10 Best Racing Vests Tested & Rated

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Investing in a running vest may be something you’ve considered in the past but you haven’t committed to yet. With a large variety of running vests on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one is best for you. We’ve comprised a list of the 10 highest rated vests for racing to help you make your decision. Keep reading to learn more.

Last Updated: May 16, 2017

We decided to do an extra bit of research for this buying guide, to add some more information that may be helpful to your search.

We have added a bunch of info regarding ideal materials, designs and useful features. You will also find some frequently asked questions, which we have come up with during our research, located near the bottom of this guide.

Salomon S-Lab Racing Vest
  • Salomon S-Lab Racing Vest
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here
Nathan HPL 020 Vest
  • Nathan HPL 020 Vest
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Holds 2 liters
  • Price: See Here
Evolike Reflective Vest
  • Evolike Reflective Vest
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 360 degree reflectivity
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Racing Vests

 

1. Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3

This vest is one of the most brilliantly designed models on the market today. It fits more like a vest than a pack, and is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a lot of storage space. It’s designed with top-of-the-line materials and its quality remains unmatched.
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Features: Rather than using a hip or waist belt, this vest uses a twin link fastening system with multiple fastening options. Many find this feature to be great, as it’s more comfortable and you don’t have to deal with the restrictive feeling of the usual belt.

Storage: The main compartment features a two-way zipper and is designed to provide the most amount of storage possible. A zippered pocket on the front is great for holding your phone, cash, or keys. Another zippered outer pocket, made of mesh, is stretchy and quite roomy. There are mesh pockets on either side of the vest for extra storage, and you don’t have to take the vest off or stop running to access them. The top-opening hydration system is held in place by a thermal sleeve, and the bladder can hold up to 1.5 liters.

Cost: While this is one of the more expensive vests on the list, it’s designed so well and is so durable that you will definitely get your money’s worth.
Pros
  • Durable
  • Tons of storage
  • Doesn’t bounce while running
  • Doesn’t rub or chafe
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Storage pockets are easy to reach
  • Comes with a whistle on a lanyard
Cons
  • Price

2. Nathan HPL

The lightweight Nathan HPL 020 vest is a comfortable way to stay hydrated on your run. With a 2 liter bladder and a lightweight design, this vest is a great choice.
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Features: The straps on this vest are wide and made of a mesh material. The back of it contains a large pocket with a zipper for a bladder, which holds 2 liters. Unlike Nathan’s last vest, the HPL 020 has thin chest straps designed to reduce heat retention. A patented 3-way propulsion harness stabilizes movement of the bladder so you don’t have to worry about it bouncing while you run.

Storage: The Nathan HPL 020 vest has a total storage capacity of 6 liters. The bladder holds 2 liters. Despite having a lot of storage capacity, this vest still manages to be lightweight, weighing in at only 13 ounces.

Cost: This vest is moderately priced in comparison to other similar products.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Bladder holds 2 liters
  • Belt pocket
  • Stabilization harness
  • Easy to adjust straps
Cons
  • Some find it difficult to close and secure the bladder

4. Camelbak Ultra 10

This Camelbak Ultra vest has been tested by professional endurance runners, ensuring that you’re receiving the highest quality product possible.
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Features
One of the great things about this vest is that you’re able to fill the reservoir externally. With a specially designed reservoir valve, you never have to worry about spills or leaks. This vest weighs 1lb 3oz.

Storage
With a cargo compartment, stretch overflow storage, and a sweat-proof phone pocket, this vest allows you to carry all the essentials with you on your run. The front storage pockets are great for water bottles, gels, snack bars, and more. The reservoir can hold up to 70 ounces, or 2 liters of liquid. Altogether, the storage capacity of this vest is 8 liters.

Cost
While this vest is a bit on the more expensive side, it’s well worth the price when you take all factors into account. Camelbak backs all their products with a lifetime guarantee.
Pros
  • Adjustable harness
  • Lightweight
  • External fill
  • Reservoir closes very tightly to prevent leaks.
Cons
  • Some find it to be too heavy.

