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Review: Montane Gecko VP 5+ running vest pack

Written by Fiona

July 06 2021

The Montane Gecko VP 5+ running vest pack is for training or done-in-a-day adventures. Montane is proud of the claim that it is a pack “nade for runners by runners”.

Montane states: “The GECKO VP 5+ builds on hundreds of thousands of kilometres of experience. An improved, anatomically driven body-hugging fit that’s as secure as a Gecko! With increased accessible storage and Polygiene permanent odour control you now wear, rather than carry, your kit when moving fast on trails and in the mountains.”

But what’s it like to use? I have been testing the Montane Gecko VP 5+ running vest pack recently.

Features of Montane Gecko VP 5+ running vest pack

  • Fabric: “Raptor Flex” 4-way 40:30 stretch
  • Harness is “Air Mesh Plus”
  • Montane “Freelight” Chassis vest
  • Stretch lower “Active Strap” for secure harness closure and quick release
  • 2 minimalist stretch chest straps with multiple attachment points
  • Multiple easy access harness pockets for food, hydration and essential kit
  • 2 x 500ml Montane UltraFlasks included
  • 40:30 4 way stretch fabric pockets accommodate expansion while minimising bounce
  • Integrated bungee for external storage or compression
  • Internal key clip and removable whistle
  • Multiple pole attachment points
  • Stability control construction
  • Unisex fit in S, M and L.
  • RRP £100. See Montane
  • Buy from SportsShoes and Amazon. (I receive a small commission for items purchased through my website.)

Review: Montane Gecko VP 5+ running vest pack

My current go-to running vest pack is the a women’s specific Montane vest pack. I love the fit and many of the features of the Montane Women’s VIA Snap 4L Running Vest Pack.

The Montane Gecko VP 5+ running vest pack is very similar but roomier with an extra 1l of packing space, as well as bit more.

It is also designed for both men and women so this means it is a generally larger fit. I have the small size and it is a fairly good fit but not as neat as the Montane Women’s VIA Snap 4L Running Vest Pack.

If you are a small sized woman I suggest you check out the women’s specific Montane vest pack. However, don’t be put off because the Montane Gecko VP 5+ is also a great running vest pack.

There is a lot to like about the pack. It is very comfortable to wear. It feels like you are wearing an extra item of clothing, rather than carrying a pack. It fits neatly over the shoulders and back. The Montane Gecko VP 5+ has a longer back than the women’s version but this gives you more room for carrying kit.

I tried it on with a no-sleeve running top the first time I was planning to run and decided it would rub my skin so I wore a t-shirt instead. In my experience it takes a while for the fabric of the vest packs to be “worn-in” enough that it won’t rub the skin.

There are three chest straps that can be used to get a good fit. You want the pack to feel neat but not too tight. The lower velcro strap is my favourite as this is easy to do up and undo. It has a tab that makes it easy to pull apart. It is similar to the Montane Women’s VIA Snap 4L Running Vest Pack although not as wide. The velcro on the VIA Snap is long lasting and still works well after almost a year of use on the women’s pack.

The Montane Gecko VP 5+ has a thinner velcro area but it still works fine. Two more “minimalist” elastic chest straps can be attached to multiple fixing points higher up the chest. It’s great to be able to choose where you want to fix these chest straps.

My biggest criticism of this pack is that the attachment points for the chest straps are small. I find them fiddly to do up and I much prefer the larger plastic style clips of the women’s pack. In fact, this is one of the major plus points of the VIA Snap 4L Running Vest Pack. The larger clips are easy to use and especially when on the move or while wearing gloves.

I wish Montane had stuck with this style of clip adjustor for the new packs.

The other noticeable difference is the water bottle placement. The pockets for the soft flasks are higher up than on the women’s pack. I thought this would be annoying but it was actually fine. You don’t notice the bottles when they are stowed and you are running and I expect the theory is that if the bottles are higher up the chest it’s easier to take a sip while on the move.

There are plenty of useful pockets, both zipped and stretchy open top. There is a zipped main compartment too and a large open top stretch pocket at the rear. In addition, there is an area for hanging a water bladder if you need to carry extra water or use this instead of front flasks of water.

My favourite pocket is the large front zipped pocket where I can stow my iPhone max style. It is a large phone but I like have it handy for taking photos and checking my route on an OS Map app. Again, the Montane packs score highly for me because of this pocket. It’s the same as the women’s pack.

The compression bungee sits around the main zipped compartment and allows you to compress the pack if you are carrying less kit, as well as being useful for stowing extra kit. The bungee is in a better position on there Gecko than on the women’s specific vest pack.

The pole carrying straps are a great feature, too,

There is a huge amount to like about this pack. I used to rave about the Salomon ADV Skin 3 pack and I am still a fan but I have been impressed by the Montane packs, too.

I think that £100 does seem like a lot to spend on a running pack (I have seen the pack for sale a little cheaper) but they are long lasting and I wear a pack for every run so I get really good use of mine. The Montane packs are durable and robust. I have had one zipper break on the Montane VIA Snap 4L after about seven months of almost daily use. Apart form that it is still going very strong.

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