A fantastic, durable and comfy dual-capacity running pack for short and long runs, with two soft-bottle storage and two pole attachment options.
Two packs in one - 5L or 12L
Bottles included (2 x 500ml)
Bottles fit in higher or lower front pockets
Plenty of easily accessible pockets
Two options for pole attachments
Easy to clip extension pack on and off
Heavier than average
Rear pole elastic hard to fit both poles into
Smallest size still not small enough for slimmer, smaller runners
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inov-8 Ultrapac Pro 2in1: first impressions
The inov-8 Ultrapac Pro 2in1 is a fantastic update to the Inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1, which earned a place our best hydration packs guide. It’s a wonderfully versatile pack for all runners – now you don’t have to invest in one small 5L vest plus a larger 12L vest for carrying more kit (for, say, when winter comes). One pack does both.
• List price: $135 (US) / £160 (UK)
• Weight (size S) incl. bottles: 444g / 15.7oz
• Colors: Black
• Capacity: 5L / 12L
• Fit: Unisex
• Sizes: S, M & L
• Compatibility: Everything! Short, fast races or ultras and multi-dayers in all locations from local park land to remote mountainside
The most significant update is how easy it is to fix the 7L extension compartment to the 5L vest – it used to be fiddly with cold hands or running gloves on, but now it’s a very easy, thanks to a new long slider plus a popper to further secure the two together.
As with the previous pack you can carry the two included 500ml soft bottles in either the higher front pockets or lower front pockets (a location particularly comfy for larger-chested ladies). There are also two different attachments for carrying poles, either down the sides of the shoulder straps or across the back in wide elastic loops.
This running pack is a little heavier than average for the size. However, the material feels very robust and strong. The fit is good, with inov-8’s new zoned stretch areas at the back and around the waist. But, as with the previous incarnation, we feel they should also make a size XS to cater for smaller, slimmer runners.
inov-8 Ultrapac Pro 2in1: on the trails
We really like the increased ease with which you can change the pack from 5L to 12L. It really feels like inov-8 have listened to feedback from runners and addressed the difficulty of attaching and detaching the extension pack with the old inov-8 Race Ultra Pro 2in1, and they’ve streamlined the process in the new UltraPac Pro 2in1.
The slider and popper system is so intuitive and easy to use, it means you can now seriously consider using the 7L extension as a drop bag and attaching it mid-race, should you want. The previous smaller capacity was also 2L, so this increase to a more useful 5L was great for shorter runs close to home on the muddy Lincolnshire fields, while the extra 7L got me through longer training runs for the Manx Mountain Marathon 50k. Being a tester with boobs up front I also very much enjoy the lower-front pockets option for the soft bottles. The bottles now also have a tapered end, which makes them easier to insert into whichever front pocket you decide upon.
The price is high, yes, but you do get two very useful and robust packs in one, with recycled content in all the main materials. The side pole attachments are useful for when you’re actually running, but the wide elastic loops at the rear are harder to poke poles into – you’d be very adept if you could manage this while running. These would be easier to use if they were adjustable straps as they’re quite tight to thread both poles into.
You don’t really feel the weight being slightly on the higher side as you run because the pack molds well to the body. I just feel there could also be an XS size; I tested the size S, and at a size 12 I was by no means the smallest, slimmest runner out there.
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.