The Best Vest For Every Trail Run

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Hot Runs

The Camelbak Zephyr vest is one of the lightest and most breathable we’ve tested. Body-mapped mesh for optimal ventilation means you get the best airflow where you need it, and sturdy, lightweight construction everywhere else.

Two quick flasks can carry one liter of hydration for steamy runs, and the vest features a secure cell phone pocket, built-in safety whistle and attachment point for your trekking poles. The large back compartment can hold a reservoir (not included) and has a quick-stash pocket for ditching layers on the go.

Alpine Adventures

Patagonia’s 8L Slope Runner vest is a low-profile option with plenty of carrying capacity for adventures above treeline. This vest fits like performance apparel for a snug and chafe-free feel that won’t jostle on technical runs. With plenty of pockets, the vest offers room for fuel and layers, and a two-liter reservoir provides ample hydration capacity.

The stretchy, front pockets are perfect for on-the-go stowing and easy access. A zippered phone pocket keeps your cell close by in case of an emergency.

Super Long Scrambles

The Black Diamond Distance 15 Pack is the best pack for runners whose backcountry runs might involve an ice axe and crampons. This is a go-to pack for “run-taineering” scrambles and longer mountain adventures, featuring vest-like suspension with front pockets for flasks and snacks, side straps for poles and ice-tool loops.

The pack’s body is ultralight and durable and can hold up to 15 liters. A blitz-style main opening makes it easy to snag gear on the go.

The Long Haul

Nathan’s VaporKrar 12L is built to go the distance on big days like R2R2R and other minimally supported adventures, with 12 liters of carrying capacity. The second-skin fit doesn’t bounce or chafe, and  pinholes in the fabric for provide breathability and moisture wicking.

The specially designed insulated reservoir is built to minimize obnoxious sloshing on the trail, while front pockets accommodate nutrition, essentials and soft flasks up to 22ml. The rear hydration pocket can be easily accessed in motion. The women’s version, VaporHowe, is specially built for hard-charging trail ladies.

Light And Fast Missions

For quick and speedy adventures, the Nike Trail vest is a great option. Its superlight mesh is almost unnoticeable, and four front pockets can hold enough snacks and flasks for a speedy jaunt.

Consider this vest when you want to carry water and a few essentials hands-free. A large back pocket can hold a light shell.

Want to Know What It Takes to Finish at Western States? Just Ask Hellah Sidibe.

Find out what happened when this six-year run streaker and HOKA Global Athlete Ambassador took on an iconic ultramarathon in California's Sierra Nevada