There are various reasons why you may find yourself running for upwards of eight hours at a time. Limiting those reasons to “Voluntary Pain Exposure” you could be training for a big race, running a big race, or just out for the day getting to places that few people ever see.
The Enduro 12L vest is a good option for anyone about to expose themselves to that much “fun”.
Bottom line, I would recommend the Enduro 12L vest for someone interested in long self-supported runs. This vest offers great storage capacity in a reasonably light package. Here are some of the aspects that make this vest a good option for the long runs.
- Pole fixation (rear)
- Speed pole fixation (front)
- Multiple pockets
- Waterproof pocket
- Compatible with bottles (4) and/or a bladder
- Wicking design with Elastic Airmesh
- Elastic, buckle-free lacing lock
- Weight: 289 g
- Price: 80£
Pros: What’s good about the Dynafit enduro 12l Vest
Water carrying capabilities. The Enduro 12L was designed for those who didn’t want to concern themselves with when the next watering hole could be found. There are two quick access bottle holders on the chest and two rear bottle holders on the back.
The bottle holders can fit a variety of bottle types (the vest does not come with Dynafit bottles), but I found that the slightly curved bottles (Amphipod or Ultimate Direction bottles) worked the best.
The pockets are high enough to enable the use of straws so you don’t have to pull the bottle out every time and have a built in elastic clip to fit them to the necessary size.
In addition to the four bottle pockets, the Enduro 12L is able to carry a hydration bladder in the back. The designers made sure to include a Velcro loop to secure the bladder and holes to feed the tube through to the front, making it a primary option not just an afterthought.
Between the bottles and bladder, this vest can easily carry 4 litres of water, not that you would want to make a habit of carrying an aquarium around on your shoulders, but it is possible.
Running pole integration. There are elastic loops on the back to affix your standard poles and then a speed pole pocket on the front. This pocket, when not carrying your poles can collapse.
Pockets. There are two large pockets on either side of the vest which can easily hold multiple gels, large cell phones, or any other readily-accessible kit you may need. The two pockets in the back are large enough to carry food, jacket, gloves hat, etc in case you are headed into the mountains or running in cold weather.
There is also a removable pocket on the front strap which can carry smaller items if necessarily (I took it off and never used it). I did use the waterproof pocket integrated into the larger back pocket to hold first aid materials I didn’t want to get wet.
Fabric. The water resistant fabric is also rip-stop so I didn’t have to concern myself with running through thick brush or undergrowth. I suppose if you don’t get lost as much as I do, that may not be important.
However, if you find yourself “exploring” while out running, you may want to keep this in mind.
Thoughtful design. There were some small design improvements that distinguished this vest from others I have tested.
- The chest lacing lock eliminated the need for a buckle and instead used a “Z” pattern elastic chord. It was easy to adjust and had enough give to keep things comfortable over the long haul.
- The zippers had pull tabs on them so you didn’t have to fumble around trying to find them while wearing gloves.
- A small loop to hang up the vest while not using it. I don’t know why designers skimp in this one area, but having a way to easily hang up a vest is a simple but thoughtful addition. Dynafit didn’t miss it.
Cons: What’s not so good about the Dynafit enduro 12l Vest
While the vest is a good option for those looking for a long-haul option, here are some areas where it could be improved.
The water resistant and rip stop fabric come with their downside, noise. There can be an annoying crinkling which you wouldn’t have with many of the light weight options out there. This may be an area where you have to pick your poison, a silent run with soaking kit, or a little noise with dry kit. You decide.
The Elastic Airmesh on the back was designed to increase airflow, but I found that it was abrasive on bare skin when I tested the vest without a shirt. If you will be wearing a shirt or jacket this probably wouldn’t be an issue.
The design, although unisex, was not good for narrow body types. My wife took it out for a run and found it to be too bulky for her.
The speed pole pocket in the front was a bit confusing for me at first. I don’t use speed poles, so ended up using it to carry food from aid stations and then wrappers when I had finished. This pocket was a wash for me.
The rear bottle pockets are not user friendly. I felt like I was about to dislocate my shoulder trying to pull a bottle out. My way to handle them was to drink from the bottles on the front, then switch them out.
There is no real quick way of doing this on the run unless you are double jointed, but then again, if you are in need of 4 litres of water in a shot, speed is not your biggest concern.
I used the Dynafit Enduro 12L vest in my training for, and running of, the Superior 100 mile race this fall. It carried what I needed, in a comfortable way, for every mile, and still looks good. I will be using this vest again, and I look forward to getting lost in the mountains with it on my back.
First published on RunUltra