We have chosen a very special athlete to test this pack and a great example of an all-round trail runner. TomĂˇs TomĂˇs, at seventy years old, is a keen trail runner and mountaineer. He is the father of one of our colleagues here at Barrabes, and is well-known for his passion and knowledge of the world of mountaineering. His years of experience also include skiing and duathlon competition.
His participation in the Aneto Marathon is proof that his devotion to the mountains has not diminished over the years. The experience he has gained also allows him to balance performance and pleasure and appreciate small details that may be missed by younger or inexperienced runners.
CAMP TRAIL VEST LIGHT TEST
TomĂˇs took out the vest for a test and shares his impression with us here:
â€śThis is the second vest pack I have used for training and long-distance mountain running. The previous one was very efficient, but I also found it a little too tight and uncomfortable as well as lacking in load capacity. I understand that for those who want a place on the podium or to beat their personal best, it is efficient, but for me its discomfort outweighed its benefits and this affected my performance and more importantly, my enjoyment.
When I first put on the Camp Trail Vest Light, I immediately noticed that there were no side adjusts, just front waist and chest straps, which felt much more comfortable than the previous vest. There was no feeling of tightness in the torso, since the adjust was now divided between the chest and waist. I felt that the pack was more comfortable as soon as I put it on, but whether this would hold when put to the test, remained to be seen.
During activity. Stability and support:
The first time I used this pack, I went running in the hills nearby and was pleasantly surprised by how stable the pack was. I wasnâ€™t carrying a very heavy load, but it was enough to realise that as most of the gear holders and pockets were on the front, the back was almost empty. It was like running without anything on my back, yet I had all I need on the front; energy bars, water, my mobile, nothing was missing.
The mesh back panel is highly breathable and allows good air flow.
It took me a while to get used to adjusting the bottle holders and I still havenâ€™t mastered the toggle system, but others who have tried this system have had no trouble.
I really liked the quick and easy front strap openings. You just pull the red levers on the waist and chest straps, shown in the photos.
The following weekend, I went running again, but this time to the Pyrenees, which meant I needed to carry things like warm clothing and would have a greater load.
Here, I noticed a slight problem with the pack, which has since been resolved.
I donâ€™t usually carry a reservoir unless I run long distances, and less so with this vest that has so many handy water bottle holders. Before setting off, I put a fleece and lightweight waterproof jacket into the pack along with some food and my wallet.
However, when I started to run, I felt the pack was slightly unstable and soon realized that this was because the hydration sleeve against my back was empty. This was maybe due to the more limited strap adjustment system. It wasnâ€™t much, but it was noticeable.
The solution was simple: when youâ€™re not carrying a reservoir, the load needs to be distributed between the two rear compartments. As the hydration sleeve panel is made of mesh, itâ€™s better to put something like your waterproof jacket in the sleeve or anything else that wonâ€™t absorb perspiration.
The following weekend, I ran the Aneto Marathon and this time the pack showed no signs of instability, because I had filled and compressed the pack with the reservoir and other gear. So this problem only seems to occur if the pack is â€śhalf loadedâ€ť.
The pole carry system is something I found quite ingenious, although I prefer to use one of the other two systems.
Nowadays, most trail runners use ultra-light, foldable poles. The pack has an ingenious system for carrying them horizontally on the lower back. This is the best place; itâ€™s comfortable and stable. And it also allows them to be removed quickly, without stopping.
In my case, I donâ€™t usually use poles and if I do (only once with this pack), they are traditional, lightweight poles. And carrying them horizontally would mean they stick out too much at the sides, which would clearly be a problem on narrow paths and for other runners.
I therefore used the more traditional pole attachment system, by attaching the sticks vertically to one side. This is just as efficient and can also be used without stopping.
In this video, you can see how the pack and all of its features function. It also shows all three pole holder systems and how the poles can be attached without folding or stopping.
Other features include front and rear reflective elements and a loud whistle which is easy to reach.