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Top 10 Best Running Backpacks Reviewed

last updated Dec 13, 2018
If you are a long distance runner then you know how helpful a great running backpack can be. We always have stuff we need to carry, but sometimes there's just nowhere to put it.

Luckily, there are lots of running backpacks to choose from nowadays, and they run the gamut from large to small and everything in between. Some are loaded with features, and some are best suited for the minimalist, and ones that fit all budgets.

A good running backpack will carry a good amount of water and make it easily accessible to you during activities. It will also carry the right amount of gear for your chosen activity while offering a selection of pockets and other storage options to help you stay organized. It should be durable, easy to use, and not break your wallet.

We looked at dozens of running backpacks and chose the 10 best ones to help save you time and money while getting the best pack for whatever you're into, whether it's running, hiking, skiing, or even climbing. Below you will find our list of the top 10 best running backpacks currently available, along with the criteria we looked at to choose them, and some other things you'll want to think about before making your purchase. Scroll down to learn more...
Researched Sources
9
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1300
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By EJ Callanan:

Our most recent update adds the Ultimate Direction Jurek, CamelBak Octane 10 and the Camden Gear running backpacks to our list. The first is one of the best available and the latter is the best budget-friendly running backpacks to choose from. Both are excellent options for runners looking for additional storage features and something that will work on all of their runs. Make sure to read the rest of the page to learn more!

Sorting Options
Features Breathability Size Materials Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Features
97%
Breathability
95%
Size
92%
Materials
96%
Value
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$22.99
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Features
90%
Breathability
93%
Size
92%
Materials
95%
Value
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Features
91%
Breathability
94%
Size
89%
Materials
96%
Value
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$74.93
Best Deal
$100.00
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Features
94%
Breathability
90%
Size
89%
Materials
93%
Value
76%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$104.93
Best Deal
$140.00
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Features
91%
Breathability
90%
Size
83%
Materials
87%
Value
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$81.36
$83.99
Best Deal
$98.99
Best Deal
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Features
94%
Breathability
95%
Size
80%
Materials
90%
Value
65%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$139.95
$139.99
Best Deal
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Features
92%
Breathability
85%
Size
82%
Materials
93%
Value
62%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$86.93
Best Deal
$115.95
$115.95
Best Deal
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.4
Features
88%
Breathability
80%
Size
78%
Materials
73%
Value
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$89.56
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.6
Features
85%
Breathability
93%
Size
85%
Materials
70%
Value
60%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$76.79
$79.99
Best Deal
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.6
Features
80%
Breathability
60%
Size
70%
Materials
80%
Value
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.18)
$59.89
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Sunhiker Daypack
  • Camden Gear
  • Osprey Viper 9
  • Osprey Duro 15
  • CamelBak Octane 10
  • Ultimate Direction Jurek
  • Gregory Miwok 24
  • Salomon Trail 20
  • Salomon Agile
  • OMM Last Drop
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Running Backpacks

1. Sunhiker Daypack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Sunhiker Daypack
Features
97
Breathability
95
Size
92
Materials
96
Value
98
best offer for today
$22.99
Pros:

Lightweight

Comfortable

Reflective

Water resistant

Adjustable

Breathable

Cons:

Could use more storage space

The Sunhiker is a highly weather-resistant lightweight daypack that is designed to fit the shape of the human torso to create comfort and effectiveness. Plus it looks cool and is highly functional and easy to use.

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Features

The material is a tear-resistant and water-resistant nylon. It has a MatReflective stripe for safety in low light conditions. The shoulder straps are adjustable and made of breathable mesh for comfort. Both sides sport a bottle holder. The pack features volume control for electronics, which is a cool and unique feature among similar products. It weighs a mere 12.3 ounces and it is suitable for not only running, but also for hiking, cycling, camping, climbing, and various other outdoor activities. If you can dream it, the Sunhiker can do it.

Price

Really affordable and a good value considering the durability. It just might outlast your knees so...

2. Camden Gear

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Camden Gear
Features
90
Breathability
93
Size
92
Materials
95
Value
97
best offer for today
Pros:

Breathable

Affordable

Lightweight

Versatile

Durable

Great storage

Cons:

Water resistant coating seems to fade when not properly taken care of

The Camden Gear running backpack is the best affordable option to choose from. It comes at a highly cost-effective price and offers many features we are sure you will love.