6. Ultimate Direction PB 2.0

6. Ultimate Direction PB 2.0
This award-winning vest enables you to stay hydrated and comfortable on your run, with lots of convenient storage pockets for items like keys and phones.
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Features
Comes in sizes small through extra-large. Stretch mesh material is used for extreme durability and strength. Unlike previous vests by Ultimate Direction, the PB 2.0 Adventure Vest utilizes side adjustment traps, ensuring that you receive the best fit possible. It weighs 15.5 ounces without the two water bottles, which are included.

Storage
This vest has a storage capacity of an incredible 11 liters. With six non-zip pockets and two zippered pockets, you can definitely carry everything you need with you on your run. Two extra bottle carry straps are also included.

Cost
The Ultimate Direction PB 2.0 vest is relatively expensive.
Pros
  • Side adjustment straps
  • Durable
  • High quality
  • Improved seam strength
  • Comes with two 20 ounce water bottles
Cons
  • Some find that it is smaller than expected and not as adjustable as they would like.
  • Price

7. Inov8 Race Ultra 10

7. Inov8 Race Ultra 10
The Inov8 Race Ultra 10 Running Pack won the ISPO award in the performance accessories category. Weather resistant and durable, this is a great choice for trail runners on all types of terrain.
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Features: Something that sets this vest apart from others is its unique bladder adjustment system. By simply adjusting one or both dials, the level of compression on the bladder is adjusted, tightening it closely to your back to prevent sloshing. The bladder sits low, and this vest was designed for minimal bouncing when running. Reflective details make this a great choice for runners who frequently run in low-visibility conditions. This vest is made of a blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex. It comes in either a size S/M or a M/L.

Storage: This running pack is one of the best models on the market when it comes to storage. The front of the vest has two stretch mesh pockets, great for carrying your cell phone. A large kangaroo stretch mesh pouch on the side is able to be easily accessed while still running which is very convenient. The vest’s total storage capacity is 12 liters (10 liters in the main compartment and 2 liters in the bladder). A reservoir with a zipped pocket hold the bladder, which is included.

Cost: This is one of the most expensive vests on this list; however, its top-of-the-line quality and unmatched features make it well worth the money.
Pros
  • Emergency whistle, emergency blanket, and 150ml cup included with purchase.
  • Bladder is designed to not bounce around.
  • Lots of storage.
  • Adjustable dials for bladder compression.
  • Comes in two sizes.
  • Weather-resistant.
  • Has reflective details.
Cons
  • Price.

8. Patagonia Fore Runner

8. Patagonia Fore Runner
The Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L is great for those who want to carry a lot with them. It functions more like a backpack than a vest, and is extremely comfortable and adjustable. This is a wonderful choice for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy long hikes.
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Features: This comfortable pack has adjustable side straps to ensure that you receive the perfect fit. Weighing only 15.8 ounces, this is the perfect vest for those looking for something that’s going to move with them and be non-restrictive. The material is tear-resistant and water-repellent.

Storage: In terms of storage, the Patagonia vest is an incredible racing vest. A huge, top-loading storage compartment is a great place to throw any “extras” you may have with you on your run. Nutrition bars, gels, you name it. It includes two pockets on the front,one is zipped, and the other one is smaller, designed for accessories. Additionally, a key stow pocket is conveniently built in so you can safety carry your keys with you without worrying about them falling out. Its Hydrapack bladder holds far more than other models.

Cost: This vest is priced in the mid-to-high range. Additionally, it’s backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad guarantee.
Pros
  • Adjustable.
  • Lots of Storage.
  • Comfortable.
  • Comes with emergency whistle.
  • Lightweight.
  • Impressive bladder capacity.
  • Durable.
  • Quality material.
Cons
  • Some runners find that they’re not impressed by the bladder hydration system.
  • You have to take the pack off to gain access to some pockets.

