However, the chest strap, although comfortable, doesn’t pull tight enough to prevent movement while running.

OMM Ultra 15

OMM Ultra 15
£65 | Tester: Caroline

This is an exceptional running backpack. It looks deceptively simple, but it has an array of hidden features from the built-in whistle on the chest strap, to the numerous pockets, both zipped and elasticated, that are perfect for phone, keys and gels. The outer shell is reflective for good visibility on night runs. It is hydration ‘bladder pack’ compatible too, with loops for the drinking tube either over or under the shoulder.

Prices are RRP and correct at time of print for Women’s Running Issue 113 May 2019.

How we test: All our kit is tested by real runners. Our reviews team is a group of passionate women with diverse running experiences, from dedicated marathon runners to happy plodders. We wear the clothes, run in the shoes and use the tech on our usual runs to see if they go the distance. We then give each piece of kit our star rating.

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Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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