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Features

This hydration backpack is affordable, versatile, and offers a lot of features runners will love. It is highly durable and comes with 6 different storage pockets as well as a 1.5 Liter BPA free water bladder. It is comfortable, highly breathable, and the adjustable straps allow for a secure fit. Its ripstop material makes the backpack highly durable and it is built to last.

Price

This backpack is really affordable and offers a 100% Satisfaction guarantee if you aren't happy.

3. Osprey Viper 9

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Osprey Viper 9
Features
91
Breathability
94
Size
89
Materials
96
Value
83
best offer for today
more shops
$100.00
$74.93
Best deal
Pros:

Constructed from 100% Nylon

Wide panel access to the main compartment maximizes functionality

Zip access hydration sleeve for quick and efficient bladder loading/unloading

Lidlock technology for easily securing a helmet to the bag

Cons:

Limited storage space

Cool name aside, the Viper 9 has many other things to like about it. This pack has space for a jacket, snacks, and a smaller sized bladder while maintaining a relatively miniature size. It’s durable, with a strong frame but not bulky. A great medium sized option for a run or a day hike.

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Features

This one has lots of additional features that we know you will find beneficial. It has side compression straps for load stabilization, a blinker attachment, and lots of storage options.

Price

Pretty Pricey

4. Osprey Duro 15

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Osprey Duro 15
Features
94
Breathability
90
Size
89
Materials
93
Value
76
best offer for today
more shops
$140.00
$104.93
Best deal
Pros:

Airmesh back panel

Trekking Pole storage

Breathable

Includes hydration bladder

Cons:

Some users that the design of the pockets was poor

This backpack really draw your attention immediately, and the producer says that this one was born to run. They're right. Getting a backpack with features and technologies focused on runners may be a good idea, and we think you'll agree which was why we were happy to add this one to our list.

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Features

This one has a large capacity so it will be great for longer runs. The main compartment is spacious enough to keep clothes, equipment, and many others. The zippered pockets are placed strategically to make the access to the belongings and nutrition much easier. If you buy this backpack, you also receive two soft flasks. The product is also compatible with all Hydraulics™ Reservoirs. The body of the backpack contains a 2.5 L Reservoir so it’s easy to stay hydrated. There are compression straps that help to adjust the backpack to your body. The backpack is lined with mesh, so your back will be ventilated for the whole time.

Price

Expensive, but a good value because of all the features and high-quality construction, and one of the few that comes with a hydration bladder.

5. CamelBak Octane 10

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
CamelBak Octane 10
Features
91
Breathability
90
Size
83
Materials
87
Value
80
best offer for today
more shops
$81.36
$83.99
Best deal
$98.99
Best deal
Pros:

Easy to use

Lightweight

Really breathable

Versatile

2-Liter capacity

Cons:

Some users wish it had more storage space

The CamelBak Octane 10 is one of the best running backpacks out there and offers lots of features we know you will love. It's really versatile and can be used on your runs, hikes, and anything you can think to use it for!

Read more

Features

This backpack features a 2-liter fast flow reservoir as well as 3D vent mesh that allows for optimal ventilation and maximum breathability. It has a stretch overflow pocket and cargo compression for optimal stability, support, and a secure (and comfortable fit. Lastly, this one also has a storage space for your trekking poles, which we know the hikers out there will also love!

Price

This one is priced above average but it's not too expensive.

6. Ultimate Direction Jurek

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Ultimate Direction Jurek
Features
94
Breathability
95
Size
80
Materials
90
Value
65
best offer for today
more shops
$139.95
$139.99
Best deal
Pros:

Plenty of storage

Secure fit

Breathable

Lightweight

Cons:

Expensive

This one is more of a vest that has a lot of backpack features. It has lots of storage space, is lightweight, highly breathable because of the vest-like design, and easy to use to boot.

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Features

This one has lots of features, including a reservoir hose, accessory holders, and front storage for your belongings. It is compressible and offers a comfortable and secure fit.

Price

This one costs a pretty penny, but its definitely worth it as the design is highly specific for running, and in fact is designed for use during ultra-marathons.

7. Gregory Miwok 24

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Gregory Miwok 24
Features
92
Breathability
85
Size
82
Materials
93
Value
62
best offer for today
more shops
$115.95
$86.93
Best deal
$115.95
Best deal
Pros:

High-quality material

Very spacious backpack

Cons:

Expensive

The Gregory brand is known for making great mountain gear. One of their backpacks really draws our attention. This is a very versatile pack and is great not only for runners but also for hikers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes.