9. Ultimate Direction AK 2.0

9. Ultimate Direction AK 2.0
The Ultimate Direction AK 2.0 is a great choice for anyone looking for all the benefits of a minimalist style vest, while maintaining all the great features of a traditional style vest. This award-winning vest has been updated and improved upon, ensuring that you’re receiving the best quality possible.
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Features
Stretch mesh is used to increase the durability of this vest. A special kind of nylon is used to provide this vest with extra-strong seam strength. Its pockets can be cinched, which is great for keeping everything secure and held in place.

Storage
This vest’s total storage capacity is 4 liters. There are two pockets for valuables such as your phone or keys. It weighs only 7 ounces without the water bottles, and 12.5 ounces with them.

Cost
While priced on the more expensive side, you’re still definitely getting your money’s worth.
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Comes with two water bottles
  • Increased seam strength
  • Flexible
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Some find this vest to be somewhat restrictive while running, mainly due to the water bottles.

5. SLS3 Running Hydration Vest

5. SLS3 Running Hydration Vest
The SLS3 Running Hydration Vest is comfortable, non-restrictive, and very practical to have with you on a run. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a minimalist style vest with all the features of a standard one.
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Features
This vest is designed to be resistant to sliding around while you’re wearing it. Comfortable, wide strips ensure that the weight of the vest is distributed evenly, so you’ll still have a smooth run. They’re made of breathable mesh which is great for hot days. Two reflective strips on the back are there for extra safety and visibility.

Storage
There’s a small pocket on the front for items such as keys, and a larger pocket that zips which is great for holding your phone or iPod. A back pocket, which also zips, measures 6.5 by 10.5 inches. Two 9.5 ounce flasks are included in the front pockets.

Cost
This vest is affordable and priced relatively low compared to others of its kind.
Pros
  • Adjustable straps
  • Bounce-free
  • Comes with 2 water bottles
  • Reflective stripes
Cons
  • Does not include hydration bladder

10. Triwonder Marathoner Vest

10. Triwonder Marathoner Vest
If you’re looking for an affordable yet high-quality hydration best, look no further. One of the most lightweight running vests on the market, the Triwonder Marathoner vest is so non-restrictive that you’ll barely notice it’s there.
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Features: Made of polyester net and nylon spandex yarn, the elasticity of this vest is incredible. Not only that, but it’s extremely breathable, making it a great choice for hot days. It has full side adjustability, so you can customize the size to fit you perfectly. Wide shoulder straps ensure that weight is evenly distributed and minimizes bouncing. In addition to the vest, you’ll receive two quality 8.5 ounce water bottles.

Storage: A stretchy, breathable mesh pocket on the front left side of the vest is great for storing your phone. This vest only weighs 4.6 ounces.

Cost: This vest is one of the most affordable on this list.
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Comes with two water bottles
  • Price
  • Adjustable sides
Cons
  • Some runners would like more storage capacity.

3. Evolike Reflective Vest

3. Evolike Reflective Vest
This vest does an excellent job of providing 360 degree visibility. Retro-reflective stripes line the entire vest, ensuring your safety on your run. It’s made of EvoClimate fabric, which is 100% polyester, so you can rest assured knowing you’ll be comfortable in it. Not only do you get the vest, but it also comes with 2 slap wristbands, 2 Velcro straps, and a durable bag.
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Features
Made with EvoClimate fabric, this running vest is an excellent choice for those looking for a comfortable, flexible fit. This vest comes in sizes small through extra-large, and the company has also recently added a kids’ size and an “extreme” size if you’re looking for a vest to wear over a bulky jacket. At night, this vest is visible from up to 650 feet away.

Storage
This EvoLike vest contains one pocket, which measures 4 by 6 inches.

Cost
Considering all you get with this product, the price is extremely affordable. The company also offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Pros
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable
  • Strong Velcro closures
  • Machine washable
  • Multiple sizes
  • Keeps you cool
Cons
  • Some find it to be thinner than expected.

