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 Deckers X Lab NVRSTP Pack Review
Review by Chief Editor Matt Klein

NVRSTP pack seen on the back of our chief editor
NVRSTP pack seen on the back of our chief editor

There are many challenges to finding the perfect running backpack. Attempting to look for something that can handle run commuting, ultra distance races/runs, long runs, for work/school or attempting to use it for a combination/all of the above was next to impossible. The Deckers X Lab NVRSTP Pack sets out to accomplish all that, coming in as a do it all backpack that can handle whatever you can through at it. Like the shoes that Deckers produces, the NVRSTP pack manages to do everything, moving smoothly while providing plenty of space for anything you might need.

Specifications (per Deckers X Lab)
Measured Weight: 615 grams / 1 lb 5.7 oz
Capacity: 25L (40L with expanded roll top)
Pockets: 19
Water Bladder Compatible: Yes
Purpose: Run/Bike Commuting, Ultramarathons, Multi-Day Endurance Events, Travel, Hiking
Classification: Pack/Backpack/Vest

NVRSTP pack laying on the ground. Orange zippers seen.
NVRSTP pack laying on the ground. Orange zippers seen.

RUNNING APPAREL SUMMARY

The Deckers X Lab NVRSTP is a do-it-all pack for those who want one backpack that can handle everything. Whether it be hiking, ultra distance running, work or commuting, this back can handle it all. Featuring plenty of room for clothes, electronics (laptop), nutrition and anything else you would want with the 19 pocket system, it still is secure enough to be used for a variety of runs. A large, modifiable capacity of 25L or 40L with the expanded roll top, the Deckers X Lab NVRSTP is both versatile and fully loaded for whatever you want to do with it!

NVRSTP pack from the front on Matt. Tightly fitting body. Many pockets around
NVRSTP pack from the front on Matt. Tightly fitting body. Many pockets around

FIT

One of the biggest challenges with running packs is getting the right fit. I have a very long torso, so finding something that fits securely through the full length of the pack is often difficult. The Deckers X Lab NVRSTP, thanks to having so many places to modify fit, is easy to get dialed in. The triple clips in the front lock in well and each one can be adjusted to different lengths. The elastic between the lower aspect of the straps and the pack are easily adjustable on each side at multiple points, allow you to make the NVRSTP as tight or loose as you want. The body of the pack fits nicely against my back and has not caused any irritation. There are no stiff reinforcements, so the slightly compressive fit makes it conform well. Overall all the fit is quite good and has been something that I easily forget about when running.

A look inside one of the small bottom pockets of the NVRSTP
A look inside one of the small bottom pockets of the NVRSTP

CARRYING CAPACITY

The Deckers X Lab NVRSTP can carry up to 40L with the extended pack and 25L without. I personally took the extended top pack off and have not used it, so have gone with 25L of storage. Despite feeling small, the incredible number of pockets and the two large pockets have plenty of space. The rear large pocket easily fits my MacBook Air, additional therapy equipment and snacks. I would suggest that this be your main storage area. The smaller rear pocket in front of that sill has a ton of space for more storage, which I use for carrying bands, my stretch out strap and even more snacks. The larger pocket on top stretches the length of the pack and I have used this for clothing storage. The internal sleeve seems to be somewhat waterproof as the clothes remain dry even after running 6-8 miles and sweating profusely. This can be a great place to store smaller or more flexible gear, but isn't wide enough to store semi large items like small laptops (I have a small 13" Apple laptop that just barely fits. So more traditional size laptops may not). I feel like I find a new pocket each week.

Moving to the front, both straps in the front have multiple pockets and carrying pouches. There are three slots on each (6 total) for carrying bottles. These are adjustable and I have easily been able to carry two large bottles or 3 smaller ones. The slots are large enough to lock in the bottles and they did not bounce at all during my runs. There are two zipper pockets on each side (4 total) that are extremely large. I can fit 4-5 gels in each and still have plenty of room. These have been great for storing more snacks like stroopwaffles and larger gels like the Spring Wolf Pack Endurance Meal. The great part about the amazing storage up front is that everything you could possibly need is right at your finger tips. The back is large enough to carry additional water bladders and there are plenty of places to loop one of the straw connectors from there to the front. The bottle carriers in the straps however are large and secure enough that that you can still carry a ton of fluid within reach. So not only does this pack have amazing carrying capacity, it has amazing versatility in how and where you can store what you want.

SECURITY


Despite the incredible carrying capacity, the security of the NVRSTP pack is quite high. The triple clips in the front lock the front straps in very well in across your stomach/lower chest. The pack, although flexible, mostly compresses down all unused space. This creates less volume to bounce around, which is not a problem I have had to deal with. I have done some fartleks in this pack and when I have too much stuff in the rear it can sometimes start to bounce. However at normal paces the security is great.

DURABILITY

I am notoriously hard on everything around me. Those who have been following this website know that I destroy shoes. Same goes for backpacks, laptops, clothes, glasses. This is however getting better as I learn to take better care of the things around me. The NVRSTP however has had to deal with my full blasted absent mindedness and destruction and somehow is unscathed. I have run commuted with this back, I use it as my backpack for work, school and for light travel. I have done long trail runs with it, run into things (not intentionally), dropped it (not intentionally), scrapped into things (again... not intentional... just clumsy). I unintentionally have thrown everything I could at this pack and it has come away unscathed. So those looking for a durable pack that will last through a natural disaster (me) will find the NVRSTP the perfect one. 