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Features

This backpack is one of the backpacks on our list with the biggest capacity. There’s a large compartment where you can store bigger things and to help you stay super organized, there are 3 pockets, two of which are placed on the shoulder straps for easy access. There’s also a stretch pocket which is very expandable that allows you to take even more thing with you. Users praised the straps for being very comfortable and said they were wide enough and didn’t irritate the skin. The one thing that hikers will definitely love is an adjustable trekking pole system. You can attach your poles to the backpack while you scramble up a bouldering route, then easily unhitch them when you get back on the trail. This is a backpack that is hydration bladder compatible, but it doesn't include one.

Price

Pretty pricey, but worth it for the durability and versatility.

8. Salomon Trail 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.4
Salomon Trail 20
Features
88
Breathability
80
Size
78
Materials
73
Value
83
best offer for today
$89.56
Pros:

Strap system reduces bouncing

Breathable mesh

Reasonably priced

Durable

Cons:

It was too big for some women

Doesn't include water bladder

Our next backpack is produced by the brand who appears a couple times on our list, Salomon. Mostly known in North America for their high-quality ski gear, they've actually been making running shoes and other apparel for years, and are a master at their craft.

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Features

The external zippered belt pockets make the backpack more secure when it comes to keeping your belongings safe. There are also other pockets that help you to stay more organized no matter what activity you're conquering. It’s hydration compatible so you can buy a hydration bladder and hydrate yourself anytime you want without stopping to run. There are also holders for normal water bottles. Compressions straps also make the user more comfortable. The soft mesh on the back allows better ventilation of your body, and it also adds to the cushioning. The padding is very comfortable while you're wearing it. Users said that the backpack is big enough to keep a spare set of clothes and other items. It’s also waterproof. It has reflective elements to keep you visible wherever you are.

Price

A little above average in price but won't break the bank.

9. Salomon Agile

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.6
Salomon Agile
Features
85
Breathability
93
Size
85
Materials
70
Value
60
best offer for today
more shops
$76.79
$79.99
Best deal
Pros:

Mesh strap system for a snug fit

Waterproof construction to withstand the elements

5L Hydration Pack with enough capacity for all your running needs

Comfortable adjustable straps

Multiple compartments and color options

Compression straps keep items in place

Cons:

May not stand up to super-duper extreme conditions

This running backpack is one of the best out there, and we think you'll love it to so we put it on our list. It is lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. This one is a perfect option for all the road runners out. Beep beep.

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Features

This one is loaded with features and has a mesh back, mesh straps offering spine support, a secure fit advanced strapping system, plus it has lots of different sized pockets for plenty of storage space. This is a perfect option for runners, bikers, and hikers alike.

Price

Pretty decent price and a great value because of all the options it offers the consumer.

10. OMM Last Drop

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75.6
OMM Last Drop
Features
80
Breathability
60
Size
70
Materials
80
Value
88
best offer for today
$59.89
Pros:

Lightweight

Very stable and sturdy

Attractive price

Cons:

Breathability could be improved

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to remove some burden from the backpack and enjoy lightweight carrying and the ease it comes with? Well if you’re looking for a backpack like that the OMM Last Drop is the one you want.

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Features

There are removable pads at the back so you can easily lower the weight of the backpack. This is a unique feature among competing backpacks, and one we think you'll really enjoy as it let's you customize your experience. Like many other backpacks on our list, it’s compatible with hydration bladders but they must be purchased separately. It spreads loads in an effective way so you don’t feel overtaxed. Some users said that the ventilation system could work better as it didn’t provide enough airflow. The adjustable chest strap makes the whole construction more supportive and secure. Reflective elements enhance your security as well. This one is perfect for rainy days as it’s water-resistant.

Price

This one comes at a pretty average price and is a great value with everything it brings to the table.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Features

The top lid is found in some running backpacks and in some backpacks it can be removable and others its not. if you are considering on going for a short trip during the day or just a short run in the park then this type of running backpacks would be perfect for that. The top lid can also be used as an additional pack worn around the waist, well this is an additional feature that many manufacturers have started considering with an effort to enhance storage, comfort, and accessibility of most running backpacks. Stylish and still functions well.

