Thursday, September 11, 2014

INOV8 Race Ultra Vest - Product Review

As advertised: 

An all mesh, fully breathable body-tight vest with stretch pockets ideal for ultra distances racing. Can carry three liters of fluid and features six adjustable straps to ensure a secure fit. Comes supplied with a two-liter reservoir and two 500ml bottles.


Features (Front):
• Two large mesh pockets to front double as bottle holders

• Two large mesh pockets to front top
• Two smaller stretch mesh pockets to front top
• Whistle

Features (Back):
• Large stretch mesh pocket to rear
• Insulated reservoir sleeve
• 2L shape-shift reservoir

Volume Capacity: 213 in.3 / 3.5L
Dimensions: 31” to 44”

Unisex, Stretch Mesh

     The first 7 miles I hated it. HATED it. Hitting and bouncing on my hips BUT once I worked out the straps and found a placement best suited for me the bottles sat nicely on my ribs with little movement. The front has two large angled stretchable pockets that hold the inov-8 bottles. The bottles are held in place with small elastic bands to keep tem from falling out. The vest is however light and has a pretty good adjustable fastening system to be able to move the vest to fit your frame. The front has three (3) adjustable attachments for the straps and on both sides of the mesh pocket in the back another three (3) adjustable attachments that help it fit to your body. From the INOV8 website “This is particularly important for ladies who will obviously require the option to adjust and control how straps fit in and around breast” After working on where to put the straps the vest fits well. From the INOV8 website “I have yet to find anyone who has put this product and on not found it immediately comfortable.” Well boss it took about 7 miles for me to get it worked out. So I guess it makes me the first. The site also talks about having four (4) attachments. So it looks like they made some changes before they put it out in the market. It does move a little and at times have a little bit of a bounce but that’s just nitpicking.

     Above the bottle pockets are two large chest pockets that can hold large items or 6 to 8 gels depending on what kind. Now INOV8 does promote that the bottles can fit in those pockets but that’s just not true. ***they did place a note on the website saying they changed this*** but it is still in a lot of their videos. There are two other smaller pockets that sit on top of the larger pockets that are good for holding S-Caps, or smaller what haves you. This is what INOV8 has to say about the pockets. “offering a place to hold mobile phone, camera, food, gels or other similar items and one pocket has an elastic cord to attach keys too”.  Like the AK vest this is just not true. “mobile phone” not going to happen. Maybe some of the older phones but as big as smart phones have become just not going to be able to stick by that. The elastic cord is really long and when I first looked at it I was at a loss as what to use it for. I guess attaching keys is as good as anything I could come up with but it really just fills the pocket and gets in the way.


    The Vest does come with the bladder and the “temperature control sleeve” some vest do not come with a bladder. You end up having to spend more money to get the bladder. This gives you a total of three (3) liters(ish) for water or whatever you like to drink. I find that the sleeve is helpful as a bladder holder for easy in and out but as far as temperature control it’s just not there. It is shaped a little weird as well. It comes in a (V) shape so that stops the bladder from sliding all the way down. The bladder is a fold closure but the part I really love about it is it has a slide rail system inside the bladder that keeps it in the true shape so it does not bulge out. It has an insulated hose with bite valve cover which comes in handy. Easy quick release tube from the bladder. The bottles are flat which I love. It helps them fit to your body.

     The vest comes with a whistle which is kind of confusing to me. I was running and a dog chased after me at which point I blew the whistle and it stopped so maybe put a dog whistle instead. I've looked up why they put a whistle and for safety reasons I guess.
     I think this is a great “smaller” vest that can hold a lot. It is not much bigger than the AK vest but can hold more in one of the larger chest pockets than all the pockets in the AK vest combined.
    There are some little bungee straps at the top and bottom (back) that I have yet to find any reason they are there but they don’t get in the way of anything. (Maybe used for trekking poles) 
     In all I really like the vest and would be ideal for any self supported 50k with no problems. It will hold any required kit for ultras that have a required personal gear list. I wish they would have left the vest where you could put the bottles at the top. Not that I mind the bottles where they are but that was a really good selling point.