Often when I’m riding the Subway to and from work I feel like it’s a waste of time. Sure, I can bring a book, listen to a podcast, jam out to some tunes or do a crossword puzzle, but honestly I’d rather be running! I waited for a long time to commute because I generally have to bring some stuff back and forth with me, as many of us do, but I didn’t have an appropriate bag to carry while running.
Most backpacks out there are made with a larger fit for a man’s body which makes them too loose for running and often too big in capacity. Hydration packs are made tight for running but they’re too small to carry all the stuff I need for work. But don’t worry, Goldilocks–I’ve got a great suggestion for you to find a bag that’s just right!
For me, the solution finally came at REI where I had found some women’s packs. I’m not a tiny runner or anything but I still found them too big for my body. For hiking they’d be great, but for running I want a much more snug fit. Additionally they were pretty expensive – between $130 and $200! On the plus side I figured out I wanted something in the neighborhood of 15 liters and thought maybe I could search for that size online. Then, as I was walking away I saw a sign–literally, a sign!
It said KID’S PACKS!
There were only three options in the store but the best one for my needs was the Osprey Jet Daypack, available in Cherry Shake and Lime Squeeze – I loved them both, but settled on the Lime. The big bonus was the pricetag, $50! The 18 liter REI Tarn Pack ($40) is pretty close too, but the other kid-sized pack the store carried didn’t have a hip belt.
Here’s some stuff to look for if you’re choosing a pack to run with:
Capacity: My pack is 17 liters, perfect to hold all my raingear plus my laptop if necessary and still have room for extras, or for club runs or race days to hold extra shoes, a change of clothes and even my jacket.
Weight: At 1 pound, 1 oz, so I never feel like the pack is too heavy – my laptop weighs it down quite a bit but it’s still reasonably comfortable.
Chest Fit:The chest strap is adjustable in height, so it lies across the top of my chest just right.
Hip/Waist Fit:The kid-sized height of my pack makes the hip belt ideal to wrap around my waist. As a result, I can secure the pack as tight as necessary to strap in all my stuff and minimize bouncing.
Ventilation: The one place my backpack falls a little short is that my back gets pretty hot when I run. I have considered sewing a small bolster onto the lower part of the bag but the problem isn’t unbearable.
One additional suggestion is that you purchase a rain cover. I looked around online and found that Osprey makes an extra-small cover sized perfectly for my pack, but a quick trip to Tent and Trails (New York City’s best kept secret for outdoor gear) and I found a little Sea-to-Summit cover that works just fine and was half the price. It stashes in its own teensy little pouch and comes in very handy during unexpected showers!
Do you run with a bag? What kind? What features would the perfect running pack include?