Runnnig backpack for ultra

anyone recommend any good running packs for ultra? I'm looking for one with plenty reachable pouches and bottle holders on the front, I don't want to be stopping everytime I need something.





  • yeah I've heard a few people saying the decathlon ones are ok, they look like they could bounce around quite a bit, maybe I should look for a running vest, maybe they would be better than an actual backpack.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    The decathlon ones are very good value for money. I still use one for my long trail runs when I need to carry stuff. I do have A Salomon one for races though as it's an amazing piece of kit. Pricy but worth every penny and I'm usually a right tight arse.
  • anyone tried the Raidlight OLMO Ultra? seen it in Trail running magazine and it looks pretty good.


    At £25 I might try out a decathlon one.

  • My husband has this one and really rates it - he finds it very comfortable.

  • I'm not going to give you a budget suggestion as I tend to shop around for the best price on more expensive stuff as I buy kit to last me a few years. So I can give you my biased view on Salomon packs as I have a few from the original s-lab adv skin 5set, through to the s-lab sense ultra set. Original 5l set was one of the game changers in terms of how it felt on the run. Before this I had more traditional style rucksacks, but light packs like OMM adventurelight 20, ultra 12 and last drop 10 (which were all good). I've still got my original 5l set and is mostly usable, just some zips rusted in place I could probably sort with wd40. Still the best ride of any salmon pack I've owned, probably as a bit heavier so kept its shape at the cost of some flexibility compared to newer packs.

    But I got the sense ultra set and its just more practical and arguably carries as much or more kit whilst being super light. I'd recommend this if your looking at shorter ultra's and not huge kit requirements as room for two softflask or bottles, good size front and side pockets (better than my adv skin 12set as each is large) and plenty of back storage too. Meant to have 3l storage according to blurb when I bought, but due to flexibility of the material probably holds lots more and doesn't have a restrictive entrance to main back compartment like my old 5 did. I've used this for up to 30 milers and probably could go further in summer conditions. On a recent run I've had:

    • small map, full waterproofs, headtorch and a warm top in the back pockets;
    • two softflasks at front as well as GPS, phone, gloves and hat;
    • money and food in the zipped side pockets.
    • Still could have got more in their.

    I have had a 2013 (I think) and 2015 adv skin 12set (current so far as I can tell). The 2013 was in some ways better as a really big single back storage which could open like a case, so if you took it off you could quickly get at contents without unpacking the whole thing. Also big side pockets! I eventually busted the zips on mine by continual over-filling. But I've done silly things like multiday runs with no support or kit transport between sleeps so was ramming the thing with loads of kit you wouldn't for most ultra's.

    2015 one has one back compartment with vertical zip one side and a kangaroo pouch below as well as the side and front pockets. As mentioned I preferred the main back storage on older pack as zip opening to newer pack is a bit restrictive for the size of the storage, sometimes you have to work larger things - like clothing bundled up - a bit to get in/out. But this restriction is made up for by the kangaroo pouch which is great and holds loads of kit as made of same 'bungee'-like material as the sense ultra set.

    After some getting used to this design of back storage it is hard to fault as the kangaroo compartment offers more accessibility on the move than older pack compartment (you can get at things without taking pack off usually), and there is still the security of a zip close compartment (though I've never lost anything from the kangaroo pocket). I definitely take this pack off less when on the run than any other pack I've had - which says it all really.

    Aside from the back storage:

    • the ride is still good (though obviously will be slightly more bounce with 12l of stuff packed than from a smaller pack).
    • Side zip pockets aren't big on it but are good for the stuff you need to keep secure and may not want to have to remove pack to get at (e.g. money).
    • Large front pockets good for soft flasks, but most bottles also fit.
    • The zip pocket above one of large pockets is perfect for my phone (though I've got a xperia z3 compact rather than a miniature tv as some have).
    • On other side
    • On other side the pocket is top loaded and may fit a bigger phone, I use this for food or my GPS which is fatter but shorter than a mobile phone.
    • There is also very small elasticated pockets on front below the bottle pockets which are too small to be really useful on this pack (much bigger on the sense ultra set), tend to stuff these with food packets till I get to a bin.

    I use 3 packs currently - the sense ultra set for weekend long runs and short ultra's, adv skin 12set for anything longer (longest so far a winter 120m and a multi-day 190m) and an OMM last drop 10 for commuting runs. Could probably use the 12set for the commutes, but trying to preserve its life and I can put up with the not quite as good OMM 10 for these runs which are usually less than 10m.

    SUMMARY - In my opinion if you need something for long ultra's with kit requirements then the 12set is great and if you need something for just a few bits and a couple of softflasks/bottles for weekend runs and short events with less kit requirement I'd go for the sense ultra set over the 5set as it does pack a fair bit of stuff in!

    Apologies for long post, needed a distraction from work image

  • A quick question on running with these trail backpacks. I would like to carry water in two bottles on front rather than in bladder. The reason being they are easier to fill during an ultra race and I can get more luggage in back! However I find with two 500 ml bottle on front they jump around a lot. Is it just a matter of getting used to that or is there a way of tying them tighter that others have found? Thanks
  • I have a North Face vest. Been great. Re bottles it has two good sized elasticated pockets at front, bottom of each side - I use these rather than the two pockets higher up on the side (which I assume are meant for bottles? - tried them but just felt too high and unsteady/wobbly). This lower pocket  holds my two (preferred) 328ml Ron Hill soft bottles great and steady - easy to stuff in and out. I tried 500ml bottles but they (although still held steady) were more difficult to stuff in and out of pockets when nearly empty. I think Ron Hill and other vests also have this lower elasticated pockets at sides....

  • Myles - What Kind of pack do you have this issue with? I've not had too much trouble with this on salomon packs. More movement with sense ultra set, but it's so light I'd be amazed if didn't. Very much minimised if I carry more load. At a minimum I'd have a jacket or waterproof in the back so balances out the front weight.

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