A few weeks ago I reviewed the Instinct Evolution running vest – a good trail vest from a relatively new and unknown French brand. Now I am showing you it’s bigger brother – the Eklipse trail vest.
While the first vest had a 7 liter volume, this vest has 12l and weight of 380g or 13.5 oz. It is made from a mesh base structure, а highly ventilated mesh base layer with anti-abrasive liner. The vest is comfortable, it’s made from enough material to provide nice contact with your body. About size adjustments two main options are available – two chest straps for a custom fit vertically and horizontally with easy lock & release and side adjustments for vest stability and good fit. Both adjustments can be made on the go, while you are running.
In front the main focus is the two hydration pockets, which fit from the most common 500ml volume up to 650 ml soft flasks. In the video, I am using 600ml Instinct soft flasks. Bellow the hydration pockets are located two storage pockets with internal elastic cord for food, smartphone, GoPro camera or something else. One of them is actually divided into two separate pockets, one of them is just an overlaying pocket.
Above the hydration, pockets are located two small shoulder pockets. They are zipped with non-stretch internal cord ring and suitable for small but important things like spare money, documents or keys. A built-in whistle is available too, which is a required equipment for ultramarathons.
The back of Instinct Evolution is interesting. The main dark gray pocket with vertical zipper is water resistant, which is huge benefit. In fact, there are two pockets, a smaller one with the vertical zipper and main one which is 2-liter water bladder compatible. You can secure important electronics or dry clothes when it’s raining. So far I participated in three ultramarathons this year, and the rain was a big part of all of them. In combination with night and low temperatures, it’s vital to have a water resistance pocket. Three other pockets are available for additional storage – one top horizontal for fast and easy access and two bottom overlaying horizontal pockets.
You can attach poles to Instinct Eklipse too, at the front vertically next to the hydration pockets or at the back horizontally, vertically or diagonally depending how full is the backpack. I didn’t have the opportunity to test poles, but I tried on the smaller Evolution vest – the most stable option is at front.
Overall Instinct Eklipse is a very good option for long trail runs or hiking adventures. It has a large volume, a lot of pockets, easy size adjustability and rain protection which is rare across running vests. You can choose how to hydrate – via front pockets and soft flasks or with a big bladder at the back. You can attach poles too. The drawback of the smaller Evolution vest was the lack of zippers, but Eklipse has plenty of them. The price is bigger too of course, while the Evolution is $100, the Eklipse retails around $150.