Arc'teryx Norvan Running Vest Review

Going The Distance: Arc’teryx Introduces Norvan Running Vest

In the spring of 2018, Arc’teryx launched into a new territory: Long distance running. Meet the Norvan Running Vest.

Arc'teryx Norvan Running Vest Review

Arc’teryx embraces a minimalist approach to trail running. For 2018, it introduces several products specifically designed to get runners and adventurers “out there.”

GearJunkie contributing editor Chelsey Magness took the Norvan 14L Hydration Vest on a few test runs and even a 30-hour adventure race. Magness will continue testing it throughout the fall. So far, her response to the pack comes with a lot of enthusiasm.

Arc’teryx Norvan 14L Vest Review

Arc'teryx Norvan Running Vest Review

For my 30-hour adventure race, I fit 15 hours worth of food, an ultralight puffy, rain jacket, space blanket, lube, sunscreen, and a headlamp. It easily adjusts via side compression straps while the pack is on.

By pulling on the straps, the pack feels like it gets smaller and hugs the body. With the load snug on my body, the pack didn’t cause any chafing, which is something I often struggle with.

The pack comes in a seven-liter size for shorter trips and the 14-liter size. Arc’teryx makes the packs in small, medium, and large.

Norvan Vest Specs

  • Weight: Norvan 7 Vest: 263g/9.2oz without bladder, 424g with reservoir.
  • Where to use it: Long training days without aid stations, ultra running, adventure racing, big one- to two-day day ultralight missions.
  • Who it’s for: The minimalist runner and adventurer.
  • Materials: The main fabric of the pack is made from durable, quick-drying Warpknit. The back compartment of the pack is a weather-resistant roll-top, and the front is a vest-style with four stretch mesh pockets.
  • Pockets: It includes two small zippered pockets within the main front pockets for cash or keys. It also holds a two-liter hydration reservoir and has space for exterior trekking pole loops.

Arc’teryx Norvan 14L Vest: First Impressions

Arc'teryx Norvan Running Vest Review

I ran, biked, and paddled in this pack for 30 hours. It moved so well with me it felt like an extension of my clothing.

The hydration feature is my favorite. The reservoir slides into a pocket behind your back, with a hose that comes out from the bottom and stays put due to multiple loops. 

It was easy to turn my head and reach the hose with my mouth. With other hoses, I have to search for them, which throws off my running gait.

The front pockets are also very handy. The four main pockets were easy to get to while running and biking, and they’re breathable.

Usually, I get hot with the all extra fabric around my chest. But that wasn’t the case with this pack. The front vest is made of a breathable and flexible four-way stretch mesh, making running and biking for hours on end quite comfortable.

Our Take: I believe this pack is filling a much-needed niche in the outdoor world.

Over the past few years, I have seen a growing trend in bigger packs and bigger shoes to make it easier for weekend warriors. It is nice to see a bigger company giving attention and research to the hardcore adventurers. This pack feels like Arc’teryx listened to its ultrarunners, single-day peak baggers, and minimalist adventurers. It’s a pack just for them.

Who should buy it: Hardcore users who need a pack that will hold up to the elements and feel like an extra piece of clothing on their long runs in the mountains.

Investment: The Norvan 14-liter is $199, and the Norvan seven-liter is $179 – both are available now.