We review seven running backpacks to find out which will help your triathlon running sessions go longer.
1. Osprey Hornet 24
This pack is minimalist but well structured in comparison to the others tested. A single internal compartment with small mesh zip pouch inside and three external mesh pouches provide ample space for spare layers and food. The lightweight rip-stop fabric and low bulk, vented webbing keep dry weight low. It’s the nearest to being a day-to-day use rucksack in shape, weight and construction, but manages to feel lithe and sporty enough to have you happily ticking off the kilometres.
2. Camelbak Octane 18
The 694g Octane’s party piece is its un-zippable expansion panel, taking it from 16ltrs up to 21ltrs. The Octane is a joy to run in. The inverted Y shape with wings helps support and spread the load, with marginally heavier material than the other packs here, which reduce side-slop when partially loaded. Camelbak’s 3ltr Antidote bladder is a market leader and should be factored in to the overall price, when considering that some packs on test don’t come with one.
3. OMM Adventure Light 20
Using a traditional pull string/flap top load pack shape, the OMM again uses a single large internal compartment. The small opening can make rummaging for stuff in the bottom difficult. The twin mesh side pouches are very small and tricky to access when running; conversely the zip-up wing pockets are large and easy to use as is the zip-up top flap pouch. Stability is good with various pack loads and it cinches down into the back securely.
4. Berghaus Octans 25
The build is lightweight and the pack has little shape when empty. The flexible thin padding and internal compression system ensures a limpet-like fit to your back. We like using the Octans because it copes well with challenging pack loads and the pouches are easily accessible on the go.
5. Aquapac Wet’n’Dry
This is a fully waterproof pack. It uses an Ortlieb style ‘roll and clip’ closure and it’s stable enough despite not having winglets. We like the two mesh side pockets but the single large pouch means contents get muddled and there is no hydration facility with this pack.
6. Inov-8 Race Elite 20
The feathery 338g Inov-8 Race Elite 20 is about as lightweight and deconstructed as packs go. The benefit is when running fast with minimal (soft) kit you can pull the straps right in to the back and keep the load held in the single compartment bolted to you. It’s the bag we felt we could run fastest with the least bounce. We loved the long central zip making bag bottom access easy.
7. Salomon XA20
A sub 500g dry weight and full load stability don’t always mix, but the XA20 works. The pack sits well into the lower back and spreads the load. The single compartment is separated from the bladder by a foam baffle. We were able to carry everything we needed for a long run, using the three external pockets and shoulder strap bottle pouch.
This review was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
You’ll find loads more triathlon gear and kit reviews in triradar.com’s Gear section