It’s been forever and a day since we’ve done a gear review and if truth be told, it’s pretty damn hard trying to review gear properly when you’ve got two businesses to run and three kids to chase. But fear ye not, this is where the Ultra168 Supporter’s come in. They get some gear and we get a review from your average everyday trail runner who gives their good honest opinion about it. Today we review the Compressport Ultrun pack.
That’s just another one of the perks of being a member, if your name gets pulled out of the hat you get some nice swag too. That’s the case with Eemon Marstella, a Sydney-based runner who very kindly reviewed the Compressport Ultrarun pack. Eemon also reviewed some Compressport trail running tights too, which will feature in a separate review. Take it away…
This is a snazzy looking pack in its eye-catching red, white black colour scheme. The unique Compressport Ultrun design and light mesh fabric turns it into a brilliant pack in the heat. Being so lightweight and sparse it covers such a small surface area that I couldn’t fault the pack in terms of breathability and fabric. Did I mention this pack is light? A lot of thought has gone into the design, and being zipper-free removes any potential corrosion issues.
Note that it doesn’t come with any flasks or bladder – I think some flasks at least should be included. It does say 500ml flasks fit, however I couldn’t get a 500ml soft flask to fit properly without bouncing around too much so fill them to around 300ml. The pocket in front of the flask pocket can also be used to store gels. Two full 500ml soft flasks can be stored in the bladder compartment however, and there’s a small horizontal stow-away compartment that you can stuff a jacket, empty soft flasks or rubbish into (the openings are quite small).
I have used the Compressport Ultrun pack on runs up to three hours with a first aid kit, PLB, compression bandage, jacket, gloves and three x full 500ml soft flasks spread between the storage pouch in front of the bladder part of the pack, and in the bladder part. You might be running out of storage space by the time you put a 1.5L bladder in though. Bungee cords on the back for poles are a good addition too.
With the knotted fasteners on the front of the pack I did find that if I initially had the pack sitting too high and was wearing a singlet it would occasionally rub my skin. By lacing the fasteners crossed/shoelace style I found it fitted better and was more comfortable, and most importantly no rubbing. The side pockets (one on each side) are a little on the small side however I could squeeze an iPhone in one side and a few snacks in the the other, and again no need for zippers with Velcro pockets.
The part of this pack I struggled with for the first few runs were the straps either side- you use these to fit it snug to your body and remove the bounce. Every time I tightened them down rachet-style they would work themselves loose and the pack would bounce around. I ended up getting around this by tying off the remainder of the loose strap on either side so they couldn’t slide loose. I think some form of lockable clip would work well here. Once I had this issue sorted it’s snug fit was a treat to run in.
In summary this is a perfect racing pack for a course with closely spaced aids stations, and where you don’t have to carry too much mandatory gear. It’s also a very handy pack for heading out for a couple of hours in summer. I’d love Compressport to task their innovative design team with making another pack in a bigger size capable of carrying more gear for longer sessions.