Inov-8 Race Pro 12 Pack

Inov-8’s new Race Pro 12 is an “elite lightweight hydration pack” made for trail running, cycling, adventure racing, and other off-trail excursions where speed is goal No. 1. I’ve tested it on three big days so far, including during a 6-hour Rogaine orienteering race (where my team got second place!) and two trail runs.

The pack weighs less than a pound when empty (15.5 ounces), and has a nice harness system that hugs when you run.

Its minimal feature set includes: A main compartment with about 12 liters of capacity; a large stretch mesh pocket on back; hip-belt pockets; and reflective piping for nighttime visibility.

But the kicker is the pack’s horizontal hydration bladder—the H2Orizontal hydration system—which fits in a pocket just above the hips, keeping the weight of your water low. The company designed the system to minimize bouncing while on the run.

Positioning the bladder here creates a lower center of gravity. Plus, the bladder shape fits around the lumbar region to make it more stable.

The hydration system uses Source components with anti-microbial technology, which blocks bacteria growth on the tube and reservoir. This is a good thing, as I have trouble drying this bladder out. Its nooks and crannies are hard to keep open for air drying after use. I bent a clothes hanger around and stuffed it in the bladder to help keep it open.

On the run, the H2Orizontal hydration system felt solid. It’s not a revolutionary feeling, as the water still bounces some. Though its maybe a bit more solid than a CamelBak when you’re really cranking it.

Overall, this is a tremendous pack, with all the features I need for short events and races, and nothing more. Running with a backpack is always a pain. Inov-8 makes it a bit easier with its Race Pro 12.

Price: Inov-8 Race Pro 12 Pack, $80; H2Orizontal hydration bladder, $25.

Available now.

Contact: Inov-8,

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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