- Backpacks & Waist Packs
It’s time for a long overdue review of some RaceReady shorts kindly supplied to me by the Ultramarathon Running Store. Given that the past few months have largely been races interspersed with recovery and then tapering for the next race, I wanted to give myself the opportunity to test the shorts properly.
If you haven’t already heard of Ultramarathon Running Store, I would recommend checking out their ever growing list of brands which now includes:
Finally UK (& international) runners can get their hands on products that have, to date, only been available in the USA and Canada.
So, what’s so special about the RaceReady shorts you might ask? Well, they have pockets, and lots of them. According to the RaceReady homepage (http://www.raceready.com/)
“You need to carry stuff… We have pockets!”
The brand produces, amongst other things, ‘innovative & ultra-lightweight shorts 100% Made in The USA’.
The spec for my Mens LD (LD stand for Long Distance) Sixer Shorts reads as follows:
“The ultimate in coverage! MicroMove fabric, so light, allows us to go to great lengths with these running shorts! This fabric provides comfort, protection, and function.
It’s a favorite choice for runners, hikers and walkers. Yes, women can wear these long distance shorts too. Coolmax liner. Draw cord. All the pockets, a total of seven!
Should you believe the hype? From my experiences with the shorts to date, I would suggest yes!
The Sixer Shorts are constructed from ultra-lightweight MicroMove and CoolMax fabric. They make my usual race shorts seem positively heavy! Having said that, my usual race shorts contain a full length inner and, as such, I was concerned that I may experience chaffing.
Having run short to medium distances in the shorts in all weathers (other than snow, the only thing missing from our Scottish ‘Summer’ so far), I was pleasantly surprised. No chaffing at all. On particularly hot days the RaceReady shorts provide plenty of ventilation and the Coolmax liner makes for a very airy feeling.
When it comes to running my actual ultras, I tend to stick with the same bits of kit throughout the year and, reverting back to my usual race shorts for the recent Devil O’ The Highlands ultramarathon, I felt somewhat constricted and very, very hot. As the temperatures reached the low 20s on this particularly sunny day, I wished I had opted for the lightweight RaceReady short.
Perhaps the most surprising thing when I first saw the shorts was the strange appearance of the rear pockets. This elasticated line of pockets, capable of holding a multitude of things, from keys to gels and everything else in between, gives you the kind of storage that might make the difference between having to wear a pack or not.
Some races, such as the Devil, require that all runners wear a pack or waistpack with a minimum kit list. However, on training runs or in races where there are no such requirements, the RaceReady shorts could come into their own. On short to medium length training runs I have been able to forego wearing a pack, using the provided pockets to carry an energy bar, Sports Beans, an MP3 player and key, while carrying a handheld bottle for fluids.
On occasions when you do carry a pack, the shorts can be used to provide quick and easy access to nutrition without having to stop and retrieve it from your pack.
I have been surprised at just how little bounce there has been from anything carried in the pockets. According to the RaceReady website, this is the result of the patented double-mesh design.
“Gels and other items hug against you with very little bounce”.
The pockets are sewn across the entire back of the shorts, accounting for the flap-like appearance. Because there are so many points of contact, this reduces the bounce.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit an iPhone in either of the two front, side pockets. I liked the idea of carrying the phone in one of these pockets as they both have velcro fastened flaps to keep the contents of the pockets secure. Given that the rear pockets are open topped, I have not, at least as of yet, trusted them with my iPhone!
Check out this review of the shorts for an idea of just how much you can pack in to those pockets.
Overall While I have still to try these shorts on an ultra distance run, I have little doubt that they would cope admirably and the shorts will definitely be coming to Menorca with me when I tackle elements of the Camí de Cavalls trail in September where, I am sure, the ultra lightweight nature of the shorts will come in to its own. They are also light enough and smart enough to pass as casual shorts and will no doubt also get some wear in that capacity.
13th August: I had a suggestion from Mark Keddie via a Facebook post to use a plastic toggle to try and get the shorts tighter. Only a quick test so far but it does appear to help. Thanks Mark.
If you are looking for a new backpack or waist pack then check out the UltrAspire range available from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com. I have noticed UltrAspire products, specifically designed for long distance running and hiking, starting to appear at ultramarathons of late and have been particularly impressed at the build quality and functionality of the packs.
@TheJerichoRoads congratulations, sounds like a very successful weekends running :o)
1st trip for Harris to Loch an Eilein to finish off our long weekend. Finally time to head home. Back soon :o) http://t.co/RM8fBkDJha
@BoatofGartenGC spot on with the weather forecast. What a cracking day once the mist lifted. Can't wait for our next Cairngorm holiday :o)