By Whitney Waters

I’ve been looking to replace my outdated packs that just weren’t doing what I needed them to. They bounced. They chaffed. They didn’t always hold what I needed. This pack, though—I tried it on and loved it immediately.  After taking the pack on some longer trail runs and a couple of commute road runs, I’m convinced that this is the only pack I’ll wear from now on.

For a more comprehensive overview about how Salomon Advanced Skin 5 performs, I’ve broken it down into a few categories that are important in a hydration vest:

Fit

The pack comfortably hugs the body so that you don’t even notice you’re wearing it. It fits snugly without being too tight.  I tested it with a water bladder in the back, bottles in the front, and just gear. It is by far the best fitting, most comfortable pack I’ve worn.

Salomon has a size chart that’s pretty accurate to determine best fit. The pack is highly adjustable with both the front sternum strap and side bungee straps. If you’re between sizes, I’d recommend sizing down for a closer fit.

Storage

Plenty of pockets! The side pockets are probably the most unusual and versatile feature. Each side of the vest has open pockets that are perfect for storing nutrition, buffs, or hats. They’re easy to access, and I had no issues with anything falling out of them. For items that need to be more secure, like phones and keys, there’s a large zippered pocket on the lower left front of the vest. It’s a perfect place to store my phone, which rests comfortable against my side with no bounce.

The vest comes with two 500 ml collapsible water bottles that sit against the chest for easy access. They’re a little tough to get in initially, but you can easily drink from them without removing the bottle, which I would recommend.

The back pouch can store a water bladder (not included) and has an insulated pouch to keep water cold. The outermost pocket is stretchy and expandable—perfect for storing a rain jacket or extra layer.

Versatility

This pack would be great for both long and medium-long runs. It holds plenty of water and nutrition for a long trail run but is minimal enough to use on shorter days too. If you had aid/refueling stations available, this pack should be able to get you through a 50 miler. For a long trail run, try pairing with the Salomon Soft Flask XA Filter bottle, and you’re good to go for mile after mile.  

The back of the pack has straps for trekking poles, though I didn’t use this feature.

Material

My only criticism about this pack is the interior fabric. It’s not the softest fabric, and I worried about running in just sports bra for fear of chaffing. However, I can run in a tank top with it, no problem. I did several test runs in this pack in heat and humidity and rainy weather, and my shoulders came out unscathed. The fact that it has little to no bounce reduces the risk of chaffing.

Overall, this pack seems durable. Some packs look and feel cheaply made, and this is not one of them. 

Conclusion

Great all around pack for carrying hydration and gear. Extremely comfortable fit and highly versatile storage that make it a great choice for trail adventures and long runs.

Try it on at Jus’ Running or purchase on our Online Store

Retail Value: $145

Size: XS, S, M, L, XL

  • 2 500ml Soft Flasks Included
  • Weight: Depends on size
  • 2 side compression laces, adjustable on the go
  • Compatible with 1.5l bladder
  • Insulated sleeve
  • 2 front stretch pockets
  • 1 internal bladder sleeve with hanging loop
  • 1 front stretch zipped pocket
  • 2 front flask pockets with secure loops
  • 2 top stretch pockets
  • 1 main stretch compartment with side zip opening
  • 1 back compartment with mesh pocket
  • 1 low back pocket with 2 side access
  • YKK zipper
  • Multiple pole holder solutions
  • Extra reflective loop for lamp
  • Whistle