Compressport Ultrun 140G Pack – Race Vest

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Just when you thought a running hydration vest couldn’t progress any further in terms of design and fit, Compressport tip the apple cart over and come up with the ULTRUN 140G PACK which is available in a male and female versions. On test, we have the male version, you can view the female version HERE.

On first impressions, this pack is considerably light, good looking (red and black always works) and most definitely makes you look twice due to some very unique design features. The pack comes in one size and although Compressport say the pack will expand to many different sized people, I do wonder how big? I tried the vest on over a jacket and then a down/ padded jacket and it still fit with comfort. Ultimately, I think if you have a big chest, it may well be a good idea to try on in store before purchasing.

In total, the pack has 10 pockets that vary in size which are all made from expandable and stretchy mesh, The benefits of this are easy to see, if you are being minimalist, the pack remains small, lightweight and you have no excess material flapping around. If you need to carry anything from i jacket to a whole list of mandatory kit, the pack can expand and stretch to your needs. It can actually expand considerably. The other plus side is that mesh holds everything tight and therefore reduces bounce. The down side? Well, you just need to plan carefully on how you fill the mesh pockets. Just make sure essential items go in last so that they are near the top.

Weight of the pack on test is 169g which of course is considerably light. It’s closest rival/ competition would be the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 3 which weighs 129g, review HERE.

Compressport say it has taken 3-years to develop the pack and it boasts the ability to hold 3.6L of liquid in addition to the usual mandatory kit for an ultra-trail race. The liquid capacity is calculated as follows:

  • 2 x 500ml or 2 x 750ml bottles on the chest pockets.
  • 1x 600ml soft flask sitting in the lower back.
  • 1 x 1.5ml bladder in one of the compartments in the upper section on the back of the pack.

Unfortunately the pack comes with no bottles or soft-flasks. A major flaw in my opinion. I would at least expect 2 x soft-flasks for the front of the pack and due to the unique design of the pack, I would like to have seen a 1.5l bladder for the rear. I’m not a fan of bladders but I wonder how easy it is to purchase a bladder, off-the-shelf that will fit in the Ultrun 140G?

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I must note here, the option to sit a hard bottle or soft flask in the lower back is an inspired idea. It sits in it’s own sleeve which can opened on the right or left. As mentioned, I am not a fan of bladders so to have 2 x 5-750ml bottles on my chest and a spare bottle in my lower back is ideal. To clarify, you wouldn’t want to keep adding or removing the bottle from your lower back. You can access it without taking the pack on and off but it would be a little messy while trying to run. The idea here is to carry a spare and then change it with an empty bottle on the chest. A soft flask does sit more comfortably here but is harder to add and remove. Don’t need an additional bottle? This pocket can be used for a windproof, gloves, buff, hat etc.

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In regard to capacity, the pack is spacious and it’s ideal if you want to carry essential items such as:
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  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Windproof
  • Lightweight trousers
  • Buff
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But I am not sure how much more it could take? For example, I don’t see how it would be possible to add mandatory kit for a race such as UTMB where waterproof jacket and trousers are required in addition to other base layers. This is not a criticism, I am just clarifying that the Ultrun 140G has a limit.
Sitting high on the torso, the Ultrun 140G fits comfortably with little or no bounce and the design allows for plenty of breathability. Compressport call this Ventilation 360º.
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 Fastening at the front is quite ingenious using a knotted lace pulled through holes on the left and right. It’s so simplistic it’s brilliant and it is fool proofing even when wearing gloves.
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The lower fastening method uses a classic male/ female buckle that again is large enough to be opened and closed whilst wearing gloves.
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As you would expect the pack has a whistle which sits on the upper right hand shoulder strap. It’s possible to remove this and place elsewhere should you wish.
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The bottle pocket will accommodate  a 500 to 750ml bottle or soft flask and it has a draw cord to ensure that either system is held in place. A smaller bottle or flask fits more snuggly and has less bounce.
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On the outside of the bottle pockets its a small elastic pocket that would hold a gel/ gels and/ or hydration tablets etc.
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On the hips on either side are two mesh pockets with a tab and velcro fastening. They are designed for on-the-go access to food and or other essential items. You can squeeze cloves or a hat in them too should you wish, but not at the same time as food!
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Sitting just under these pockets and 2 elastic cords with a toggle. They are used for attaching poles and finally the system works with many of the new shorter poles such as the Black Diamond Z pole. The poles are intended to attach to the side but I also got them to sit in my lower back underneath where the bottle would sit.
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The ergonomic design has been created to allow for complete comfort and I can confirm, it feels great. It’s refreshing to have a pack that has had a refreshing rework in design over what is currently available from other brands. At the end of the day, it’s a race vest and many products are available to choose from. If you are looking for a vest, I would recommend giving this a look.
It’s still early days for our testing and so we will come back with an update in a few months.
What’s wrong with the pack?
Well, not a great deal. It fits, it’s comfortable, it holds essentials and provides plenty of options to carry liquid.
However, on-the-go access is limited to just the 2 small side pockets, which for many runners will hold food. So, should you need your jacket, gloves, hat or any other item, you will need to remove the pack. To be fair, this applies to most other packs, the exception coming with the larger packs offered by inov-8, Salomon and other similar brands.
Click on the images to view larger:

