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Silva Strive Light 5 hydration vest review: built for running at night

A pack with useful features for night running, the Silva Strive Light 5 has lots of reflective detail and a handy headlamp battery pocket

Silva Strive Light 5
(Image: © Silva)

Our Verdict

A well-designed pack for night running and other adventures in colder climes with lots of reflective detail and a very useful headlamp battery pocket.

For

  • • Battery pocket for headlamp
  • • Bracket to attach rear light
  • • Bottles included (2 x 240ml)

Against

  • • Small bottles and bottle pockets
  • • Narrow bottle openings

Silva Strive Light 5: first impressions 

The Silva Strive Light 5 is a really well-designed, good-value 5L vest with a lot of good features, especially for night running with a headlamp (perhaps not surprising, since Silva are best known for their high-quality head torches and compasses). 

To help you run further in the dark for longer Silva have a battery pocket high up in the back compartment and you can thread the cable through either of the shoulder straps (the same hole as for the hydration bladder tube, if needed). This means you can use a super-bright headlamp (like the Silva Trail Runner Free) with a heavier battery (so a longer, brighter burn time) without wearing it on your head. 

There’s also a clip to hook a light to on the back of the pack for even more visibility, plus reflective details to keep you safe on road sections and city commutes. 

Silva Strive Light 5

A place for everything and everything in its place (the bottles are on the small side, though) (Image credit: Silva)

Two soft bottles are included, but they are a smaller than the bottles on other vests at 240ml each rather than the usual 500ml; their openings are also narrow making it harder to refill them or pour electrolyte or energy powders into them. One great feature is the stretchy, dual-access rear pocket at the base of the main compartment, which you can access with either hand on the move and shove a jacket inside quickly and securely.

So the Silva Strive Light 5 certainly looks like it should be up there in contention with the best running backpacks and best hydration vests, but how did it fare under test conditions? Read on…

Specifications

• RRP: $98 (US) / £75 (UK)
• Weight (without bottles): 220g / 7.8oz
• Colors: Black
• Capacity: 5L
• Fit: Unisex
• Sizes: XS/S, M, L/XL
• Compatibility: Short or full days out and night running in the mountains

Silva Strive Light 5: on the trails 

Night running is definitely made a lot easier with the Strive Light 5, as not many other packs feature a small pocket at the top of the main compartment to put a heavy super-bright headlamp battery in, so that is a really good shout from Silva. We found this worked really well for commuting in the dark winter months, and also running through the night on longer ultra events and mountain adventures where we had to have a bright enough headlamp to navigate with. 

Fit-wise, this vest is unisex, but there is a choice of three sizes that will cover most people and we found it comfortable with the adjustable chest straps and stretch fabric. 

It would be better if you were able to fit 500ml bottles in the bottle pockets up front with wider mouths, as the pack does support longer adventures otherwise (with trekking pole loops, plentiful stretchy front and side pockets, and the aforementioned headlamp battery pocket). Possibly this is one for night running in winter or colder climes (like Sweden) when you don’t need quite as much water, or events with a good amount of aid stations for refills.

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.