Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 8 Set
The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 8 Set is a minimalist running pack that hugs the body ultra-tight for a super secure fit. It’s the newest edition in Salomon’s line of lightweight packs. Since the previous version, the bag’s flask pockets have increased in size with new bungee cords to keep the bottles locked down.
The pack is even lighter than before with better sweat-wicking technology. The design is more breathable, features a new elastic sternum closure, and there are more sizes to choose from. The Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set is available in three size variations. This review covers the 8L pack. For the runner who doesn’t like to deal with a hydration bladder, the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set features just enough room for its included bottles offering plenty of water storage for training and racing. The bag has a few drawbacks, which we cover below in our detailed breakdown of the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set.
- Very lightweight
- Lots of storage for such a minimalist pack
- Durable construction
- Chafe-free design
- Easy-fill flasks
- Easy-access pockets
- Easy to clean
- No room for a bladder
- The wrong size will result in a lot of bounce
- The elastic chest strap is annoying to use, feels flimsy
The pack is lightweight but features space for all the essentials including a pocket for your mobile phone and a variety of nooks and crannies for everything else. At the front of the pack, there are two easy access pockets that house the included soft flasks.
Each flask can hold 500mL of water. Reviewers liked the updated bottles and said that they seemed to slosh less than the older design.
On the side of the vest, there are two easy-to-reach zippered pockets. Make sure not to leave them open accidentally. Stuff will readily fall out. Also on the sides are two stretch pockets that expand wide enough to fit almost anything.
Located above the flasks is a stretchy pocket that includes a safety whistle. It’s the perfect spot for storing gels and other small items. At the back, there are two rear compartments suitable for storing things like extra layers.
Overall, the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set is surprisingly roomy but is also lightweight making it the ultimate run companion all year round. Note, there’s no spot for a bladder. The pack is genuinely minimalist and isn’t equipped to handle a reservoir. Not everyone wants to haul a hydration bladder around, so it’s not a dealbreaker.
A reservoir represents an extra accessory to deal with and take care of. A bladder requires maintenance, so if you’re not interested in cleaning one out on a regular basis, a bag without one might be a good alternative. Just be aware that that limits your water carrying capacity. You can’t add on a bladder if you so choose to later on.
You’ll need to rely on your bottles instead. If you’re going long, make sure you have a place to refill, so you don’t find yourself incredibly thirsty and suffering from the effects of dehydration.
Additional 3D Air Mesh helps with breathability, though some found the mesh portions of the vest a little rough and not at all appropriate for shirtless running. The sturdy mesh is also not so gentle on specific materials.
Some users reported that the mesh eventually rubbed its way through shirts. Despite the issues noted with the mesh, reviewers found the vest incredibly breathable. It’s an excellent choice for runners training in very hot weather.
Just be careful not to store anything that might succumb to water damage in the compartment that meets your back since that portion of the vest is not at all waterproof or resistant. Instead, it will just soak up your sweat. The Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set is great for ventilation but not so great if you plan on storing a camera or phone in that compartment.
The anti-chafe design includes zero straps and buckles and the edges all feature soft trim to prevent uncomfortable rubbing against the body.
Some users complained that the shoulder straps tended to loosen over time on a run. Instead of a sternum strap or buckle, there is a bungee cord system that crosses the chest area. The revised closure system is simplified, but it doesn’t quite achieve its purpose of preventing the pack from bouncing around. Adjustment is easy, but the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set loosens over time. Reviewers also worried about the durability of the bungee system.
A few users remarked that the bag bounced a bit when fully packed. The material is a bit too stretchy to hold everything in place. Reviewers also noted that the back of the pack was not waterproof or water resistant and while it wicked sweat, it also allowed moisture from sweaty backs to infiltrate the main compartment.
Overall, reviewers found the Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set is very very comfortable. Comfort depends heavily on an appropriately selected pack size, so don’t be shy to make an exchange if you find the fit less than perfect.
Reviewers recommend that if you’re between sizes, you should NOT size up since the vest is very stretchy. Getting the right size is incredibly important, otherwise the pack with bounce around like nobody’s business.
Users agreed that the pack was extremely lightweight and liked that the bag was light but roomy. This review covers the 8L capacity pack, but the vest also comes in a 5 and 2L version. The Sense vest does not come with a bladder compartment so if you estimate needing more than a 1L of water during a training run or race, opt for a different hydration solution.
The Salomon S-Lab Ultra 8 Set comes with two 500mL soft flask bottles. Some runners did find a way to fit extra bottles in the rear compartment, but there’s no doubt that they’ll bounce quite a bit. The bag’s phone pocket is easy to access, but many reviewers found the compartment too small for their phones.
The sternum strap is flimsy, and the bottle elastics are equally poor quality. More than a few reviewers felt the elastics wouldn’t last over time and reviewers worried about them breaking suddenly. Users also complained that the included whistle seemed cheap.
Other than that, the vest is very durable, and the material is nearly rip-proof making it a reliable choice for long journeys.
Some users found the flasks tough to get back into the front pockets, but the problem has been dramatically improved since the previous edition of the vest. The bag also comes with a safety whistle which is attached to the vest to prevent loss.
The bag also has some durability problems, namely the cheap-feeling elastics used to secure the bag on the body. The fit wasn’t perfect for everyone either when packed too full. The pack tends to bounce more than most would have liked. Still, it’s a worthy vest with a shockingly light and breathable design.
- 125 grams (without the bottles)
- 37.5 technology controls fabric humidity
- 4-way stretch design
- 3D Mesh construction
- Sweat-wicking material
- BPA-free soft flask bottles (500mL)
- Various storage pockets (zippered and stretch)
For anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of dealing with a hydration reservoir, the S-Lab vest offers a simplified hydration solution with easy to use flasks. There’s enough storage for all the necessities, and the design is super breathable making it perfect for unusually clammy summer days.