Trail running backpacks: Here’s how to find your ideal companion
For trail running, aside from trail-appropriate footwear, you also need a special running backpack. In this article, you will learn more about the special features of trail running backpacks, what kinds of different models there are, and what performance features are a deciding factor in your backpack purchase.
Why special trail running backpacks?
When trail running, you have along a few things when it comes to gear – especially on long distances or in the mountain where the weather can quickly take a turn. In races, there is also often a long list of mandatory gear that must be carried with you. Plenty of fluids to drink and weather protection, change of clothing, first-aid kit or mobile phone in emergencies – it adds up quickly. With a bottle in your hand and fully packed pockets, running is not all that comfortable or you simply don’t have enough room in your pockets to pack along everything you need. Special trail running backpacks can come to the rescue since you can store quite a bit in them that you need for safe runs on trails. Compared to normal hiking or outdoor backpacks, trail running backpacks feature a special fit and many additional technical features to make it easier and more comfortable to run.
What kinds of different models are there?
The range of trail running backpacks is large, starting with compact running vests, to small hydration packs, all the way to all-rounders for mountain runs with a volume of 9 liters or more. In addition, there are also hipbelts, waist packs, and running belts that usually only hold one bottle and feature a small pocket for a key or mobile phone. Which model is best-suited for you depend in particular on the trail or the races that you like to run. On your after-work loop around the reservoir a running belt is perhaps plenty, but for an ultra in the mountains you certainly need a significantly larger backpack to fit everything in that you need. Whatever you have planned, at DYNAFIT you will find backpacks with all different volumes and features. Meaning you’ll be geared up for every running adventure.
What should you consider in making a purchase?
Independent of the size of a trail running backpack, there are several general criteria to look for in a purchase to find the perfect companion for you:
Fit: Close-to-the-body and ergonomic
The most important thing in a trail running backpack is fit. It must fit like a second skin – snug, ergonomically close to the body, and comfortable to wear. There is nothing more annoying while running as a backpack that constantly bobbles back and forth or causes chafing. The cut of most trail running backpacks is thus more like a vest for a secure fit. They are attached at the front with a sternum strap so the weight is distributed primarily on the shoulders and chest area. That makes it significantly easier and more natural to run.
If you want to be light afoot out on trails, then you also need lightweight gear. That also of course applies to your backpack. Particularly in ultra running every gram counts over the long haul. Meaning a good running backpack should not have much of its own weight unpacked. The contents will of course be plenty.
Breathability: Optimum air circulation
Especially during strenuous trail runs or the hot summer months, it’s vital that a trail running backpack is breathable so you don’t overheat. Above all, on your back, mesh fabric can offer good air circulation and result in better comfort.
Compartment layout and use: Everything in its place
Many trail runners use poles uphill or on technical downhills. But where to stash them when you don’t need them? Premium trail running backpacks offer a spot on the exterior to safely attach poles. Additional practical characteristics of good running backpacks are attachments on the shoulder straps for bottles or a reservoir tube. On the sternum strap there is often a small whistle so you can draw attention to yourself in an emergency. This is also mandatory in almost all races. When it comes to safety, reflective prints allow better visibility after twilight. Lastly, having a waterproof pocket to stash valuables is helpful. Ultimately, your mobile phone should also keep working after many kilometers to make beautiful memories of your run in nature.
Orderliness is half the battle, and that’s also true in trail running. A good running backpack features an intelligent compartment layout so you have quick access to everything. Aside from the large main compartment, most models also have small pockets on the side or shoulders to stash bottles or energy bars and other snacks. Especially on long runs, more pockets are practical so you can keep wet clothing separate from fresh, or your hydration reservoir is quickly accessible to refill. In addition, it’s essential that a running backpack is easy and uncomplicated to use, and that you can easily slip it on and off. Ultimately, every minute counts in a race.