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.
Contact: Inov-8, http://www.inov-8.com