I've been using this pack for about 3 months now and gosh, how time flies!
It was a last minute decision to purchase the vest for me to use during the Razorback Run as I needed something bigger than my Nathan to carry all the mandatory items and some extras.
The features and technology of the Salomon Skin Pro 10+3 hydration vest can be found on its website, so I won't go much into the details here. It is nice and light at 420gm (on empty). Without utilising the 3L expansion, the 10L is more than sufficient for general use.
|Left: A smaller outer pouch to stash your smaller items.|
Right: The 10L section. The blue zipper opens up an additional 3L.
Unlike some of the Salomon or Ultimate Direction vests with size specifics (based on your chest size), this vest has "no size" and is a one size fits all. You will need to adjust the shoulder straps to fit you better.
The top of the padded shoulder straps have velcro bits allowing you to adjust the length (of the straps) according to your comfort.
However, being petite at 5'3 and liking a snug fit, I have my shoulder straps pulled up high and all the way to the edge of the velcro just to have the vest fit me properly.
Tighten the buckle straps as well and the end result can end up being pretty messy. You will need to fold/knot whatever straps that are sticking out unnecessarily and tuck them in. As long as they don't flap around and slap you in the face or neck, they won't be in your way during a run. :)
I really like the two lateral side storage, yay!
Having used my Nathan pack for so long, I really appreciate the two side pockets. They are made with powermesh and are extendable, yet keeping your items safely in place.
I keep my camera, trail mix, muesli bars, anti-chafe stick, Snickers bars, phone (in freezer bag) and whatever else I need to reach out for during my long trail runs. Sometimes a 600ml bottle of water in one pocket, too.
I find the side pockets so excessible that I have loads of photos of me (caught unawares, of course) reaching in to grab something!
Two chest pockets, yay and nay.
Except when during the Razorback Run, I usually stash one 600ml bottle of water in the right pocket (as mentioned above), and the left one holds my camera and a packet of trail mix.
When I put a bottle each into the chest pockets, that's when I tend to get a bit uncomfortable.
(I think it's just me.)
While running down the trails, I find the bottles bouncing on my chest distracts and weighs me down. I don't know but I just find it ... kinda
It's like having DD jugs.
With sloshing water.
They feel very unstable, as if my boobs are bouncing around unsupported and gawd help me, that the more they bounce, the sooner they will sag and touch my knees.
Bearing in mind that I'm not a very busty lady, I'm not sure whether the busty ones would find this a bit of a bother.
Separate compartment for the bladder, yay nay doesn't matter.
The vest comes with a 1.5L soft bladder with an insulated sleeve. I've set both these items aside to continue using my 2.0L soft bladder from my Nathan. It fits into the compartment just fine.
|Slip your bladder into the compartment.|
As the hose comes out from the top of the bladder, I slide it through one of the shoulder strap sections and to the front. All's good.
If your bladder hose is located at the bottom of your bladder like the one provided for Salomon vests, there is a hidden crevice in your right side pocket to slide your hose out and to the front.
|Me at Lerderderg State Park.|
Nay, where is the 4D pole holder?
There's a YouTube video demonstrating how to clip and hold your poles effortlessly with the pole holder and they make it look sooooo easy.
It's definitely not the same one as the holder on my vest so I won't be able to comment on this.
Not being able to utilise this function, I carry my pole during the races when it is not needed.
Too much dangling bits, NAY!!!
As mentioned earlier, being of a petite frame can be a bit tricky to fit into this vest. I tighten all the straps from top to bottom to ensure that the vest wraps my back snugly and as a result, the end of the straps need a place to go.
They are folded and knotted several times to reduce the flapping.
Do take note that if you have nothing to carry besides a first aid kit in the back compartment as you prefer to stash everything else in your side pockets, the vest will move around too much. I learned this during my Two Bays Trail Run that my lower back was chafed due to the movements of the vest.
|Photo credit: Partnerunning / Couple on the Run|
In the picture above, you can see how the vest twisted and moved according to my body movement when it was empty. I didn't realise my back chafed until I had my shower. Ouch!