Running can be interesting in the wild, and if you plan on going for a run in such a place then make sure that your running backpack has attachment options. This feature helps in making sure there are loops that you can use to keep extra stuff that you might need while you are on the run. Perfect also if you plan on camping after the run. some of the attachment features available are like the daisy chain. It’s a unique feature that enhances the storage capacity of any running backpack. Makes it possible to even carry something you would have seen as impossible to carry for that long run.

Though a minor factor still very important to consider if your running backpack is weather resistant especially to rain. This will not only keep your stuff dry but also make the backpack lightweight regardless of the pouring rain. Most backpacks have a waterproof feature that is usually on the inside parts of the packs so that you are able to keep your stuff dry. But then seems there are zippers that may be able to let a little water get into the inside of the running backpack then its a must to carry a rain cover if the weather has promises of many showers later in the day or night. When looking for a rain cover accessory for your backpack then you should make sure it’s not only water resistant but also wind resistant and most importantly be very light. This will makes sure that you are both protected and you are also light.

Breathability

For those who sweat a lot then they should make sure that their running backpacks have this very important feature. A running backpack is made sure to have a ventilation effect if it has a suspended mesh on the backside of the backpack. While shopping for running backpacks you will notice that there is a mesh that is intended to deal with hikers and runners who tend to sweat more from their backs. The tension mesh is not in all the running packs, it is designed like a trampoline and are able to play a very important role in making sure that the runner is always kept dry from the back. Sweaty back problems can also be solved by ventilation chimneys, a feature that is being added to more new backpacks.

Size

Your hips happen to be one of your body parts that support most of the weight on your pack, and your hips can be determined by the waist size of your pack and your own waist size. Though many manufacturers have made the packs in such a way that the belts at the hips can accommodate wide ranges of waist sizes and hip sizes. if you have a smaller waist then it’s important you get something that will fit and not something that will not be able to adjust fully to your size. But if you really want to get a particular pack, you can check if they have interchangeable hip belts, then you can just change the hip belts and get one that fits you perfectly.

You don’t want excess space and neither do you want it too tight inside. Find out what obligatory kit you need and decide on the size of the pack by liters. I bought a 5-liter pack as my race will last a day. Neil, on the other hand, has opted for a 10-liter pack as he is running a longer race, will be spending a night out in the mountains so has to carry with him the more obligatory kit.

The torso length is an important feature when determining the fit of the running backpack, but then the torso length varies from manufacturers to manufacturers and is also affected by the gender of the user. You can find packs with several sizes with regards to torso length while some with just a few adjustable sizes, that can be adjusted to fit one’s size. when referring to the torso length its good to refer to the size chart guide if you are making an online purchase and to consult with a salesperson if you are making a physical purchase.

Materials

The material plays an important role in determining the durability of any given type of running backpack. The materials are also made to suit different weather conditions and offer different weather-resistant features. When looking at the material then you should consider the weather. If the weather is warm it’s important to have a pack that has sweat-wicking ability mesh. If it’s colder then you would prefer a material that is able to keep you warmer. Also, you can consider whether you have a skin allergy to any particular material.

If you already have made up your mind on what to use your pack for then the next step would be to determine the straps of the pack. Straps are what holds your pack onto your back securely and they can be both an advantage and a disadvantage depending on how you use them. They can cause and also prevent severe back pains. Depending on one’s personal preference you can decide to either keep them tight and firm for a faster run with no bounce, but for a shorter relaxed run then you can opt for a loose fit with minimal bounce. With the proper adjustments then you can achieve the perfect fit with regards to having a good strap.

Value

Budget is always important, and here we looked at the overall value of the pack in comparison to the cost. Quality of materials, design, ease of use, amount of and usefulness of features, durability, and size were some of the factors we considered when determining the overall value of each product on our list. We also pored over 1300+ reviews from real-world users who had purchased the products to see how they felt about the product after using it. Make sure to consider your own specific needs before making your purchase!

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Features
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Breathability
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4
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Other Factors to Consider

Protection

If you are one of those hikers who loves traveling light then opting for a pack that is totally frame-less would be the best option, or at least going for a backpack that has a removable frame. This will make sure that you have minimal weight in your backpack so you can rumble comfortably all day long.

