Gear Guy

Stratos 24 Backpack     Photo: courtesy, Osprey

Q:

I need a backpack that stays put while I’m running. Any ideas?

I’m looking for a compact and lightweight backpack that I can take running. It should move with me securely through rough terrain. Do you have suggestions? Jay Vancouver, Washington

A:Well, for big loads, you’d be out of luck; nothing is going to be all that good at keeping a load comfortable when you’re running. But it sounds as if you plan to carry something fairly light. And thanks to the adventure racing scene, a number of packs will work well.

For instance, Gregory’s new Z30 ($120) has a suspension designed to keep the load stable and close to your body, so you and the pack move as one unit. It’s not a huge pack—1,800 cubic inches—but it can handle a light load for day trips or super-frugal overnights. Plus it has six pockets to help with organization. It’s slightly bigger cousin is the Z35 ($159).

I’d also suggest Osprey’s Stratos 24 ($129). It too is designed to keep loads stable when you’re running, bouldering, and that sort of thing. The harness is entirely sewn into the bag, so that really helps stabilize the pack and the load. It’s even a little smaller than the Z30 (1,500 cubic inches), so you’ll have to pack carefully. But it will work.

Lastly, there’s Salomon’s Raid Revo 30 ($80). It draws directly from Salomon’s extensive adventure racing experience, so it’s very light (one pound, six ounces) but has a good suspension and a stable fit. And it’s actually quite large—3,000 cubic inches of capacity. So if you need a bit more space for your stuff, this may be the pack for you.

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