REVIEW: Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set Trail Running Vest Pack
Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set vest pack: The Magic Pudding of Trail Running
I used to be a camel. I would pride myself on my ability to guzzle fluids before I headed out the door on a long run. Off I would trot, my stomach sloshing and multiple layers of thermals & rain jackets wrapped around my waist. Despite my proud claim of rivalling one of the slowest species in the animal kingdom, unlike the camel I found I had a lifespan on a training run or race of around 2.5 hours. My water stocks didn’t seem to last as well as my humped animal role model, my jacket would begin to unravel and flap around my legs, energy levels would begin to dip and the negatives stemming from discomfort would start to set in. My world had become limited by my inability to rival the camel. Until… I was given my Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set vest pack in 2014. Gone are my camel days!
I have now owned my Sense Ultra Set Vest pack for 2 years. It has been on literally hundreds of runs, been my go-to for every single ultra race, my companion on missions and a survivor of the brutality of my washing machine on a weekly basis. However, what confirmed this vest pack as my best friend in my trail world was the mission I completed with it on the Tasmanian Overland Track last winter.
This Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra Set trail running vest pack is deceptive. It is comprised of a mesh lining with a stretch sleeve on the outside, and multiple small pockets on the front. There are also two zip pockets built into the pack under the arms. When you look at this pack, you assume that you might get a thermal and possibly a rain jacket squished into it. However, on my wintery 65km traverse of the Overland Track last summer my trusty vest pack carried:
- A down jacket with hood
- Lightweight raincoat
- A thermal top & pants
- Spare socks
- Spare t-shirt
- Body glide
- Comprehensive first aid kit
- 1L of fluid in Salomon Soft Flasks (you can restock at various points on the trails)
- A mobile phone
- A day’s worth of running nutrition plus spares
- Money & car keys
Yes, on this day my pack had become the magic pudding of trail running.
That said, this pack is absolutely ideal for Skyrunning and any race with less mandatory gear requirements. I have used it comfortably & successfully in: the Buffalo Stampede, Dolomitii & Hong Kong Sky Races; the Surf Coast 50km; and a road marathon. Full or empty, this pack can be the carrier of your nutrition & hydration, or your life’s possessions.
- Super lightweight
- 2x 500ml Salomon Soft Flask on the front
- Endless pocket space on the front & under the arms for nutrition, hydration and other vital possessions
- 2x expandable pockets on the back that just keep expanding
- Very little bounce, especially when full
- A small zip pocket for valuables such as keys
- Can wash it as frequently & simply as an item of clothing
- Packs up tiny so can use it when travelling
- Multifunctional for training, racing and ultra running
- Best to use it with a t-shirt to prevent chaffing
- The XS/Small size is on maximal tightening on me (very small girls might struggle to get it tight enough)
- It wouldn’t hold enough mandatory gear for an ultra distance event such as the Ultra Trail Australia 100km where you may have to carry larger fluid volumes and additional items such as fleeces etc.
- It can only hold 1L maximum fluid capacity