Make sure that when you buy your running backpack that you try it out and check which one suits you best. If you are doing an online purchase then it’s good to check if the website has a guide on the different frame types and sizes available for running backpacks. Make sure you settle for the most comfortable frame that gives a good fit, as this will guarantee you a good running experience.

Accessories

Pockets are a very important aspect of any given backpack – they are like the heart of the backpack. They determine the storage of the backpack and the accessibility of the backpack. Here are the types of pockets found on the different types of running backpacks. There are different types of pockets that you will find on most running backpacks, depending on the location of the pockets (side pockets and front pockets), type of pockets (hip-belt pockets), and pockets that vary depending on their different type of features they have (shovel and elasticized pockets). All these pockets help in increasing the storage capacity of a running back, but then its always important to make sure that you don’t carry too much that it affects your running.

Though pockets vary depending on size and the type of the running backpacks it’s important to first know the sporting activity you will be involved in before picking out a running backpack with a certain number of pockets. If you are going for a short run, then you will probably need just a bottle of water and an energy bar that means fewer pockets, longer runs might require more pockets for more storage and also always remember that you don’t need to much weight on you as you run. Also, know the size of your pocket, don’t put things that exceed the size of the pockets of running backpacks as this will cause fast wear on the pockets. Just carry what you really need for your running experience.

Make sure that the pockets and pouches are located in such a way that will be most comfortable for you. It all boils down to what placement you consider to be the most convenient for you, as all of these packs are already designed for running. You need the pockets in your backpack to be easily accessible, but not to interfere with your movements while running. If you are one of those hikers who love traveling light then opting for a pack that is totally frame-less pack would be the best, or rather going for a backpack that has a removable frame. This will make sure that you have minimal weight in your backpack.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Are these packs good for more than running?
a:

Possibly. However, if you are purchasing a backpack for running, it’s best to stick with the features you need for its intended use, running. However, with that being said, many backpacks can be used outside of running. This may however shorten the lifetime of the backpack since it will be used more frequently and carry heavier loads.

q: What is the capacity backpack should I buy?
a:

The capacity of the backpack you will buy is totally determined by its use. It’s important to be cautious of the space capacity of the backpack so that you don’t put too much that will end up straining the bag and you also. Also, excessive space is not something you want to have when running. When checking the capacity make sure you look at all the pockets and the compartments of the backpack. Make sure the compartments suite your need. Of late there have been backpacks that the space capacity can be enlarged by extra zippers. You can consider these options also.

q: Which material is best for running backpacks?
a:

The best material for running backpacks would be a durable, preferably waterproof or at least water resistant material. The material should also be able to withstand sun exposure. There are many different types of materials, depending on the brand, though almost all running backpacks are made of a synthetic material.

q: What features typically come with running backpacks?
a:

Before you get into a buying a running backpack it’s crucial that you understand there are different types of packs on the market. These packs vary depending on their use, features, and how they are designed. One backpack may be perfect for a certain type of activity but be terrible for another. Before buying a pack it’s important to know the kind of sporting activity that you will be involved in and that will lead you choosing the pack with the correct features and capacity. Some of the basic features that come with backpacks can include pockets, rain covers, additional compartments, and hydration bladders.

q: Do I have to spend a fortune to get a really good running backpack?
a:

When considering purchasing a running backpack, having a budget in mind might be of high importance to you. However, it is worth noting that it might be worth spending a little more money in order to get a quality, durable backpack with all the features you are looking for that will last you for years to come. If you get a subpar backpack you may have to replace it quickly which negates it's entire value and makes the whole operation more expensive.

Sources

  1. Ben Hobson, How to pick the best running backpack, Health Website,
  2. James Billington, 10 best running backpacks, Consumer Website,
  3. Editor, Montane VIA Trail Series Fang 5 Backpack Review, Running Website,
  4. Editor, Crave Outdoors Hydration Pack [Review], Consumer Website,
  5. Tom Caughlan, Mountain Hardwear Fluid Race Vest, Sporting Website,
  6. Kevin Glover, Osprey Viper 5 Hydration Pack Review, Sporting Website,
  7. Editor, Teton Sports TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Backpack w/ Bladder Review | Rating 4.1 out of 5, Sporting Website,
  8. Corey, Rev 1.5 Osprey Pack – Review, Sporting Website,
  9. Dave Roberts, Osprey Rev 1.5 Running Pack Review, Running Website,