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Gadget Review: Inov-8 Ultrapac Pro 2in1
Can this hydration vest take you the distance?

By Bach Pham

When you are out on the road or trails during marathon or ultramarathon training season, hydration is everything. There are times where you may be able to set up smart ways to stop and get hydrated on your running route, but sometimes - especially trail runners deep in the woods - need to have their own preparation ready to stay well fueled. Today we're looking at a new option from Inov-8 that gives runners a vest that can handle a large variety of situations depending on your needs.


There are two things that hydration vests should do in my eyes: provide easy access to hydration suitable for distance running and do so in a way that has the least restrictions to your overall running as you log long, steady miles. The Inov-8 Ultrapac Pro excels in both areas. Coming with both 5L and 7L bottles, it provides a solid amount of hydration to tackle most long runs. The pack also comes with a very adjustable vest that did a great job of providing little bounce on the run. It also is a 2in1, offering an extra removable pack on the back that can be used to attach extra hydration or nutrition along with poles for ultrarunners and those looking to be on their feet for hours on end.

Inov-8 Ultrapac Pro 2in1
Price: $200 at Inov-7

Pros: Contains both a 5L and 7L bottle for 12Ls total of hydration, Many pockets, room for poles, secure no-bounce fit. Versatile design for a variety of efforts.

Cons: High cost, bottles are a little clumsy.


The Ultrapac comes with two soft flasks with tubes. They are a little finicky to open on the run and requite a decent amount of suction on the move. The flasks can be tubeless by popping up the tube covers, removing the tube, and capping over the soft flasks. I preferred keeping them as just regular flasks instead of using the tubes even though it required stopping to pull the bottle out and drink. The tubes are a bit long and require a decent amount of suction to draw water from. I found when I was tired that felt like a lot of extra effort. The tube ends do require a bit of pull to open which can be a little annoying when you want hydration as fast as possible.

There are two pockets for the flasks, one set lower and one set around your upper ribs. This allows runners to be a bit selective of where they prefer their bottles. I kept mine higher and enjoyed how well the vest did from preventing a good deal of bounce. There's no preventing some minor feeling of sloshing, but the bottles themselves were tightly pressed into my body. The lower pockets are best for those who do want to use the tubes, allowing full extension up the body. There are some built in loops that help secure the tube down and prevent it from running amok.

The Ultrapac Pro is a very good performer as far as fit. The front straps do a solid job of allowing me to secure the vest well. It can be a touch constricting across the chest at first, but after a few adjustments the pack grew on me. The pack is comfortable with light padding on the back. Importantly, there is very little bounce once it is properly strapped in. The Ultrapac remains tight to the body and gives you fairly good freedom of movement.

This is a 2-in-1, which means the extra pack in the back can be let go to reduce weight and turn into a nifty race vest for shorter distances where you need less nutrition and water or just want a lightened load.  The vest is extremely light without the extra pack. I do wish it was a touch more ventilated in the back, but it is not bad by any means either. With the pack on, I did appreciate being able to carry a few extra things on my long run, including a towel during my rest on one of my runs.

The 2in1 uncoupled (extra back on left, vest on right)


Pockets are at an absolute premium here. There is a zippered pocket on the right side that contained my iPhone 12 very well. I think a Samsung Galaxy will fit okay, but an iPhone Pro edition may be pushing the limits. Two mesh pockets at the bottom leave room for keys and gels, or an alternative pocket for soft flasks. There's also open meshed pockets on the sides which can be used to stuff anything from gloves in the winter to small items. Up the vest, there's also two more small mesh pockets which are ideal for shoving in keys.

With the 2in1 fully loaded, there is a huge storage space in the back for an additional (sold separately) hydration options and additional items. There are also straps for poles in the 2-in-1 as well. The only change I would maybe hope for was an additional zippered pocket for piece of mind, but that's really a nitpick for how much this stores.


Fundamentally, the Ultrapac Pro gets the job done of providing a minimal bounce, hydration pack for long efforts. There is no doubt that the Ultrapac Pro 2in1 comes at a steep cost at $200. I think the question of whether this fits your needs depends on your goals. If you are someone who particularly does trail running and ultramarathoning often, this is a compelling option to check out for its versatility of either a shorter or longer race. This worked fine for hiking as well, if you prefer to hike minimally. The bottles are not my favorite, but do get the job done and there are certainly many pockets to fit your needs. I also tested a couple of other brand bottles like Maurten's and I was surprised to find that it fit okay (though I did not test these on the run).

If you only need a small amount of hydration for say marathon training, there are some cheaper options available from Inov-8 that do an equally good job at the task for far less that I would personally pick over the Pro.


Fit: A- (Very well-fitting, though could be just a tad more comfortable cross body.)
A- (Versatile and comfortable at carrying hydration and goods for the long run. The 2in1 functionality is nice to have)
Design: B+ (The flasks can be a little awkward to use at times, but the overall design and versatility is well done and they did a good job of providing a secure, minimal-bounce vest)
Personal: B+ (Have no doubt I'll use the lighter version of this vest often. The limited bounce is excellent)
Buy or Sell: Buy, IF you are an Ultramarathoner/Experienced trail enthusiast/1:30+ hour runner


inov-8 Ultrapac Pro 2in1
Shop here: $200 at inov-8

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Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!
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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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Inov-8 for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear 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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