REVIEWER: LAUREN FORCEY
Good value, durable, comfortable and lots of pockets – all things you want in a running vest! The Ronhill Pioneer 8L Vest ticks all these boxes and more. Soft yet robust, this is a versatile pack that will be your go-to for commute runs, day hikes, trail runs and ultras of 50km to 100km.
Firstly, I was surprised at how comfortable the overall feel and fit of this vest was. I typically have a lot of trouble with chafing from packs, but the soft stretch webbing gave me no such grief. Better yet, the material was fast drying and breathable. I did find the neckline came in a little close to my neck, so I preferred to wear it over a t-shirt with a high neckline to prevent any chance of rubbing.
This vest has two adjustable straps on the front for an even snugger fit (or a lighter one if you have a full pack). These straps can be moved up and down to fit your body size and shape. The top strap also has a handy bladder tube clip.
The two front pockets each fit a 500ml soft bottle. Each pocket also has another internal pocket at the back – great for stashing gels and even a small mobile phone.
Two zippered, stretchy mesh side pockets are easy to access and roomy enough to fit your hand inside to pull stuff out. These are great pockets for snacks, gloves, buffs and a mobile phone. A narrow, zipperless pocket on the left side towards the back provides quick access to a gel or buff. Tight enough so that your small item won’t fall out, I like this neat use of space.
I did find tightening the sides a little fiddly at first. Behind each side pocket is an opening with an adjustable Velcro strap. Adjusting the sides was not something I could do on the go, but once I did get the Velco straps right, there was no need to adjust them while running.
The back of the pack has two main compartments. The back compartment can hold a 1.5L water reservoir, with Velcro holders at the top to keep the bladder in place. The roomy, waterproof front compartment can fit loads of stuff and has an internal zippered pocket with a handy key clip. If your pack isn’t full or starts to feel light as you guzzle your water, simply tighten the bungee cord to prevent bouncing. You can also use this space to hold extra gear (e.g. a rain jacket).
The Ronhill Pioneer 8L Vest doesn’t come with soft bottles or a water reservoir. However, at NZ $150, you get a lot of bang for your buck – plenty of space, a comfortable fit, and something you can use on and off the trails.
RRP $141 AUD / $150 NZD