A running pack that boasts all the features of a Salomon vest? Project Ultra put the Skin Pro 10 Set to the test
We love the S-Lab Sense Ultra Set but there are times – like when heading for a full day in the mountains – that you may need to take a bit more gear than it comfortably holds. Having tested the Skin Pro 10 Set on a variety of occasions, including a 55k mountain ultra and a winter weekend of running and hiking in the Lake District, we can thoroughly recommend it. It’s a pack that excels in terms of fit, accessibility of gear and weight.
For the sake of full disclosure, we purchased this pack and were not provided it for review purposes.
Here’s the lowdown:
From the back, this resembles a relatively standard running pack. It has a large main holdall with double zip, a side pocket and a bungee cord at the bottom. However, turn it around and it’s immediately clear that this is no ordinary pack. Instead, you get all of the great features of a Salomon vest. That means a comfortable close fit, vest like straps and capacity for most of your smaller items (and your water) from the front. It’s also super light, weighing in at 279 grams (9.8 oz).
When you get the benefit of so much experience like Salomon has with its athletes, you get products that really work to address the frustrations of gear. A key desirable in a pack when out running (or even hiking) is to not have to constantly take it off in order to access your gear. This pack takes the approach of the Sense Ultra Set, with a great selection of pockets and pouches on the front: there’s the usual bottle holders which will hold 2 x 500ml soft bottles, two massive side pockets and two smaller pouches under the bottles. There’s also the main 10 litre compartment at the back and a separate sleeve which has the capacity to take a bladder if you prefer (there’s also an under arm routing system for the water tube).
We were able to fit all of our water, snacks, GPS, phone, GoPro and other smaller items (like hat and light gloves) in the front and side pockets, leaving the back for waterproofs and larger items. The pack also has pole fixings and the bungee cord is great for attaching an easy to access jacket or pair of thicker gloves.
It’s worth noting that it’s not waterproof but we tend to pack gear in dry bags, so this didn’t put us off.
The pack takes its lead from the vest-like fit of the Sense Ultra Set. There’s no bounce and you don’t get the annoying ‘t-shirt riding up your back’ syndrome that plagues so many running packs. It’s light, comfortable and easy to tighten. It’s also ‘one-size-fits-all’, with a pull tab that allows you to change the fit from small, medium or large.
For most short runs, a pack this big is not going to be necessary and there are better options in terms of vests and belts if you need to carry a few small items. However, the Skin Pro 10 Set takes many of the great features of the Sense Ultra Set and applies them to a normal pack. It’s therefore brilliant for longer running adventures and day hikes (or even for the run commute). There’s also a 15 litre version if you need even more space. It’s perhaps most telling that, once you get used to having your gear in such easy to access places, it’s suddenly really frustrating to go out with a normal pack again. A clever design that’s hard to fault.