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Gear Guy

Is there a pack designed for trail running?

As a frequent trail runner, I looking for a backpack designed with running in mind. I would like something with ple storage for additional layers and supplies, certainly larger than a lumbar pack. Any suggestions? Connor Ann Arbor, Michigan

A: What is this, a trail-running AND backpacking trip? Forgive me for being a smart ass (OK, don't), but whaddya need all that stuff for? I mean, there really isn't a "backpack" designed for running—all that bouncing and bounding is going to make the pack jump all over the place.

There are, however, some smaller packs that should work, and I suppose this is what you're after. Lumbar (fanny) packs are usually the best option; they're held low on your body, of course, so don't hop around much. And many have room for water bottles in addition to extra clothing and the like. The Lowe Peak Runner ($40) is one example, with 400 cubic inches of capacity and a design that pulls tightly against your body. Mountainsmith has always made superb lumbar packs, and their Blaze ($80) is nearly twice the size of the Peak Runner. It has wide straps that really keep it stable, and two water bottle holders in addition to the internal space.

These days, some pack makers are manufacturing lumbar packs that also have shoulder straps, so the load stays low but doesn't bounce. The North Face Backwater is such a pack (it's $90). As a bonus, the shoulder straps make it easier to attach a hydration tube so it's close to your mouth. Not as big as the Blaze, but with 500 cubic inches it should have enough room for your extra gear.

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