Criteria for choosing 10 Best Racing Vests

Being prepared for a running workout session or a race goes beyond just being physically fit it also requires for one to have the correct running attire. Running is no longer considered as an exercise but also as a lifestyle. It’s a  great physical activity that enhances blood circulation in the body and leaves the body refreshed and free of any excessive energy wastes. However, dreary weather can make any runner second-guess a decision to head outdoors. Don’t let Mother Nature impede you! Grab the right sporting apparel in order to have a very comfortable workout session regardless of the type of weather you will be working out in. In this  buying guide, you’ll learn about the many variety of  running tops/ vests that will keep you well  covered and extra comfortable especially during the  summer running season, hence help you in making sure that you can achieve your running goals.

It is well known that a nice running vest is of equal importance as any running gear like the running shoe or running pants. If a runner has on a running vest that is uncomfortable, it will not only give him or her a hard time exercise and running but other athletes doing the exercises with him or her will also be on the wonder. The runner will definitely have a rough time and the goals will go underachieved.

A good running vest is designed to keep an athlete dry from sweating and moisture and also chaffing free while the athlete is on the run. The market currently has variety of running vests brands that one can choose from. This has made it both easier and hard for an athlete to settle on which vest is best for him or her. It is easy because with a lot of brands, one is able to compare and contrast having different options. It is hard because with the many options, one might get easily confused on which brand is best for him or her.

Style

Most male athletes will prefer having a running vest that are technically designed simply with not so many details while the female racers will prefer having racing vests that are stylish and trendy. The preference of the racer in choosing a racing vest makes it more comfortable and likely to be use the vest. The racing vest should be designed in a manner that it can bring provision of comfort and flexibility when made from the right fabric. The technical racing vest fabric keep the racer dry and chaffing free to avoid the athlete being uncomfortable while he or she is running.

The climate and weather definitely has a say on  the style and design of running vest the athlete has to choose. An athlete can select a short bottomed running vest which has thin fabric, which is designed to keep the athlete dry and cool during his or her work outs. short bottomed running vests also help in protecting the runner from too much heat, which leads to giving the athletes body too much heat that is uncomfortable for exercising. some running vests are baggy, hence giving the athletes body allowances of getting good airflow, while some running vets are body fitting.

Though its important to not the versatility in these running vests. Vets tend to have a simple design and many might consider them to be unisex since its close to impossible to distinguish which ones are for males and which ones are for females. They are also very comfortable attires for young athletes and can be worn with even young children, because of their lightweight features .

Fabric

The best fabric for a racing vest should be composed of light cotton fibers, synthetic fibers or synthetic cotton blends fibers. The fabric is the determinant factor of how the vest will fit, the standard of the features in the vest like wicking ability, breathability and weight of the racing vest. It is the fabric too that determines how much comfortable the racing vest can be. Choosing the right fabric of a running vest is everything as long as running in a vest is concerned. Vests that are made from 100% polyester are the top ranked most breathable vest because they have a high moisture management ability. Blended synthetic and cotton fibers also have a good sweat wicking and moisture management ability though less breathable than the 100 percent polyester fabrics. They can give a good fit though better than the polyester made racing vests. Racing vests made from pure cotton will provide the least amount of moisture management and breathability. But can give a good fit and warmth to the racer. They can be beneficial when used a racer during cold seasons or early mornings .

To help a racer be in control of their body’s’ temperature, in both weather conditions temperatures, the advisable running vest material should be light-weight and of high performance material designed to remove moisture away from the skin.

These technical fabric basically utilizes materials such as Polyester, Lycra and Nylon.

Technical Running Vest Fabric is Breathable.

Breathable fabric is essential when running. In a nut shell, breathability is defined by the racing vest fabric ability to absorb and release moisture by itself, hence allowing flow of air through the fabric. In this case, it is easy to see that the best technical running vest fabric made from synthetic materials allow the runner’s body to sweat pro-efficiently, breathe and regulate the body’s core-temperature.

Technical running vests help the runner be cooler because moisture is moved to a greater surface area and not getting to the runner’s skin. This happens because moisture moved to a greater surface area allows evaporation to occur more rapidly. In-short, a synthetic running vest fabric can keep a runner cooler and drier than just wearing any vest from any kind of fabric.

