Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L ReviewAugust 26, 2015
- Giant storage compartment
- Lightweight, simple design
- Cool, breathable mesh for hot weather
- Weather-resistant fabric
- Sternum straps not height-adjustable
- Hydration tube needs improvement
- Limited front access pockets
The simple Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L keeps loads streamlined, with a cavernous, top-loading storage compartment, 2-liter reservoir, and a few small, front-access pockets for essentials. It rides comfortably, but lacks a few of the bells and whistles that comparable packs boast.
The Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L feels virtually weightless on the back, thanks to ultralight ripstop nylon fabric and minimal features. Available in two sizes (S/M and L/XL), it accommodates a variety of body types. An innovative cinch-cord at the rear acts as a load compressor for the entire pack. One major drawback to fix in the future: the two sternum straps are not height-adjustable. For some female runners, they fall directly and uncomfortably over the chest.
The main storage capacity of the Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L lies in the top-loading rear compartment that cinches shut with a drawstring. This compartment is cavernous, and can fit a broad range of clothing layers, food, water, headlamp, emergency supplies, and other goodies. A small zip pocket at the top keeps keys separate and safe. The large, stretchy mesh pocket at the rear allows for stashing an additional layer or two. Along the front straps, the pockets are far smaller; with no side stash pockets, the on-the-go-access storage capacity was limited in comparison to comparable packs.
Like many other packs aiming to be contenders for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc crowd, the Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L comes with a small, integrated whistle that tucks into a pocket along the front right strap. One zippered front pocket holds small- to mid-sized smartphones, though it’s a tight squeeze. The dual front mesh pockets are great for stashing snacks or energy flasks; they’re not quite large enough for full-size bottles. The pack was wanting for trekking-pole attachment options.
Simple does it! The Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L comes with an excellent 2-liter reservoir that’s easy to refill, drink from, empty and clean—thanks to a detachable hose and well-designed bite valve. The drink hose tracks along the shoulder strap when trimmed to fit.
Though the Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L was designed as an ultrarunning pack with input from Patagonia’s ultra athletes, it easily works for other sports as well—ideal for everything from cycling to paddling to day hiking to Nordic skiing. The lack of zipper closures on the rear compartment (it cinches, instead, with a bungee) keeps it easy to operate in cold weather with gloves on. Water-resistant fabric is a bonus.