Summer Vest/Pack Preview: Women’s Specific Styles & Unisex Designs

There are a variety of new vests and packs on the market for 2019 from all of the major manufacturers: Ultimate Direction, Nathan, Salomon, Ultraspire, Raidlight, and Orange Mud.

I’m already starting to put these new styles to the test, but I’d like to hear from all of you as to what you are interested in hearing about in a review. Read below to see the different vests and packs that I have in the testing queue, and leave a comment if you have specific questions you want answered. I’ll work to address the specific questions in the individual reviews.


I currently have 4 different styles in the vest category, with potentially one more on the way.

Salomon Advanced Skin 8 Set Hydration Vest

  • Volume: 6L to 10L
  • Weight: 8.8oz (250 grams); with accessories, 10.8oz (308 grams)
  • Soft flasks included, 500ml each
  • Sizes: 2XS–L (testing size: S)
  • Pole attachment: Yes; front
  • Colors: Mint green & Dark blue
  • Price: $145

Salomon’s first women’s specific pack has a unique bottle design to eliminate pressure on the breasts, and has a full size run to fit women of all sizes and shapes.

Orange Mud: Gear Vest Pro (unisex)

An update to last year’s Gear Vest, the Pro style adds a back zip and a few updates to the general design. This is a unisex, universal sized pack.

  • Volume: 6L to 10L
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (317 grams)
  • 1L bladder (35oz) included
  • Sizes: One size fits most
  • Pole attachment: Yes, with optional trekking pole hardware attachment, back
  • Colors: Bright Green, Black, Sand
  • Price: $129.95

Nathan Vapor Airess 7L 2.0 Women’s Hydration Pack

Nathan has given their Vapor Airess a complete overhaul with large front pockets, an internal adjustment system, and updated materials.

  • Volume: 7L
  • Weight: 8.3oz (235 grams); with bladder, 12.2oz (347 grams)
  • 2L bladder included
  • Sizes: XXS–M, L–XXXL
  • Pole attachment: Yes, back
  • Colors: Blue Jay/Blue Radiance
  • Price: $149.95

Ultimate Direction Women’s Halo Vest

UD debuts their lightest ever vest onto the market with the Halo. At a mere 5.5 oz this is a vest you will barely even notice when you slip it on. It also has the same number of pockets as the men’s version—equality!

  • Volume: 10L
  • Weight: 5.5oz (155 grams)
  • 2 500ML Body Bottles included
  • Sizes: S–L
  • Pole attachment: Yes, front
  • Color: Black
  • Price: $169.95

Raidlight Responsiv Vest 6L Women

This vest has yet to arriet, but it is likely on the way. Some of you may remember that last year’s Raidlight 10L was my favorite pack of the year. So I’m psyched to give this one a go. (stock photos above)

  • Volume: 6L
  • Weight: 6.8oz (195 grams)
  • 2 600ML EasyFlasks included, with tube extenders
  • Sizes: S–L
  • Pole attachment: Yes, back
  • Color: Blue, Pink, Purple
  • Price: $129.95


Designed to be on the go all day or even multiple days, these fast pack designs can pack a lot of gear. These styles bring the best from the traditional backpack market together with the front-stylings of the running vests to create the best of both worlds.

Ultimate Direction FastpackHer 30

Ultimate Direction has built upon the success of their fastpack line and brought out two packs this year that are designed specifically for women, the FastpackHer20 and FastpackHer30. Both are designed with a women’s frame and anatomy in mind.

  • Volume: 30L
  • Weight: 22oz (625 grams)
  • Bottles/Bladder Sold Separately
  • Sizes: XS/SM, MD,LG
  • Pole attachment: Yes, front
  • Color: Lavender
  • Price: $129.95

UltrAspire Epic XT Hydration Backpack (unisex)

The most classic backpack design of the group, including a frame sheet, standard toploader, and ice axe loops for full on adventure mode, with the a variety of front pockets to give you easy access to everything you need on the go.

  • Volume: 25L
  • Weight: 48oz (1360 grams)
  • Bottles/bladder sold separately
  • Sizes: Universal (chest 28″–48″)
  • Pole attachment: Yes, front (chest)
  • Color: Emerald Blue
  • Price: $189.95

RaidLight Responsiv Vest 24L Women

This one also has yet to arrive, but it should be on the way. Stock photos included above

  • Volume: 24L
  • Weight: 10.2oz (290 grams)
  • 2 600ML EazyFlasks included, with tube extenders
  • Sizes: S–L
  • Pole attachment: Yes, front (chest)
  • Color: Blue, Pink, Purple
  • Price: $129.95

Now that you have read through the specs and viewed the photos of the line up, what are you most interested in? What do you want to know about these specific packs/vests? I’ll make sure to answer your questions either in the comments or in the individual reviews of each item.

Your Reviewer: Sarah Bradham

Crossing the Sandy River on the Timberline Trail.

I started my love of gear as a climber and as I turned my attention to running I shifted from carabiners, ice tools, and crampons to hydration packs, midsole foam types, compression clothing, and everything in between. After several years of foot injuries, I’m enjoying getting back to my beloved muddy and rocky trails near my home in Portland, Ore. In my work life, I enjoy coordinating an annual Mountain and Ultra Running Camp at the base of Mt. Hood with Yassine Diboun, Amy Sproston, and Joelle Vaught.

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