Technical Running Vest Fabric are Lightweight.

Apart from breathability, light-weight fabric is another important consideration to look upon when choosing the best technical running vest. This is because the best running vest technical fabric is designed to reduce moisture substance away from the skin. Running vest made from cotton holds moisture and that makes it way in-suitable for runners because it is not light throughout the working out exercise.

Seasonality

Typically vest are meant to be worn during the hot season. Even though some can be worn during the less chilly seasons. That is why it is important to always wear the vests depending on the type of running climate and season you plan to run in.  Athletes exercising or racing in colder weather seasons, winter, early mornings or unpredictable weather conditions tend to layer their racing vests or have vests made from warm fabrics and materials like pure cotton. This will enable the racer to keep warm and comfort during the run. During summer, it is recommended for a racer to have a light as possible vest, especially those made from pure polyester or a blend of polyester and pure synthetic fiber. This will help in keeping good regulation of their body temperatures and good management of moisture in their bodies, hence comfort during their racing

For outdoor athletes or runners that exercise for seasonal games and sports, here are some dressing tips for their outdoor work outs;

During summer times, breathability if key in choosing your running vest fabric because it will allow you to breathe, leaving your body feeling cool and comfortable hence  allowing you to run and exercise effectively. During winter times, athletes should dress in warm running vest fabrics. It is important to note that whenever athletes exercise, the temperature of the athletes body rises and the heart beat rate is boosted. Runners can substitute to putting on gears that cover their hands, ears or head to hinder them from feeling or getting cold when they have their running vest on.

Summer or winter or any weather condition, nothing can hinder an athlete from exercises. Especially not a running gear. The runner should keep comfortable with the right kind of exercising gear and running becomes as good as the athletes’ lifestyle. The day to day temperatures should not be an hindrance for an athlete to restrain from exercising.

Is the Vest having any Reflective Features?

It is important for a racer, especially those who race along the road to consider choosing a racing vest that has a reflecting strip at the back or in the front. These reflecting strips help a racer to be noticed by a moving vehicle and bicycle traffic especially if it is on the dark. Reflecting strips reduces the number of accidents of racers in the roads. It gives caution and protects the racer

What is the level of Comfortability of the vest?

One of the most focused on considerations when settling on which decision brand to make in regards to running and racing vest for ones routines and work outs is comfort. The natural bouncing of an athlete’s body greatly magnifies rubbing, chaffing or points of body pressure when running. Comfort is far much important especially when the athlete exercises are long distances or longer times, because comfort will make the athletes work easier. For a racing vest to be said it is comfortable, it should be able to stretch enough and have  elastic fabric to cling on the athlete’s body and of straps that are adjustable. On the side of a running vest, adjustable straps create allowance for adjustment to the runner. They also chafe and rub more. Running vest with straps on the shoulder for adjustment are advised because they can fit the athletes’ body just as the athletes’ wishes.

Just like any other running clothing or gear, a comfortable running vest will give the athlete or runner an efficient and easy time to keep his or her eyes on the exercise rather than the vest.

 

Apparel Basics

Running vests most of the times are made to offer a certain degree of weather resistant features,  offer protection against wind, rain and also keep the body warm from cold. However, it can only do this when the weather condition is not very extreme. Just like most running apparel and gears, vests are also made from fabric that is very lightweight ( a polyester blend). Different brands over the years have adapted using special technology materials, blended with other fabrics so that to get high quality blends that have the most desirable traits in every fabric used in making the compound blend. Running  vests can be worn in mild chilly weather or climate when the temperatures are a bit low, however very extreme low temperature will require running jackets or hoodies.

Below are a set of favorable characteristics that as a runner you can look for in running gears especially the vests. Though it can be very challenging getting a vest that has all these features, it is not impossible and therefore one must start by focusing on the very first traits that always come first before all the others: those are fit and comfortability.

