Best Trail Running Vest – From Short Runs to Multi-Day Treks

Best Trail Running Vest – From Short Runs to Multi-Day Treks

trail running

Best Trail Running Vest For Your Run

Considering what you need or want to bring along with you on a long trail run or a race, the right vest can have a huge impact on your comfort and economy. There are many options out there now which incorporate great design features for carrying everything from water to a small tent!

What you specifically want or need in a vest will impact what choice you make. Are you heading out for a short venture and want to stay light? Or are you heading out for a trek over several days? If racing there will be several pieces of equipment you want to bring along all while staying as light and economical (and comfortable) as possible.

I have done a great deal of research to find out the best options available now and the most suitable vest depending on your needs. The best known brands include Salomon, Ultimate Direction, Nathan, Camelpak, Osprey and High Sierra. While all these brands put out quality options I found that Salomon consistently pipped the competition in most categories due to their quality design, materials and above all, fit.

Best Minimal or Short Race Vest

Salomon S-Lab Sense 2 Set


RRP US$130

Where Can I Get it? Amazon US $129.95

Weight: 100g


This vest is my go-to minimal vest when heading out on training runs or what I’d take on a race up to around 80km. It is extremely light-weight at 95g made with anti-odour, stretchy mesh that breathes and evacuates moisture. It’s sensifit mesh construction balances your load and provides a smooth, non-chafing and comfortable fit that wraps around and hugs your body. It has great gear stowing solutions allowing a tight and close fit where you can easily access your kit.

Included is 2 x soft flasks and a whistle. Flasks are quick and easy to fill, drink and clean. It has a large screw-on cap that you can fit ice cubes in if wanted. The new flask design allows high flow without leaks and is moulded top and bottom for sliding into pockets with ease.

Pockets and Compartments:

  • 1 back kangaroo pocket with silicone grip
  • 1 chest stretch pocket with silicone grip
  • 2 front soft hydration elastic pockets
  • 2 front stretch pockets
  • 1 zipped mobile front pocket
  • Reflective decals for safety if running at night

Best Vest for Runs/Races 50-100km

Salomon Advance ADV Skin 5 Set

RRP  US $155

Where Can I Get It? Amazon $143.14

Weight: 276g including accessories

Capacity: 5L

This vest features sensifit construction which makes it very stable and comfortable to run in. It features many stash pockets to put extra flasks, nutrition, gels, keys, mobile phone etc. It has designated room for your mandatory waterproof jacket and cup. It also has very well-placed pockets at the top front of the vest, one with a zipper. These pockets are great for accessing items on the go, (storing things like salt sticks or nutrition that need to be handy).

The two larger pockets positioned at the front bottom of the vest are good for gloves, hat or headlamp. There is also a designated for poles across the back of the vest if need be. The two elastic sternum straps connect to a soft lace eliminating any pressure points on the rib cage while keeping your breathing capacity at it’s optimum.

The bladder compartment has underarm routing with a down lateral exit. This can also be top exited. The bladder is located in an independent pocket so there is no need to remove your gear from the main compartment, saving you time.

Included is 2 x 500ml soft flasks, 1 life cover (safety blanket) and a whistle

Pockets and Compartments:

2 front stretch pockets

1 internal insulated bladder sleeve with hanging loop (1.5L bladder optional extra)

1 front stretch zip pocket

2 front flask pockets with secure loops

2 top stretch pockets

1 main stretch compartment with side zip opening

1 back compartment with mesh pocket

1 low back pocket with 2 side access

4D pole holder

Reflective decals for safety if running at night

Best Vest for Runs/Races 100km+

Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Set

RRP US $155

Where Can I Buy It? Amazon $114.49

Weight: 335g including accessories

Capacity: 12L Volume

The Salomon brand stands out for its superior comfort fit. Like all the Salomon vests the Advanced Skin 12 doesn’t disappoint. It rides almost unnoticed, hugging the back, shoulders and chest minimising any bounce when loaded with a full pack of gear, water and nutrition.

This pack is designed for runners needing to carry a decent amount of gear but also needing maximum comfort and efficiency to allow unrestricted movement and optimum speed.

It has a large insulated water reservoir pocket with a bladder hanging system compatible with a 1.5L bladder (not included).

Multiple well-placed pockets and compartments to fit all your needs for an all day run. It has collapsible pole attachment points, these points can be adjusted to create your best pole carrying solution – front vertical/front diagonal/side diagonal/back horizontal/compatible with custom quiver (sold separately). Even with all the gear loaded this vest manages to stay stable and comfortable due to its multiple adjustment points.

This pack comes in three different sizes and multiple colours.

Included is 2 x 500ml soft flasks, 1 life cover (safety blanket) and a whistle

Pockets and Compartments

2 x front stretch pockets

1 x internal bladder sleeve with hanging loop

2 x front flask pockets with secure loops

2 x top stretch pockets

1 main stretch compartment with side zip opening

1 back compartment with mesh pocket

1 low back pocket with two side access

Reflective decals for safety if running at night

Best Vest/Pack for Multi-Days

Ultimate Direction Fast Pack 45

RRP  US $199.95

Where Can I Buy it? Amazon

Weight: 755g

Capacity: 45L

This fastpack follows the same lightweight construction of Ultimate Direction’s other running vests but also giving you much more storage capacity for multi-day treks.

If using lightweight, low volume items you can store all your minimalist needs for overnight camping treks including small tent, sleeping bag, ground pad, clothes, food, first aid etc.

It features sliding sternum straps for easy adjustment and trekking pole loops with a no bounce design. The patented “InfiKnit” mesh which is entirely seamless allows for breathability and prevents rubbing or discomfort.

Two large stretchable side pockets for the hip belt takes some of the stress off your shoulders while also minimising bounce for a snug fit. The main large cavity has a well-designed roll down closure which allows you to store the bulk of your larger volume gear and custom roll it to the amount you need to carry.

The external pack has bungy ties, tie downs and trekking pole loops on either side. There is a larger stretchy outer at the back to allow for quick access of an all-weather jacket and an inner zipper pocket that you may need to get to quickly (eg. first aid kit).

It has multiple storage compartments on the front harness to store nutrition for on the go. Also includes zipper pockets for phone, electronics or keys along with two large side compartments for water bottles. There is also an inner pocket compatible for a hydration reservoir.

Choices, Choices

There are many brands and options out there now and a lot of it will come down to personal preference with fit coming down to individual size and shape. While a certain vest might be super comfortable for your friend you may find it still sits uncomfortably on you. Once you find a type that you like you will find you will go back to it again and again (like I have found with Salomon).

trail running with salomon vest

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