Gear: Running/ Hydration Vests

Hello everyone!

This weekend we did a trail run through the Cleveland National Forest, starting at Indian Truck Trial. The weather was warm and we planned to run for about an hour and a half, giving us the perfect chance to use our running/ hydration vests!

Jonathyn wears the Black Diamond Distance 4 Hydration Vest:

Black Diamond Distance 4 Hydration Vest.

The Distance 4 pack is incredibly light, breathable, and is the only product of the Distance series to be a full-on vest. It hugs the torso with a flexible and very breathable four-way stretch vapor mesh. All the edges on the pack are lined with BD Stitch-less Edging Tape rather than being sewn. This aids in a more comfortable fit with less irritation during use. 

The D4 pack has a couple of open pockets just below the armpits that are easy-access to smaller items. One more open mesh pocket runs horizontally along the back and opens on both sides which is a perfect spot to stuff a thin windbreaker. Nothing popped out of the pockets on my runs. Two more large pockets make up the main storage. One is zippered and the other open, fitting a 2-liter bladder. I haven’t used the storage space for the bladder because I enjoy using the 500ml flasks that came with the D4. 

One of the features that brought me to the D4, despite the sleek look, was the D4’s z-pole sling. The sling attaches poles to the exterior of the pack with two bungies. One cord pops out of the side pocket underneath the left armpit, and the other from the right shoulder behind the zippered pocket. Attach to either end of the z-poles and adjust for comfort. It’s a simple system that is quickly accessed without taking off your pack and stows away easily when not in use which is the best part.

All packs in the Distance series have the standard safety whistle, keyring, and accommodate a bladder.

There is only one downside I came across for the D4, which was the soft flask security.  When I have full bottles, they bounce more than I’d like. It is only the bottles that bounce, which could be a commonality for packs, but the vest itself stays in place and close to the body..

The D4 is all about bare essentials. It is made for the shorter, faster runs or races. If you’re looking for a running pack for longer treks then maybe look into Black Diamonds other running packs like the Distance 8 or Distance 15 that have more capacity. 

Here is the link to the vest on the Black Diamond website: Distance 4 Hydration Vest | Black Diamond Trail Gear (

Marissa wears the Salomon Active Skin 8 Set Hydration Vest- Women’s:

Salomon Active Skin 8 Set Hydration Vest

This vest is wonderful! The color is fun, the vest looks great, and is absolutely functional. It is shaped to fit women’s bodies and strategically holds water flasks lower on the ribs to ensure a comfortable fit. The sternum strap is unique in that is in an adjustable elastic strap that wraps in a Z shape across the chest. The strap is easily adjustable and is very secure. The vest did not need to be re-adjusted at all during our recent 6 mile trail run.

The vest has five pockets, including the two specifically designed for the included hydration flasks (17 fl. oz.) and secure loops to hold the flask straws. Additionally, the vest has an 8 L. main compartment on the back. The back also has bungee-like cords that can be used to carry additional supplies if needed. There is also a compartment and hanging loop for a hydration bladder, though the bladder is not included.

The vest is extremely comfortable. It moves with your body without bouncing. The sides of the vest do not dig into the skin and chafing isn’t a problem. The vest is very well ventilated, which is ideal for a sweaty run. Finally, the adjustable sternum strap allows for a secure fit, without making it too hard to breathe, or feeling like your chest is constricted.

The only con to the vest is that flask straws and placement of the secure loops fit a bit awkwardly and can hit you in the face, however, this can be mitigated by playing around with the straws to see what works best for you.

Overall, this is an excellent women’s vest and I would highly recommend it!

Here is the link to the vest on REI: Salomon Active Skin 8 Set Hydration Vest – Women’s | REI Co-op

What are some of your favorite pieces of running gear?

Happy trails!

-Jonathyn and Marissa

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