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How to Choose a Running Vest


How to Choose a Running Vest

Running comes with many health benefits and people choose it as a recreational activity because no equipment is required. Not much is needed to start and you can start with running small trails and build your stamina over time. However, once you’re on a more advanced level and you start going on long runs, you’ll discover that there’s nothing more important than proper running gear. It’s essential that you find running shoes and outfits that won’t limit your movements in any way and that are made of durable, high-quality materials that will enable you to give your best. One such piece of equipment that comes in handy on every run is the running vest.

Running- Vest

What Is a Running Vest Used For?

Running vests or hydration backpacks have become an important part of every runner’s gear. They enable you to run for hours without needing to stop for supplies or water. You have everything you need right there with you. These packs look like backpacks but with a much more convenient design that’s specifically made for these kinds of activities. This being said, with the right vest you won’t even feel like you’re wearing something on your back because they don’t bounce and fit your body perfectly. This is why it’s of utmost importance to find the ideal running vest to suit your needs.

Staying hydrated and feeling comfortable is the key to a good run and that’s exactly what you get with a hydration vest. At the front or at the back of the vest, you can fit the amount of water you need. The vests come with different capacities depending on your need and you can choose whether you want to take soft flasks, bladders, or something else. There are also several pockets in the front that you can fill in with anything you need. This should be something that you’ll use more often because it’s easier to access anything that’s in the front.


Since there are numerous different designs, you’ll be able to find pretty much everything you need. There are hydration packs for running with rear and back pockets that will keep a fair amount of food supply and additional clothing you need, such as gloves or a rain jacket. Depending on the material which the vest is made of, you can put the items in a dry bag to make sure that everything’s dry in case of rain or sweat on hot days. 

Choose the Right Capacity

To choose the gear capacity of your vest, consider how much time you typically run or intend to run. You need enough space to take everything you need, especially water. Most vests start at two litres and go up to 12 or even more. If your runs are shorter, like one to two hours, two litres capacity vests are usually enough. Many packs can fit additional bottles or reservoirs that you can purchase if you have a need for more fluid capacity. 

The longer your runs, the larger the vest should be so you can fit more essentials. If the duration of your runs varies, you could purchase hydration backpacks with different capacities or choose one that’s bigger and suitable for all the runs. This is more practical but more space can make the vest move more while you’re running. 

Find the Ideal Fit

The right fit determines the success of the vest. A vest that’s not suited to your body causes discomfort, soreness, and even skin irritation. The packs that are universally sized are usually manually adjusted to fit the specific shape of your body. There are also packs that come in different sizes and the manufacturers provide a sizing guide so you can choose the size for you. These guidelines can vary from brand to brand so make sure that you check those specific to the brand you plan to buy from.


How Should a Running Pack Fit?

The ideal running hydration vest should have a snug fit without limiting arm movement or constricting your breathing. It’s best to try it and if there’s excess fabric on the sides or around the shoulders, it’s probably big. You should feel comfortable when you wear it and any discomfort means that that’s not the vest for you. If there are adjustable straps, they should be somewhere in the middle of their adjustable range when you wear the pack. If you fit the pack and the straps are at one extreme or the other, look for another size.

You could also find vests that are specifically made for women because of their different body shapes. These have narrower shoulders and are larger in the chest area.

Additional Features to Choose for Your Running Pack

When choosing the right design, there are numerous features to consider for your vest.


Extra Pockets

Most vests have more pockets for greater functionality but you need to look at the positioning of the pockets so they’re convenient to use. They can be in different sizes so consider the items that you usually wear with you. Also, the pockets can have different closures, so you should see which ones are more practical for you.

Breathable Panels

Most of the materials will be breathable to allow good circulation of air but if you tend to sweat a lot or run on warm days, look for packs with back panels and straps made of breathable materials that can quickly dry the moisture.

Reflective Material

Reflectivity is important for nighttime runs because drivers or other runners are able to see you. So, if you plan to go running in the dark, consider getting reflective running hydration packs.  

Male hiker in forest

Other Features

Different designs can have other features as well, like trekking pole keepers or whistles for emergencies. This being said, you could make a list of your needs and priorities before buying your vest so you can look for those specific features when choosing.  

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