Staff Pick: Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set Pack

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I am a sucker for a good hydration pack. Call me a nerd, but I love to know all the details about the packs we carry. If we carry it, I’ve tried it on. At least once. The thing about hydration packs that is unique from your other running gear, is that you can get along with a not-so-great one and be just fine. However, once you find one that fits so perfectly you are thrilled to wear it for 3, 5, 10 hours, your life is forever changed. And guess what? Unlike shoes, you won’t have to replace it every 3 months! It’s an investment in your running future, and a very worthwhile one.

I was so excited for the new Salomon packs to come in this spring. I mean, you all saw the pictures of Kilian at Hardrock, rocking the Sense Ultra Pack, right? Well, when we got the pack in, I immediately tried it on. It was nothing short of amazing. Remember how I said I’ve tried on every pack we carry? Well, no other pack has EVER fit this perfectly. As a bonus, it comes in 4 sizes, so it will now fit a variety of body shapes. Here’s what I love about it:

The Fit: It feels like you are wearing a second shirt. Or, as I prefer to say, it feels like you are wearing a hug. The material is so soft and light. It stretches perfectly and moves with your body, achieving its design concept of being worn shirtless (for you men out there), and chafe-free comfort for all.

The Lightness: It’s so light that you have to remind yourself that you are wearing it, which is especially great news when running in warm weather. Even though it only comes in black, it’s so light you won’t sweat nearly as much as compared to most other packs (Sense Set Pack aside, which is just a whole different level of light).

The Capacity: Just enough for the basics. This isn’t a great choice for your three day long mountaineering excursion, but it’s perfect for racing, or training runs that don’t exceed 30 miles (pending weather conditions). Also, unlike almost any other pack, you can access the side pocket with a single hand, and easily reach into the pocket with the same hand. No reaching around your waist to hold the pocket while trying to use the zipper and then twisting and turning to get your gels. Also, the back pocket can fit two large soft flasks and are both very accessible. The only disappointment for me is that the pack doesn’t fit a reservoir. Call me “old school” because everyone else is riding the soft flask bandwagon now anyway.

The Fashion: Let’s be honest. You wear this bad boy, you own that trail.