Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Multi-stage race backpacks (part 4)

This is the fourth part of a four-part review of packs for multi-stage races (part 1part 2, part 3).

Last year I prepared a series of posts reviewing the options for multi-stage race backpacks as I have been trying to figure out the best options and features that we need to look for in a backpack. Everyone has their own ideas on what to use and most packs receive a few modifications before arriving at the start line. This is another post in the series with two new packs.

The two packs were used by my friends Kyle and Fernando during this year's Atacama Crossing. Kyle has run in the Marathon des Sables before so he has refined his equipment strategy and used the Inov-8 Elite 25l in the Atacama. Fernando raced in his first multi-stage race in the Atacama and chose to use the Lafuma Raid 30l.

With these additional options the backpack reviews cover packs from 17l up to 30l across multiple brands so there are lots of options to consider.


Kyle McCoy and the Inov-8 Elite 25l


1. What pack did you use during the race?
I used the Inov-8 Race Elite 25l for the Atacama Crossing and the Race Elite 20l for the Marathon des Sables.

2. Did the pack have enough capacity for all your gear?
Yes. I would have used the 20l version for the Atacama and the 15l version for the Marathon des Sables. I was worried I would be cold and hence the extra 5l for the Atacama.

3. What was the final weight of your pack and hydration system (without water)?
The final weight with water was 17.5lbs. This is 7.9kg so about 6.5kg without water.

4. How did the pack fit and ride while you were running?
The pack fits extremely well, riding comfortably against my back.

5. What did you use for hydration (front bottle, bladder, etc)?
I used two front water bottles and a platypus that I carried on the long sections.

6. Did you use the external pockets on the pack? What for?
I didn't use any external pockets - in fact, I cut them all off and really trimmed down the pack to make it extremely light.

7. Did anything break on your pack during the race?
Nothing has ever broken on my Inov-8 packs - they are extremely durable.

8. Would you recommend the pack and would you use it again?
Yes!


Fernando Valdivieso and the Lafuma Raid 30l


1. What pack did you use during the race?
Lafuma Raid 30 - light, great capacity and adjustable. Additionally it's adjustable.

2. Did the pack have enough capacity for all your gear?
Absolutely. The capacity was sufficient to carry my equipment, food and a few things that after the race I realized I shouldn't have carried! Still, every load felt light and comfortable.

3. What was the final weight of your pack and hydration system (without water)?
According to the official scale at weigh-in it was 10kg, but with an electronic scale it weighed 8.9kg. I think that was the real weight without water.

4. How did the pack fit and ride while you were running?
Very comfortable. It adjusted to my body which prevented any skin damage to my back or shoulders.

5. What did you use for hydration (front bottle, bladder, etc)?
Two front bottles of 500cc each.

6. Did you use the external pockets on the pack? What for?
Yes. In the large rear pocket I carried my sleeping bag and in the side pockets a few things that I needed quick access to.

7. Did anything break on your pack during the race?
No.

8. Was there any specific feature that you particularly liked?
The large rear pocket was a perfect size. In this pocket I carried my sleeping bag and some clothes. Also the strap adjustment system that allows you to increase or decrease the size of the backpack to the needs of the race or load.

9. Was there anything that you would change about the pack?
Include a pocket that closes with a zip on the right of the waistbelt the same as the one on the lefthand side. There is a perfect space for it there.

10. Would you recommend the pack and would you use it again?
Absolutely! I'm already recommending it for the brave runners who are getting excited for the 2014 Atacama Crossing.

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