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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?
    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  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?
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  20. #20
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    I have a Ultimate Direction Mountain Vest 4, that I picked up for trail running about 2 months ago. I have not used it on a ride, but may give it a go tonight or this weekend. It holds my 3L bladder that I use in my Camelback Lobo that I have ridden with for years.

    Like someone said above, the vest material seems like it would get shredded in a fall and seems for fragile than my Camelback. I will try and report back.
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  21. #21
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    I just got a Camelbak Low rider 10 (LR10) and at first I as 'meh' but now love
    it. no secondary slap anymore.

    magnetic hose clip at first was like 'this is BS' but now I got the move nailed and prefer it, keeps hose outta my way, but ez to grab and place back.

    as well as 'it holds a TON of water' and sits on my hips. easier to make moves in the chunder with this vs normal camelbak with water held higher on back

    the only drawback is I am comparing it to my Mule, which holds more crap I won't need but like to carry. the LR10 holds less, but holds enough.
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  22. #22
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    Does it hold beer(s) tools, sandwiches, snacks, bacon, first aid kit, spare clothes, jacket and such. Pump and folding saw as well?

  23. #23
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Does it hold beer(s) tools, sandwiches, snacks, bacon, first aid kit, spare clothes, jacket and such. Pump and folding saw as well?
    mule, yes, all of the above

    LR10, nope to silky bigboy and sandwiches
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  24. #24
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    It looks like possibly a new direction for some mtb companies that want to take some chances in product design. However, I think they would have to be modified for MTB riding. It would be better to have the ability to hold the water bottle or bottles on the back rather than the front. It looks better than hip packs. I'm not fond of hip packs because they flop around too much if you have a slim waist and if you tighten them more, they overly compress your stomach.

  25. #25
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    Btw, without any modification, you can put a camelbak bladder into some vests (I know about Salomon for instance), and you can keep the front pockets for something else (gloves, hat, gels, etc.).

  26. #26
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    Shimano was making hydration pack similar to the running vest that are more form fitting. However, once filled up, it would bulge like a balloon once the filled hydration bladder put in. It just didn't fit all my stuff comfortable and distribute the items evenly enough. Now with all the options of storing tools on your bike, I may try it out again.

  27. #27
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    Great product picture, Salomon. I'm sold.

    Running vests for MTB-l39267700_4.jpg

  28. #28
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    For those of you using backpacks, I'm one myself, and want a pack with maximum airflow between your back and the pack itself, take a hard look at Dueter's Race EXP Air packs.
    2016 Transition Patrol
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  29. #29
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    Quote Originally Posted by phuchmileif View Post
    Great product picture, Salomon. I'm sold.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have nipples Greg. Can you milk me ?
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  30. #30
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    unless im going to ride 3 hours or more, i just carry 2 water bottles on my bike, multi tool in my pocket

    Camel for longer rides. i dont like hip bags

  31. #31
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    fwiw, these insulated ones work pretty good. ice lasted about twice as long as a reg bottle. paid about $10 at REI


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