Inside another small side pocket of the NVRSTP. Enough room for some small snacks and gels
Inside another small side pocket of the NVRSTP. Enough room for some small snacks and gels

THOUGHTS AS A DPT /BIOMECHANICS

Despite run commuting during many parts of my life, I have never invested in a serious running pack. I used a scrappy school packback that I added extra elastic to in order to lock down the front straps better when I was working at running stores in Portland, OR. When I commuted to clinic during my residency training, I used a cheap Nike commuter pack that bounced around and had little place for storage. The challenge with doing this is there was some extra adaptation time required. I now know why and there are a couple things to consider when running with a pack.

Having something around the chest/thoracic area requires some degree of compression to keep things from moving too much. That compression means less room for rib expansion and thus increased work from respiratory muscles (Faghy & Brown, 2016). I did not know this at first but found that initially running with a serious pack (run commuting) made me feel more winded. When I stopped doing this, usually when I returned to school or changed jobs that were farther than I could realistically run to, I always noticed that it was easier to breathe. There is evidence out there that working on improving respiratory muscle performance can actually improve performance in those running with packs. One way I have done this recently is using the POWERbreathe device, but any resistive breathing training device will work. These are small portable devices that can be used anywhere. I have found great success using these with ultra marathoners dealing with neck and thoracic pain due to carrying packs. The packs put a great deal of pressure in this area and some people require a little extra training to be able to handle this.

Carrying a pack inventively means carrying more weight. This changes mechanics while running and can increase stresses in certain areas, particularly the hips and ankles (Huang et al., 2020; Malcolm et al., 2017; Scheer et al., 2018). Carrying weight outside of your body immediately changes the center of mass. Until you are used to this, it can throw off balance and stability (Huang et al., 2020). This is not a major problem on road, but on trail it can be where footing is challenging. This can also be improved or exacerbated by.how secure the pack is, which is another reason to make sure the straps are locked in and everything stays in place. If the pack is not secure, this can not only throw off balance, but can increase stress into and strain the shoulder musculature (Huang et al., 2020). So for those new to packs and planning to use them on trails, I would suggest using them on the road first to acclimate and dial in the fit. The second part of the change in weight means more stress on the ankles and hip particularly with hills. The increased weight will require more calf and hip elasticity and strength, which is something to be aware of if training in steep or rolling areas. Those with Achilles issues should adequately prepare their calf muscles and Achilles tendon with strength (especially eccentric) and mobility work to ensure that you prepare your tissues for the new work they will experience.

Finally, carrying more weight means you probably won't run as fast initially. There is plenty of evidence to suggest initial decreases in running economy when using a pack (Malcolm et al., 2017; Scheer et al., 2018). This is a great reason to keep whatever pack you use light and whatever you carry with you to a minimum. The benefit of this is that using a pack can act as a form of additional training. Anecdotally, the times I have consistently run with a pack have always preceded massive breakthroughs in performance for my road/track racing. Like any training tool, one must allow time to adapt and not overtrain to seem some benefit. The biggest reason for a pack however is for storage. There are many distances/events that require far more than a couple gels and water bottles, and a pack like the NVRSTP is perfect in that it has the versatility to carry a great deal or a little. Regardless of the pack you choose, always use the smallest and least amount you need during racing as that will have the least impact on your running economy and body.

References

Faghy, M. A., & Brown, P. I. (2016). Training the inspiratory muscles improves running performance when carrying a 25 kg thoracic load in a backpack. 
European Journal of Sport Science16(5), 585-594.

Huang, L., Yang, Z., Wang, R., & Xie, L. (2020). Physiological and biomechanical effects on the human musculoskeletal system while carrying a suspended-load backpack. 
Journal of Biomechanics108, 109894.

Malcolm, P., Panizzolo, F. A., Speeckaert, J., Kim, J., Su, H., Lee, G., ... & Walsh, C. J. (2017). Effect of slope and speed on kinetics of jogging with a backpack. In 
Proc. 41st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB).

Scheer, V., Cramer, L., & Heitkamp, H. C. (2018). Running economy and energy cost of running with backpacks. 
The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness59(4), 555-560.

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Honestly I do not have any recommendations. This pack has exceed my expectations and has soundly beaten any serious hiking/running/commuting packs that I have tried thus far. This pack however is for single day efforts or commuting. Any larger items, extended travel or multi-day events may require larger packs, so I encourage Deckers X Lab to design another separate pack for those purposes. Or I just need to learn to pack less stuff.


NVRSTP pack hanging on the door.
NVRSTP pack hanging on the door. Wide body of pack seen.

WHO THIS APPAREL IS FOR (Conclusion)


Deckers X Lab NVRSTP Pack is an incredibly versatile and light pack for ultramarathon training, run/bike commuting, light traveling and hiking. A secure and adjustable fit makes the pack comfortable for long hours of use. The extensive 25L capacity and 19 pocket system means you can take almost anything you want with you. All this while still staying secure and efficient. The Deckers X Lab NVRSTP is now my go to run commuting pack and is by far the best one I have tried!  Whether using it for school/work, training, or commuting, this is the first thing I grab to get ready for almost anything. 


GRADING

Matt

Fit: A (Comfortable fit and very adjustable top to bottom for long hours of use)
Carrying Capacity: A+ (SO many pockets)
Stability: A- (Sturdy construction that compresses down well to prevent air pockets)
Durability: A (Tough pack that's dealt with a variety of conditions)
Total Score: A (Great overall pack for commuting and everyday use. You'll be ready for just about anything with the NVRSTP)

Thanks for reading!

Learn more about Deckers X Lab and their products in our recovery footwear review here.

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TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These apparel items were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Deckers X Lab for sending them to us..  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. 
We put at least 40-50 miles on clothing prior to reviewing them. Currently we have 86 miles (Matt). Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear or apparel rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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