Back when Jameson and I were first getting into trail running, she purchased an iteration of this vest. Our good friend Frederic Bard was (and still is) a huge Salomon fan, and seeing how much stuff he could carry and get toe with ease was one of the main reasons to try it out at the time. Unfortunately, there were durability issues with the mesh and she went through two vests before going in a different direction. At the time that was enough to also stop me from trying it out. The fact that the soft bottles it came with had a very small opening didn’t help either.
Fast forward to this year, and I heard that Salomon had made great strides in the durability front, the soft bottles had a wide mouth, and ultimately I was in need of a vest that had a little more upfront storage capabilities than my Pace 12. Additionally, they sold a separate storage pouch for poles called a quiver…who doesn’t want something like that? So, I purchased the vest beginning of this year and have been using it ever since.
I am 5’10” about 150 lbs and my chest measurement is 37 inches. I purchased the small based on that, and it seems to have been the right choice. I will get to why I use the word “seems” in a minute. The vest is a vest style and hugs your body. It uses a bungee to secure the vest that seems like it would be too thin but works really well. The only part of secure the vest that takes a little getting used to are the clips on the left side that the bungee clips into. There are two, and they are small and move around a bit as you try to secure the bungee. The easiest way to clip into them was to point them at a 45ish degree angle towards my chest and push the bungee in.
I do also struggle with getting into the side pockets. That could be due to the size, but I am of the opinion that it is due to my having less than the normal range of motion in both arms.
Overall the vest fits like a dream. It is comfortable, well balanced, and have not yet had any chafing issues. Circling back to my comment about it seeming to be the right size, I have had one durability issue with a seam starting to come undone on the right-hand strap near the zipper pocket. Whether that is due to the vest being too small for me so that whatever is in that pocket is stressing that seam, I’m not sure. I have been using that pocket to hold my GoPro, and thus it is a pocket a get into often. So the seam unraveling could also be due to the constant zipping and unzipping.
Starting at the front top of the vest, you have two small pockets open at the side with a bungee in each pocket. To give you a sense of the size, I can fit my inReach Mini in one, but only just. Next, you have two long pockets for the soft flasks. These can also fit sunglasses, a GoPro, or other items. That said, putting something small in these pockets is not recommended as it can take some finagling to get it out. Next are two large pockets that you can stuff a bunch of things into. I primarily use these both for my food. In the right-hand pocket, there is a small pouch that I use for trash. Finally, resting on top of the large pockets are two zipper pockets. These also expand and can fit a good amount of stuff. I put my iPhone XR in one, and my GoPro and batteries in the other.
Before we get to the back of the vest, there are two side pockets, one on each side. Now, these pockets open into the rear main pocket, so you can push a whole lot of gear in here. This also is how you clip the bladder hose that threads under your arm into the bladder. I have been storing my Houdini in one pocket and extra food in the other. Depending on the layers I start with, I can stuff them into these pockets as I warm up. I will say that reaching into the pockets is not a super easy thing, and that may be due to the size and/or my range of motion. I certainly have to walk to put things into the side pockets. It is easy to remove things from the pockets in the run, though, so that is a plus.
Moving to the back of the vest and starting at the top, you have the opening for the bladder. The vest comes with an insulated pouch to hold your bladder in. Note that it does NOT come with a bladder. The vest is rated to hold 1.5 liters, but I have been able to get 2 liters into the pouch and into the vest. Using the same opening as the bladder on top there is a separate long pocket with a small pocket at the top it that includes a key holder. For everything else you might want to carry in the back of the vest, there is a long zipper that goes vertically down the right-hand side of the vest. This opens up to a large compartment that I have yet to fill to capacity. There is one additional slash pocket inside here for things you might want to keep separate.
There are bungees along both sides of the main compartment on the back. I have not used them for anything yet, but they would certainly come in handy when the vest is fully loaded. There are also bungees on the bottom of the vest, which could be used to hold poles along the bottom of the vest.
Since this is part one, I have only the following feature request: can you please simplify your naming convention? That would be awesome.
I will provide my overall conclusion in part two. In terms of the fit and function of the vest, I feel like Salomon has really nailed it. It certainly remains to be seen how well it will hold up, but I am loving how comfortable it is in combination with how much storage it has. More to come in Part Two. However, if you do not want to wait until part two, you can purchase directly from Salomon here. I recommend going direct as you will have a broader range of color options.