  • Check for UPF and UVR protection against rays from the sun.
  • Dies the jacket have reflective accents or stripes to enhance your visibility when running in environments that have low lighting ( enhances the safety of a runner)
  • Accents which can be in  form of piping or the reflective fabric.
  • Is the material capable of wicking moisture away (especially sweat) when the runner is  working out,  hence providing the body with a cooling effect and keeping it dry and refreshed always.
  • Are there pockets in the vests and whats the storage capacity of the pockets, will they interfere with your running, will you need extra storage space, are the pockets in an easily accessible location?
  • Look for the flat-lock seams,that  give an allowance for  the runner a fit that is chafe free and   also offer a smooth fit.
  • In case you want to keep your hands protected and warm , then go for a vest that has thumb holes.
  • Does the vest offer breathability when you are running in hot climate? this is determined by the presence of a breathable mesh on the inside panel of the vest.
  • Check for weather resistant features: waterproof, wind resistant, water resistant and quick drying ability. These are very important as it means the vest will be able to offer you the needed protection in case the weather starts getting harsh.
Functionality

When choosing the best racing vest for yourself or for a fellow racer, it is an important decision to consider the functionality of the racer. Is the racer a long distance or short distance racer? Where does the athlete race? What is the preference of the athlete as much as racing vests are concerned? Different racing vests are designed differently, for various racing activities and for both genders. A racing vest designed for one racing activity is not as comfortable to another racing activity. This is why an athlete should be knowing what function he or she is into before selecting the best racing vest for him or her.

 

Other Important Factors To Consider

Is the running vest my right body size?

The right running vest body size brings along comfort. It is among the major consideration for a runner to choose a running vest that well fits his or her body so that the runner may not spend much time worrying about the racing vest while undertaking his or exercises but instead on the race.

what features would i want my racing vest to have?

Features on the vest like zips and pockets are also a priority  to have  when choosing a racing vest. For long distance racers or racers that exercise more often in a day, a pocket may be useful for storage purposes. keeping your mobile phone, a bottle of water or any other minor equipment the racer might need while doing his or her exercises. The zip is important because after the racer keep his requirements in the pocket, the zip encloses the pocket so that the items may not fell down while the racer is on his or her race.

Frequently Asked Questions.

 

Q. Which is best technical vest fabric for running?

A. To help one  be in full control of the bodys’ heat, in both cold and hot temperatures, the advisable running vest material should be light-weight and be a high performance material designed to remove moisture away from the skin.

These technical fabric basically utilizes materials such as Polyester, Lycra and Nylon.

Technical Running Vest Fabric is Breathable.

Breathable fabric is essential when running. In a nut shell, breathability is defined by the power of a fabric to absorb and release moisture by itself, hence allowing flow of air through the fabric. In this case, it is easy to see that the best technical running vest fabric made using synthetic fabrics or materials allow the runner’s body to sweat pro-efficiently, breathe and regulate the body’s core-temperature.

Technical running vests should keep a  runner cooler because moisture is moved to a greater surface area and away from the runner’s skin. this happens because moisture moved to a greater surface area allows occurrence  of evaporation more rapidly. In-short, a synthetic running vest fabric can keep a runner cooler and drier than just wearing any vest from any kind of fabric.

Technical Running Vest Fabric is Lightweight

Apart from breathability, light-weight fabric is another important consideration to look upon when choosing the best technical running vest. This is because the best running vest technical fabric is designed to reduce moisture substance from the skin of the runner. Running vest made from cotton holds moisture and that makes it way in-suitable for runners because it is not light throughout the working out exercise.

Q. Are there a list of  key factors that should i consider when choosing the best racing vest for myself?

A. when choosing the best racing vest in stalls or the market, the following are key features you look at;

  • Reflectivity
  • packablity
  • insulation ability
  • moisture wicking
  • quick drying
  • sun-protective fabric
  • waterproof
  • breathability

 

Hopefully the list above has helped you narrow down your options. Investing in a running vest is a great decision, especially once you’ve done your research, read reviews, and compared products. Remember to take this list into account, and whichever one you decide on, we know you’ll love it!


 

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research

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