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  1. #1
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    Running vests for MTB

    Hi,

    The bottom line question I have is: why do MTBers don't use running vests?

    "Usual" camelbak backpack: e.g. Camelbak Rogue 2.5L
    Typical running vest: Salomon Advanced Skin 5L (or smaller), Ultimate Direction TO Race Vest 3.0, Nathan Sport VaporKrar 4L, etc.

    They are way more comfortable than the usual Camelbak backpacks, they don't have the secondary slap (when you land or go over bumps), and are designed to be accessed without taking off. They are part of the basic gear in ultra-running, yet I never saw anyone wear it on the bike (when I wear it people ask me about it).

    Is it just that people in MTB world are so unaware of this gear option or is there a reason against the vests that I don't see?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    It certainly looks like a viable alternative for certain kinds of riding.

    I don't just blindly buy MTB-specific stuff. If it does the job I don't care where it's from. I wear normal shorts, use road tops for MTB and used golf gloves at one point.

    Having stuff in front pockets might be a problem in some circumstances. You're in a more bent over position when riding, your arms are out and your body is getting jostled around a lot more. Bulky items out near your arms might be annoying and I can see things flying out of the pockets. Also, if you fall off you very often land on your front, which might really hurt!

  3. #3
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    Running vests for MTB

    I do. I wear a Ultimate Direction vest most of the time. I only carry water in it for long rides or backpacking. The pockets in front are the big benefit to me.


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  4. #4
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    The main thing I like about a Camelbak is that I can easily drink with very minimal hand off the bar time as I ride twisty, rooty trails. It looks like the runner's vest would require more hands off time. Or are they available with a flex straw system?
    There are two types of people in this world:
    1) Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Or are they available with a flex straw system?
    You can use the vest with a bladder, or flex straw from the front flasks (as you write), or nothing, or both. The difference is that vests carry bladders/flasks much better (I think) than backpacks - vests literally feel like clothes (no bouncing & slapping). Also, vests sit a bit higher on the back, so I can still carry things in my jersey pockets. Which I can't with my Camelbak backpack.

    Lack of hands-free operation is probably not the reason why they are unpopular in the mtb world... But thanks for pointing it out as I took it for granted and haven't thought about it.

  6. #6
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    Huh, interesting. I'm also a trail runner and wasn't familiar with those. I still use the belts that hold water bottles, I have a Camelback that holds a large bottle and a belt that holds two smaller flasks. But I don't run all that far and unfortunately, my running has been way down this summer. As you probably know, the belts tend to be a bit bouncy with the bottles. I have my son's old kid's mtb Camelbak with a small bladder I thought I'd try running some time but haven't tried it yet, but those running vests look like they would be nice.
    There are two types of people in this world:
    1) Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

  7. #7
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    It's good to think laterally. Many of the cycling products we take for granted did not exist a few years ago or are an evolution of other things. A pack that incorporates some of the features of these running vests might appeal to a lot of riders. Who knows, maybe one day they'll be the norm.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Who knows, maybe one day they'll be the norm.
    That's what my guess would be. I'm just checking if there's a known reason why the vests are actually bad. A few reasons that I thought people might mention are:
    1. Vests (to be comfy) are made of materials that would tear easily if you fall on the rocks/tarmac/gravel/etc. So that could potentially be expensive (though it hasn't happened to me yet).
    2. Vests sit a bit higher on the back, so maybe people would assume that they tip over and knock your helmet from behind when you lean forward (quite often on mtb). But it doesn't happen with my vest at all.

    Anyways, maybe it really is just the lack of overlap between the running & mtb crowds. I guess we'll see soon, as you wrote.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by srobik View Post
    That's what my guess would be. I'm just checking if there's a known reason why the vests are actually bad. A few reasons that I thought people might mention are:
    1. Vests (to be comfy) are made of materials that would tear easily if you fall on the rocks/tarmac/gravel/etc. So that could potentially be expensive (though it hasn't happened to me yet).
    2. Vests sit a bit higher on the back, so maybe people would assume that they tip over and knock your helmet from behind when you lean forward (quite often on mtb). But it doesn't happen with my vest at all.

    Anyways, maybe it really is just the lack of overlap between the running & mtb crowds. I guess we'll see soon, as you wrote.
    This is a really good thread topic as I've been getting back to the old fanny pack in the hotter weather. It forces me to pack lighter, too. The fanny pack carries 44-50oz + tools and phone. No room for tubes or a lot of extra food, so there are some compromises (trade off one bottle for a storage cannister, or plan for water stops). A vest might be just the thing.

