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Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1 Vest review: running pack, race vest or both?

Double up with the durable and versatile Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1 Vest, which can be extended from light run 2L capacity to a 12L ultra beast

Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1 Vest
(Image: © Inov-8)

Our Verdict

A versatile, durable, two-in-one, unisex pack for short and long runs, with multiple soft bottle storage options for the included bottles.

For

  • • Two packs in one
  • • Speed Cup & bottles (2 x 500ml) included
  • • Bottles fit in higher or lower front pockets
  • • Plenty of easily accessible pockets

Against

  • • Heavier (larger capacity)
  • • Only available in two sizes
  • • One color only
  • • There’s a knack to clipping the extension pack on and off

Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1: first impressions 

The Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1 Vest is a fantastic option if you want a durable, versatile pack to allow you to do short runs with minimal kit (2L) and longer ultras or fastpacking outings with up 12L of equipment using the extension pack. 

It is a little tricky working out how to clip the 10L extra section on and off (as a last resort I had to read the instructions) but once you know how it’s very simple (albeit still fiddly to do with big gloves on or with cold, numb hands, so decide on the capacity before you run and stick with it). 

This running pack / race vest is heavier than any of the packs we tested for our best hydration packs buyer’s guide, owing to its larger capacity. It’s also made with a heavier-duty durable fabric, so it should last forever, which you definitely want with a pack at this price. 

You do get a lot for your dollar, though: two packs in one; the bottles can be used in the higher front pockets and the lower front pockets using the long drinking straws (great for larger-chested ladies wanting to spread the load up front); two 500ml bottles included, plus a reusable water cup (the Speed Cup) for quickly dipping into streams or filling up at checkpoints. 

It would just be good to have one smaller size option on this unisex pack to cater for slimmer frames, though.

Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1

The smaller, 2L pack, without the extension (Image credit: Inov-8)
Specifications

• RRP: $125 (US) / £150 (UK)
• Weight (without bottles): 345g / 12oz
• Colors: Black
• Capacity: 12L
• Fit: Unisex
• Sizes: S/M, L/XL
• Compatibility: Short, fast races or longer, full days and multi-dayers out in remote, cold hills and mountains

Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1: on the trails 

Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1

The pack with its extra 10L extension on (Image credit: Inov-8)

This running pack / race vest is such a great idea for those who want one pack to do it all. I found the 2L pack perfect for shorter runs close to home, when you just want to carry some water and your phone, with some space left over for when you take your running jacket off after 10 minutes when you realize you should have been bolder and started colder. 

Then, at the weekend or during the holidays, the 10L extension comes in super-handy for long-distance running along the Cornish coastline, or doing an ultra in the freezing mountains of Snowdonia with the bag expanding to fit all the extra layers you need, and tough enough to take a pair of (wrapped up!) microspikes

The only thing we would say is that the zip closure on the extension pack would be better right across the very top, so you could access it more easily while on the move. And it would be nice to have an even smaller option for this pack, to fit slighter frames. I also think that the smaller-pack option would be even more useful at a 5L capacity.

Other than that, we found the generously stretchy front pockets were great, and the option to put the bottles lower down was ideal for those with bigger boobs (especially while breastfeeding!). The Speed Cup was a really nice extra little freebie.

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.