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Arc’teryx Norvan 14
Weight: 0.256 kg / 9 oz (pack only)
Volume: 12 L
The Arc’teryx Norvan 14 is a high-volume, weather-resistant trail-running vest. What stands out about the Norvan 14 is that it manages a lot of volume while not bouncing. Brands are trying to support trail running endeavors that are pushing farther and farther into the mountains, and Arc’teryx may have nailed the vest option.
While trying it out at the recent Trail-Running Camp, hosted by Trail Runner mag, it got some serious use. The pack was stuffed with a light windbreaker, gloves, a dry sack, snacks, two liters of water and a DSLR camera without a problem.
The main pocket is a 12-liter roll top, stuff-sack style compartment made of lightweight weather-resistant ripstop. The roll-top feature is very secure and great for locking things down in weather; however, it’s not a quick system if you’re on the fly. It also takes some time to replenish the 2L removable bladder.
Multiple pockets on the front straps (all of which are open-top mesh, except for two small, zippered ripstop pockets) securely store things like nutrition, sunglasses, sunscreen or soft flasks. Pole-carry pockets and tension straps on either side of the back hold trekking poles well and keep them out of the way while being easy to access, even while moving.
Even with a significant amount of gear, the Norvan 14 truly stayed put. The only time bouncing was increased was when the bulky camera was added, the straps loosened, and my speed increased significantly—even then, it was manageable. As the bladder was drained and things began to move, four adjustment straps quickly battened down the hatches.
One issue with the Norvan 14 is that the hose, which exits through a hole at the base of the back and wraps up under either arm, is a little short. Trying to reach the nozzle sometimes made for a crampy neck and would have made drinking while crushing a technical downhill difficult.
The nozzle itself also has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to it, it works well. It can be locked shut, but I found if left open it didn’t leak.
This hydration vest is suited for long adventures or for athletes who need to carry a lot of gear.
—Coby Hoch is the Editorial Intern at Trail Runner magazine.