    As far as cons to the vest, my CamelBak is packed so that even my tools are fairly flat, so it offers a good level of protection for my back (plus a downright luxurious amount of cargo). Landing on full water bottles might not be horrible in a vest, but nothing like landing on a nice soft bladder. It is HOT, though.

    I am shopping some of those collapsible bottles/flasks, too. I'm sure there's a magic combination that will work for me - a vest might be part of it.

    -F

    PS - a buddy does use a minimal vest and is never caught without his necessities.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  10. #10
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    I saw quite a few pro racers at the Carson City Off-road wearing running vests on the 50 mile ride... a couple of them swapped out empty vests for full ones at the aid station and didn't even stop! I do own a running vest but I tend to stick with a MTB specific pack for the storage space. I suppose if you keep your spare tube and tools on the bike instead of a pack and if you don't need to carry armour or layers then a running vest would be a good fast and light solution.

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  11. #11
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    I'm definitely interested in this, and was looking at this Lanzon hydration pack.: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XF27TY5/

    Anyone have any experience with these? Seems like the best of both worlds, carrying stuff in front for easy access (like keys when I get back from a ride or phone during the ride) while still giving you the flexible tube and bladder system.

  12. #12
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    I've been wearing the basic (a couple of small pockets at most) 3L water capacity Camelbaks since the 90s, at least when I can't fit everything on my bike. I only recently saw vests, and assumed they wouldn't allow the front of my shirt to breathe/dry as well. I like the idea that they might not bounce as much, but I can tighten my Camelbak straps, so I didn't see a clear reason why I should ditch a backpack, which I don't love wearing since my back can't breathe, and buy something that covers my back and front.

  13. #13
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    I enjoy those short rides when I leave the hydro-pack off, but most the time I wear it. Wouldn't a vest be warmer? The straps of a pack don't stop air flow.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeggs1993 View Post
    I've been wearing the basic (a couple of small pockets at most) 3L water capacity Camelbaks since the 90s, at least when I can't fit everything on my bike. I only recently saw vests, and assumed they wouldn't allow the front of my shirt to breathe/dry as well. I like the idea that they might not bounce as much, but I can tighten my Camelbak straps, so I didn't see a clear reason why I should ditch a backpack, which I don't love wearing since my back can't breathe, and buy something that covers my back and front.
    Yeah, cool. I didn't think of the "warmth" argument. In the north of Sweden, that's not a disadvantage . Warmer than a backpack though? Maybe...

  15. #15
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    I have been riding with the Camelbak Chase vest for the last couple of months. I think it breathes better than my larger Osprey pack. Holds enough gear and water for 2-4 hour rides.

  16. #16
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    Cool, so Camelbak makes vests now too. I should have checked . But good to hear that there are more of us who use running vests for mtb. I really haven't met anyone biking with a vest.

  17. #17
    Jim Dunks
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    I am using an Osprey 1.5L running vest. It has been great. I enjoy less weight on my back and it breaths well. I do carry my tube and lever on the bike. Everything else is in the pack. I use it every chance over my big pack just for weight and heat reasons mostly. If its an all day ride or need to pack clothes the Camelbak is put back in service!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpdemello View Post
    I'm definitely interested in this, and was looking at this Lanzon hydration pack.: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XF27TY5/

    Anyone have any experience with these? Seems like the best of both worlds, carrying stuff in front for easy access (like keys when I get back from a ride or phone during the ride) while still giving you the flexible tube and bladder system.
    Given the low price, you won't waste much money even if you really dislike it from the start. But here are a few observations: it has many straps that will make noises when going over rough terrain or when moving too much (notice that all rubber bands have plastic endings that will whip around as you ride/move). Compare that to e.g. this: https://goo.gl/szMDCH. Also, the Lanzon vest is still backpack-ish in the sense that it's not like a piece of clothing, but rather like a backpack (it's not elastic so when you breathe out (for instance), it'll become loose for that moment). In other words, it'll be "hanging on you" like a backpack, not "hugging you" like a vest. Elastic materials have the advantage that they're never too tight and never too loose. So with the Lanzon, you might get a limited vest experience. Just my suspicion though!

    If you end up buying it, come back and let us know how you like it! Thanks

  19. #19
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    Anyone try any of the larger “vest” designs?
    Leatt: Hydration Cargo 3.0 DBX
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