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A buyer’s guide to trail running packs


The most important thing is: it should fit snugly
The most important thing is: it should fit snugly

More and more runners are finding the joy in trail running. Running through rough terrain is not only loads of fun, but it also diversifies your training schedule and trains your coordination and concentration.

One of the most important things you’ll need for trail running besides shoes with excellent traction is a trail running pack

In the following, we’ll tell you everything you need to know when buying a trail running pack.

The fit – go ahead and forget everything you thought you knew

Nothing is more annoying when running than when something is bouncing around on your back, or anywhere else for that matter. So, your running pack should do one thing and do it really well: Fit snugly. Today, there are several models that are made like a vest and secured using sternum straps. The fit of the pack is oriented toward the shape of the chest. Thus, running packs will fit much more snugly around your body and are usually much more secure.

Since the pack is centred around the chest and shoulder area, the pack itself won’t be as bothersome when you run. In terms of fabric, the best packs are the ones made of elastic and breathable mesh. This light fabric has the advantage that it won’t in any way obstruct your breathing. Plus, your body will feel fresher and comfortable even during strenuous mountain runs as a result of the material’s breathability.

Of course, trail running packs are made to be as light as possible. Smaller models, such as the
Mountain Hardwear Fluid Race Vest Pack weigh in at only 280g.

The pockets – More is more

Salomon - Skin Pro 14+3 Set - Trail running pack
Salomon – Skin Pro 14+3 Set – Trail running pack

When competing, every second counts. You can’t just take off the pack and rummage around in it for your gels, water, etc. This is why trail running packs are equipped with all sorts of tiny pockets on the shoulder straps that can be accessed whilst you run. So, you’ll be able to get to your energy bars and gels in no time at all.

The pack’s larger compartments are intended for sleeves, running jackets or other clothes you may need whilst you’re out on the trails. Depending on the length and difficulty of the run, trail running packs can have a storage capacity of up to 17 litres, which is distributed evenly among all the various pockets. A great example is the Salomon Skin Pro 14+3 Set, which clearly shows the vest-like style. In addition to its large main compartment, this model has five pockets, all of which can be accessed relatively quickly and easily.

Have you got enough to drink?

In order to keep you hydrated during your run, trail running packs are usually equipped with two bottle holders on the shoulder straps. Quick and easy access is a must when it comes to hydration! In addition, running packs usually have a compartment for a hydration bladder as well. The hose, which is hooked up to the bladder, is guided toward the front via the shoulder strap so that you can take a swig whilst running. Running packs that accommodate a hydration bladder, such as the Camelbak Marathoner Vest allow you to carry more than three litres of liquid. This is particularly convenient on your longer training runs. Dividing up the liquids in the front and back of the pack serves a purpose as well: it makes for an even distribution of weight, something that is extremely advantageous when running, as you can probably imagine.

Additional features for optimal function

Camelbak - Marathoner Vest - Hydration pack
Camelbak – Marathoner Vest – Hydration pack

It’s not at all unusual for runners to carry trekking or Nordic walking poles on a trail run. These make it easier to run uphill. Plus, they give you a bit more security and stability for technical downhills as well. But, if you’re out on a longer run, sometimes you just don’t know what to do with them. Luckily, most trail running packs have elastic cords that can be used to attached the poles to your pack. This also gives you the option of attaching your jacket or some other garment to the outside of your pack, if you don’t have any more room or your pack doesn’t have a large main compartment.

Since trail runners often find themselves in rough terrain, trail running packs are equipped with a tiny safety whistle, which can help you to draw the attention of rescuers. Another great safety feature is the reflective elements found on several running packs that serve to make you more visible in the dark.

Ask your fellow Alpine Trekkers!

If you can hardly contain yourself and are simply dying to go out on your first long trail run, but just can’t decide on a pack, feel free to contact our customer service any time. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.

Find a Trail Running Backpack >>

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