Inov8 Race Pac 25 & Frontpac 2 a review
Those kind guys at Inov8 gave me a Race Pac 25 and Frontpac 2 combo so I could train in it , then test it in the Marathon Des Sable , its not due in the country until the end of March and as a huge Inov8 fan I was delighted to get my hands on one , I have loved their kit since I bought a 12L Race Pro hydration sack for my mountain bike years ago , now I use their socks , shoes and love their rucksacks , however I use a lot of kit from some very good equipment brands and I wont be blinded by the fact its Inov8 , so if it doesn’t measure it wont be coming to the Sahara with me.
My first impression of the sack when it arrived was that it appeared very nicely styled , as does all of Inov8s new gear , it is robust and very well made , especially given its light weight , the front pack appeared light and an unusual shape but once fitted to the sack it all becomes clear as to fit and purpose ….. Inov8 know how to innovate!!!!
Since then I’ve knocked several long 25 mile + off road days and a few short fast 10 mile country lane runs, it has excelled itself and I just love some of its little “inov8-tions”, I especially like the diagonal side pocket/ bottle holders and have found them to be perfect for carrying 2 race bottles on long runs, they are so easily accessible that I cant see the need for shoulder holders for anything short of a desert race.
Externally the sack looks very nice , light weight yet tough rip stop being the main fabric , it has 3 stretch close knit mesh pockets , the 2 afore mentioned diagonal bottle holders and 1 large centre pocket for additional gear or just quickly stashing a coat between rain showers , not that I will have to worry about that in the Sahara !It has a large zipped pocket on the lid and there are compression straps that work very well, I put all my MDS kit in minus the food and it cinched perfectly, so no kit bouncing around on the last few days!!
It has a padded back and cooling mesh on the outer , although the weather is not exactly warm I’m sure it will be as good as the race pro series and it is definitely comfortable to wear , even with a 9kg load I was happy enough after 20 mile of running.
Internally it has a large separate bladder pocket and an inside lid pocket, its 25 litres appears way bigger than my Race Pro 22 and it’s taken my MDS equipment easily, those of you with less technical equipment than me might find the 32 litre version a better option though.I tested the bladder pocket and was able to fit even my largest 3 litre bladder in it easily and there is probably room for a smaller double bladder approach if that’s your thing.The shoulder straps are similar to the Race Pro sacks and are very comfortable and even with a 9kg load I didn’t have any comfort problems on my runs, they have a new clip on them, this is for easy fitting and removal of the new bottle holders and front Pac, it works very well, its easy and they physically click into place so as there is no straps to come loose , once it is clipped in, its in!! The new bottle holders have the same system and they integrate beautifully with the Frontpac , they also have a nice position where I can adjust them perfectly to allow me to drink from my camelbak performance bottles without stooping my head.
The new Front Pac is a thing of genius and when I first looked at it even I was wondering slightly but you slot it easily into the new clips , the waist strap goes through it and it just moulds to your body when you put your sack on , it has a clip on one side that allows it to come off easily , it has 3 pockets and a hidden map sleeve built into the design … fabulous is the only word I want to use , it really is !!! the 3 pockets allow you to balance your gear out , separate it and access it easily , the map pocket is sweet sitting down the back of the3 front pockets and best of all it just doesn’t bounce ..and you can fit this beauty onto all of their sacks , I will still be using this for any significant days out well after the MDS is over Im sure ,and definitely for mountain biking as well.
I have tried the Omm , Salomon and AArn packs , all are excellent but the Racepac25 is a little bit special so it will definetely be the one that is coming to the desert with me ……
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