Compressport can be found HERE

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RAIDLIGHT’S GILET RESPONSIV 8L PACK REVIEW

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Niandi Carmont recently ran the Compressport Trail Menorca, an 85km race on the island of Menorca, Spain. Knowing the race would be semi self-sufficient, the need for a comfortable hydration system would be required. RaidLight stepped in and provided the new RAIDLIGHT GILET RESPONSIV 8L vest so that it could be tested in a ‘real’ situation. On first looks it would be easy to think that this pack is female specific, apparently no. It also comes with a hint of blue for those gentlemen who are not in touch with their feminine side.

RaidLight say:

The Responsiv 8L is a combination of bag/vest. Lightweight and ergonomic.

The Responsiv 8L race vest allows you to carry essentials and hydrate with ease, with the bonus of being ultra light at only 160 grams!

The bag has recently been awarded the prestigious Janus Design Award (2015), awarded by the Institute of French Design

 

Hydration is always an issue when you compete in a self-sufficient or semi self-sufficient trail race or even when training. There are multiple ways of carrying energy drinks and water but what most of us look for is a system that is:

  • Hassle-free – no fumbling around, fidgeting or groping
  • Provides easy access – you can hydrate easily on tricky technical sections of a course or when fatigued in the latter stages of a long trail race
  • Is quick and efficient – you can refill quickly when passing through the feed stations, wasting as little time and energy as possible
  • Is comfortable – no chafing, no bouncing, no sloshing, no leaking
  • Allows you to manage your water supply efficiently and gauge how much water/energy drink remains until the next feed station

Raidlight’s new Gilet Responsiv 8L ticks all the above boxes for me. It’s a great little pack.

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What I like:

  • It comes in 2 sizes: Small/Medium & Large/Extra Large. I used the smaller version as it’s probably more suited to the female body type and lighter runners. It also comes in grey/ pink! For the men, grey/ blue.

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  • The vest is equipped with 2 micrometric adjustment systems; I have seen this before on a pair of TNF Shoes called the Boa and a TNF pack. This system provides for an even more “customized” fit. These are located on either side just under the arm openings. So there is no messing around with dangling straps and buckles to tighten. Basically, as you remove items from the pack (food, water and so on) you can adjust the pack in minute detail so that it remains close to the body.

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  • It weighs just 160g and that is ultra-light!
  • Designed to be used with RaidLight’s new soft flasks (optional extra) which come in 2 sizes either 350ml or 600ml. So depending on how far apart the feed stations are on a course and what your own personal hydration needs are, you can use either one or the other or a combination of both. The RaidLight soft flasks are also equipped with straws which make drinking on the go extremely practical. The flasks fit comfortably into the 2 front pockets and are extremely easy to remove and slip back in. I found the straws a little distracting as they came close to my face, however, on the shoulder straps, two access holes are available should you use a bladder (the pipe would feed through these on the left or right). I found that I could push the soft flask straws in here. Perfect!

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  • The pack is made of a breathable flat-seamed mesh (thermal adhesive), which doesn’t chafe and please note ladies it is very pleasant to wear over a t-shirt, a sleeveless tank or even a crop top.
  • The stability is reinforced with two pectoral buckles on the front of the pack

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  • The stash pocket on the back can be used to carry a bladder (Velcro strap supplied) or mandatory race kit. I used it to carry a survival blanket, a mobile phone, a lightweight wind stopper and some extra food

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  • There are two tiny pockets underneath the main soft flask pockets; they can be used for lip balm, sunscreen, gels, tissue paper and gels/ food. For me, this is where the pack fails and needs greater improvement. I personally found I had too little room for ‘on the go’ nutrition and I used a lightweight fuel belt to store additional energy.

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I would recommend using the Gilet Responsiv 8L for any self-sufficient race or training run. It’s ideal for short outing and longer runs but I do think the lack of food storage impacts on its use for very long self-sufficient runs. If you are racing with adequate feed stations and the opportunity to replenish liquid and food, then it’s a great pack. For me it was ideal on the Trail Menorca Costa Sud, an 85km trail race with 7 feed stations, relatively hot weather (36°C) and a course which is technical in parts but without any major difficulties. Importantly ladies, this pack is one of the most comfortable I have tried. I don’t have big boobs but as you will know, anything that doesn’t sit comfortable is a real problem. The Raidlight was great in this area and gents; you have nothing to worry about. If it works for us ladies, it will work for you too!

CONCLUSION

This is a neat little product by RaidLight that works for men and ladies. Importantly, this pack is really comfortable for ladies and the option of two different sizes (S/M, L/XL) means that you can get a pack that fits you! This can also be fine tuned with the micrometric adjustment systems. The downside is on the go access to food/ gels as storage is minimal.

The vest will be available in June 2015.

Go to RaidLIght HERE to find out more