Getting set to hit the trails this summer? Find out the best running packs as recommended by real runners in our latest Real Women Review
With more and more women taking up trail running and ultra running, all which require mandatory kit, finding a running pack that is big enough and comfortable over many miles is almost as challenging as the race.
Room for kit, waterproofing, comfortable and big enough room for all the snacks (surely one of the joys of ultra running is taking a stash of delicious goodies, eh?) which is the best? Here’s our guide as tried and tested by real life runners.
“I’ve tried so many packs before and found most were unisex and too big for my frame, had front bottle holders which hurt my boobs and didn’t have much accessible storage.
I use my Montane pack for all events as it’s not very heavy and cinches down so doesn’t matter if it’s full or not. It fits so well and no bounce!” Amanda
“Another vote for Montane here. Apart from the fit, the material is soft enough right on the skin, so I can wear it with just a sports bra.
Pocket placement is well thought-out and it cinches down small when I don’t need that much space on the day.” Diana
The Montane is designed to fit women (not small men!) with adjustable hooks and multiple attachment points. This pack also features permanent odour control and is ideal for speed on the trail and in the mountains.
“I’ve tried loads of different packs and Ultimate Direction works best for me. You can reach all the pockets easily and it provides a chafe-free fit.
It clips nicely across the chest and I use it for 15-100 mile runs (top end limited by my legs not the pack!). All compulsory kit fits in it plus some water and between checkpoint snacks.” Kim
“Very comfy and roomy. Hardly know I am wearing it.” Helen
Featuring shoulder strap shaping to promote weight distribution and a comfortable fit, the Ultimate Direction Adventure Vest has 4-way stretch, front mesh pockets and corded elastic so you can add extra gear externally. Extra features include an intriguing ‘zip-secure burrito pocket.’ Which sounds great but it’s just the shape of the pocket, no burrito included.
“A great pack, which enables me to reach the back top pocket and grab food on the move.
This is my favourite as it’s really light and comes with a bladder. I can get a reasonable amount of food in the front pockets and it also has a phone pocket and a kangaroo pocket in the back for my rain jacket or a spare full bottle. It works a treat for 50milers.” Jo
“I’m short and find Nathan Vaporhowe packs fit really well as they’re designed for women.” Nina
Developed in collaboration with elite endurance runner Stephanie Howe, this pack features an insulated bladder to keep water cold over long distances. The women’s specific fit features an internal compression system that tightens the load against your back for minimal bounce.
Karrimor X-Lite 15L Running Backpack – £39.99
“I’m slim but have a decent bust so something very adjustable suits. me plus the large pockets hold nearly a pint bottle each! This comes with accessible zip pockets and the large back pocket can be converted to hold a bladder with clips at the front for the tube. It is light and comfortable. I have run up to 38 miles carrying three pint bottles. Inexpensive too.” Emma Jayne
Good budget option, the Karrimor X-Lite has zip and open mesh pockets to store everything you might need on a long run. With ventilated shoulder straps to keep you cool and a padded, ventilated back system for added comfort, this pack features reflective detail to help you stay visible as you head into the night.
Harrier Kinder 10L Race vest – £59.99
“The Harrier fits my bigger boobs while still working with my narrow back. It has stretchy straps across the front so I can still breath but it doesn’t move. There are lots of options for carrying poles and a bungee at the back for compression or extra carrying and lots of pockets including side ones!” Jadu
“A really good fit for my small frame while not squashing my ribs, which zero bounce – plus it has a great phone pocket.” Gemma
The Kinder features a zipped compartment with three sections for kit, bladder and key clip with added external bungee cords to hold more gear securely. It can be used with soft flasks and the different sizes ( from extra small to large) ensures a good fit depending on your size.
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