Running with a pack is something that can be frowned upon by some running traditionalists, but for runs over longer distances and away from civilisation we think they are almost essential. 

The very start of the run at Cape Reinga. Only 3000km to go. Photo: Damiano Levati / The North Face

Here's a quick rundown of some of our favourite running packs out today.

[splitpost intro="true"]

[part title="Raidlight Endurance"]Raidlight




This pack from the french ultra running specialists has won awards for its comfort and features, including the easy to access hip-mounted water bottles. The mesh construction also keeps it very light.

[part title="Osprey Viper 5"]Osprey

Viper 5


Osprey Viper 5

Small and simple, this pack is big enough for a hydration bladder, an extra layer or two and some gels. This also a bit more versatile, and can be used for mountain biking, with a unique helmet attachment. That, coupled with the rugged construction does make it a little heavier though.

[part title="Salomon SLab Advanced Skin Hydro 12 Pack"]Salomon

SLab Advanced Skin Hydro 12 Pack


Advanced Skin Lab Hydro 5L

From the elite S-Lab range of running kit, this is the model of pack used by many of Salomon's sponsored athletes. The 12 litre capacity has enough space for all of the extra kit needed for a mountain race all held securely to the body in a figure-hugging vest-style design. Hydration bladders are done away with with the addition of two flexible water bottles that shrink in size as you empty them, attached to the chest straps.

[part title="Mountain Hardwear Fluid Race Vest"]Mountain Hardwear

Fluid Race Vest


Mountain Hardwear Fluid Race Vest

Is it a pack, or is it a vest? This award-winning pack cleverly keeps the load secured to your bag, with space for on the go essentials in the large front chest pockets. All adjustments can also be made on the fly without taking the pack off too, to keep up comfort levels.

[part title="Inov-8 Race Pro 18"]Inov-8

Race Pro 18


Inov8 Race Pro 18

A big beast of a pack, good for full days of running when you need extra kit. Weight is still kept right down though with breathable, lightweight mesh used where possible. Hydration is taken care of by one of Inov8's unique horizontal hydration bladders tucked into the lumbar region.

[part title="Inov-8 Race Pro 3"]Inov-8

Race Pro 3


Inov8 Race Pro 3

We're big fans of this for intermediate-length runs. It's not a pack at all, but a bum bag style of belt, which keeps your back sweat-free and gives unparalleled freedom of movement. This pack cleverly incorporates a small 1 litre reservoir for on the go hydration without a bottle.